Socialized Healthcare – a New American Debate

Introduction

Socialized health care is a coordinated scheme which ensures insurance for each individual in a society. The first known health care reform proposal in America dates back to 1854 called the Bill for the Benefit of Indigent Insane which was not approved by the then President Franklin Pierce stating that Federal Government should not deal with social welfare and that social welfare is a responsibility of states. The 1993 Clinton health care plan prepared under the Bill Clinton administration was also not successful. “President Obama signed into law the health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 on March 30 2010.The reconciliation bill was the second health care reform bill signed into law recently, completing President Obama’s vision of enacting a comprehensive health care reform package during his presidency” (President Obama signs the healthcare and education reconciliation act of 2010 into law, 2010). Reconciliation Act of 2010 is a combination of Senate health care reform bill and the February 22 proposal of Obama, which extends insurance to 32 million more Americans.

The Good side

The new health reform makes health care reasonable, provide health insurance to all Americans, Health care more viable, and make health insurers liable. “The plan places family budgets and economy on a stable plane by reducing the deficit by more than $ 100 billion over the next ten years and for the second decade with an amount summing more than $ 1 trillion by cutting government overspending and reining in waste, fraud and abuse” (Health care. n.d, para.7). At the same time it also bestows the right of patient in choosing the doctor and no intervention of government in medical care. If one presently does not have a health insurance, he or she can settle for a health insurance that is affordable. “The new plan will improve efficiency and lower the cost in health care system by (1) adopting state-of-the-art health information technology system;(2) ensuring that patients receive and providers deliver the best possible care, including prevention and chronic disease management system; (3) reforming our market structure to increase competition; and offering federal reinsurance to employers to help ensure that unexpected or catastrophic illness do not make health insurance affordable or out of reach for businesses and their employees” (Barack Obama and Joy Biden’s plan to lower health care costs and ensure affordable, accessible health coverage for all: Lower costs to make our health care system work for people and business-not just insurance company, n.d, p.2).

The new plan also insists on electronic health records which can save time, reduce medical errors as well as cost in processing paper claims. People with chronic diseases have greatly profited using the disease management program by getting the right medical care, the new plan include such plans as of the proven Federal Employee Health Benefits program (FEHBP) which can provide quality care at low cost. The plan states the importance of disclosing facts by hospitals and health insurers in regard to health care costs and quality. It should also reveal the amount of payment that goes to patient’s medical services in comparison to other cost as per the health plan. The plans require providers to relate remuneration with good quality of health care rather than with the amount of service provided. The need of an independent institute to analyze literature, provide electronic health care data, develop new technology and research is stated by the plan, this ensures that doctors and citizens can take the right decision in relation to health related problems. Evidences prove the fact that certain section of population is deprived of quality health care when compared to others and so the plan requires hospitals to analyze such irregularities and to produce an effective care for the population as a whole. The plans will make antitrust laws effective and help in the arrangement of novel models in concern to physician errors thereby improving patient safety and so in turn decrease the requirement of malpractice suits. “It is not right that American families are paying skyrocketing premiums while drug and insurance industries are enjoying record profits. These companies benefit from the status quo and in many cases are the greatest obstacles to reform” (Barack Obama and Joy Biden’s plan to lower health care costs and ensure affordable, accessible health coverage for all: Lower costs to make our health care system work for people and business-not just insurance company, n.d., p.4). The exclusive power of major insurance companies will be kept under check and misuse of such power in regard to price increase will be strictly controlled. Drug companies play a major role in keeping away generic drugs from entering the American market, in order to secure their holding in the market and thus lead to higher prices for consumers, such monopoly will be destructed by aiding the entry of generic drugs into the American drug market as per the new public plan. ”Some companies are exploiting Americans by dramatically overcharging U.S consumers. These companies are selling the exact drug in Europe and Canada but charging Americans a 67 percent premium” (Barack Obama and Joy Biden’s plan to lower health care costs and ensure affordable, accessible health coverage for all: Lower costs to make our health care system work for people and business-not just insurance company, n.d., p.4). If the prescribed medicines are at lower cost in other developed nations and are considered to be within safety limits for use by Americans, the consumers can at their wish buy such medicines from abroad. “The government cannot negotiate and bring the price of drugs down as per the 2003 Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act, the new plan will take off this ban on negotiation which will result in high savings that can be used for the improvement of health care” (Barack Obama and Joy Biden’s plan to lower health care costs and ensure affordable, accessible health coverage for all: Lower costs to make our health care system work for people and business-not just insurance company, n.d., p.5). “The plan provides new affordable health insurance options by:

  1. guaranteeing eligibility for all health insurance plans;
  2. creating a National Health insurance Exchange to help Americans and businesses purchase private health insurance;
  3. providing new tax credits to families who can’t afford health insurance and to small businesses with a new Small Businesses Health Tax Credit;
  4. requiring all large employers to contribute towards health coverage for their employees or towards the cost of public plan;
  5. requiring all children have health care coverage
  6. Expanding eligibility for the Medicaid and SCHIP programs;
  7. allowing flexibility for state health reform plans”. (Barack Obama and Joy Biden’s plan to lower health care costs and ensure affordable, accessible health coverage for all, n.d, p.5).

