What's wrong with universal health care?
Last updated 4/24/2019 at 10:28am
Few things are more important to people than good health. Healthy citizens are a vital foundation for a prosperous society. The need for healthcare is universal. The need starts even before we are born. Prenatal care is vital because the developing embryo-fetus is extremely sensitive to its environment. Very young children are also vulnerable because they are still developing and because their immune systems are immature. Healthcare for dental, hearing, eyesight needs, injury, disease, and the deterioration caused by advancing age is universal.
Some of our most important and useful activities are socialistic. We pay taxes and we all benefit from public schools, fire and police services, hospitals, roads, sewer systems, airports, U.S. military forces, and many other government services. Universal health care is in the same category.
People who lose their employment often lose their medical insurance. Startup businesses and small companies are burdened with medical insurance costs. Universal health care would make it easier to start new businesses, and it would allow small businesses a better opportunity to survive and thrive. People who are employed part-time have difficulty paying for medical insurance. Freelance or “gig” employees find it difficult to obtain and pay for continuous medical insurance coverage.
Corporations outsourced millions of manufacturing jobs to low-wage foreign countries. Now, they are in the process of outsourcing service jobs. Advances in computer software design, including language translation software, make outsourcing of administrative jobs feasible. The company obtains foreign labor for a small fraction of the cost of U.S. workers and avoids fringe benefits: no medical insurance, no sick leave or vacation pay, no maternity leave, no retirement costs, and instant termination of employment with a simple click. This trend forecasts periods of unemployment for many Americans and will likely leave many without health insurance for extended periods.
Adopting universal health care will cause some job losses in the for-profit medical insurance industry. Adopting automobiles left harness makers and carriage manufacturers without jobs, but I doubt that we would want to return to horse and carriage mobility. Job loss is an aspect of the era in which we live. Living without healthcare should not be.
We are a civilized nation. One aspect of a dictionary definition of a civilized society is the exhibition of benevolence. My life is not better when someone else suffers from illness. Our nation is not well-served when citizens suffer from illnesses. Neglect of others diminishes our self-respect and our national prosperity.
According to the National Cancer Institute, about 1.7 million new cases of cancer were diagnosed in the United States in 2018. The American Heart Institute reports that about 720,000 Americans suffer a first heart attack each year. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control indicates that some 23 million Americans have diagnosed diabetes. Asthma causes about 2 million hospital emergency room visits each year in the U.S.
If you could choose to give your children either abundant wealth or good health but not both, which would you choose?
Jack Stevenson is a retired infantry officer, civil service and private corporation employee who now reads history, follows issues important to Americans, and writes commentary from his home in Pensacola, Florida.