The Bad Side

The implementation of medical health care system is seen as a mammoth task out of the limits of the government agency. The American government has a history of mismanagement in various sectors that were simple to handle like the case of “Department of Motor vehicles” which is highly funded but was less efficient as far as the public is concerned. The belief that health care is free is not true, as taxes from public take the form of payment or the government will cut down funds in various other sectors like education and defense to make up the cost of health care. “At first glance, it would appear universal health care would increase flexibility. After all, if government paid for everything under one plan, you could in theory go to any doctor” (Messerli, 2010, para.12). But the resultant costs have to be put in check so naturally regulations will come in later. Then another question is how elective surgeries (hair restoration, breast implants/reduction) are going to be considered will the patient pay for it, but at certain circumstances even elective surgeries are required connected to other health related problems or in case of accidents. Different situations in regard to the need of a particular medical procedure may rise leading to a political war that may eventually turn against the new plan. The dirty hand of politics always has an important part to play. “In President Obama’s push for health insurance reform the votes of reluctant senators were gained by Democrats in special payoffs for Nebraska, Louisiana and Florida and thus the 60 votes in the senate was secured. The merits of the bill and good of the nation were of less importance as usual”. (Messerli, 2010, para.14). It seems that in decisions related to health care the political opinions seems to contribute the major part and the real requirements and facts that should be considered to improve life quality is simply neglected. In America it is a violation of law to deny emergency treatment, keeping this in mind there is number of nonprofit and government aided hospitals which can provide medical care to anyone in America so the term “uninsured” does not mean that a person is lacking health service. “Many opposed to universal health care do so because they believe that uninsured do not work and merely expect a government hand out for their laziness”. (Rozorback3100, 2009, para.3). As the plan is a universal health care costs it will be distributed to every American and so the health and medical condition of a person is not taken into consideration. Those people who follow a healthy life style and does not require a health insurance are put in punishment, which is unfair ,the people who do not follow a healthy life style gets benefited. In future there will be chances of reduction in costs by controlling prices on drugs, medical equipments and salary of medical services, but this in turn will affect the medical research funding. Companies are the major investment partners in medical research and the money for investments come from the sale of drugs and patents the company holds, so drug price controls will put an end to many new investments for research and development of a novel and more potential drugs. “New drugs often take over a decade to develop, test, and pass FDA( Food and Drug Administration) standards. That means companies must spend sometimes millions of dollars over the development period without grossing dollar one” (Messerli, 2010, para.18). In the present situation as drug resistance is a fastly growing problem, the need for more potential drugs is a requirement and as new diseases are rising medical research and development is of utmost importance and cannot be hindered at any cost.

Conclusion

The increasing health insurance premiums are hindering the access to quality medical care and many families are at the verge of financial breakdown due to medical bills. The high health care costs proving it to be impossible for many organizations and small private companies to provide a viable and reliable health insurance scheme for their workers. The New plan at this time of crisis seems to work out for a large section of the population but whether this plan will be successful in action is a wait and watch game. At the same time government involvement in health care may turn out to be non-efficient as political decisions will creep in, regulation will be put to keep costs from exploding. New rules will be framed that will restrain doctor’s decision in opting for costly laboratory tests and in using costly drugs. Insurance companies on the other hand have their own ideas limiting the doctor’s freedom in making decisions. This can lead to a scenario of poor patient care. So the possible side effects of the new health care plan also should be kept in mind while implementation as expecting the worse can help in being prepared to cope up with the worst in future.

Reference List

Barack Obama and Joy Biden’s plan to lower health care costs and ensure affordable, accessible health coverage for all: Lower costs to make our health care system work for people and business-not just insurance company. (n.d.). Obama Biden, p.2. Web.

Health care. (n.d.) White House. 2010, Web.

Messerli, J. (2010). Should the government provide free universal health care for all Americans. Web.

President Obama signs the healthcare and education reconciliation act of 2010 into law. (2010). Hewitt. Web.

Rozorback3100. (2009). The conservative argument against universal health care: Universal health care is merely welfare. Daily Kos. Web.

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NerdyRoo. 2022. "Socialized Healthcare – a New American Debate." March 13, 2022. https://nerdyroo.com/socialized-healthcare-a-new-american-debate/.

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NerdyRoo. (2022) 'Socialized Healthcare – a New American Debate'. 13 March.

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