Pros and cons to universal health care

Just had a discussion with a friend of mine about universal
Health care for the US. She has a wealthy husband and a great job with benefits and stated that health care is of no concern to her because she has it for her and her family. I stated that our current system is flawed since the average cost of premiums for a family (if your employer does not pay for it) is $1200/month. And the insurance companies decide who to cover and for what procedures. Also, many don’t have insurance because they can’t afford it. She immediately went in about if we had universal health care then our taxes go up and we are paying for those that take advantage. I asked her who would be taking advantage since all are paying for it, so it is not “free”. She stated homeless people and those that don’t work would go to the ER and we have to pay for it. I told her we already are paying for those that have no insurance (and many of those people do work), on top of our own premiums. Many people have jobs but either can’t afford the insurance or choose not to buy any, even if they can afford it (who, IMO, are worse than the ones without a job). She stated that she doesnt want to pay for other people. I kept pointing out that we are right now paying for everyone on Medicare, Medicaid, and those that just show up in the ER without insurance. So we are paying into the system twice. She asked me if I wanted my taxes raised. I told her that I would prefer paying $100/month to ensure I am covered even if i lose my job, than the $1200/month I am struggling to afford and would not be able to pay if I lost my job. She used the claim of “Socialism” and that any American should not want that. But isn’t our public school system “Socialism”? We all pay for everyone to go to school regardless if they pay taxes or not. Those that choose to send their kid to private school are still paying for the public school system. And there are very wealthy kids going to public school that drive BMW’s to school. Isn’t that taking advantage of the system? My point: what is so bad with having the source of payment for health care (not health care itself)-handled through taxes, so everyone is covered? By getting rid of the middle man (for-profit insurance) wouldn’t costs go down? Any opinions would be great, and please no attacks on conservatives or liberals, just an honest discussion about this issue.

I wonder if the discussion should be on the use of the Enter or Return keys. :slight_smile:

As Hans Rosling put it, the USA is spending a huge percent of the GDP for health services with the current irrational health care system that we have. Our health investment is not effective in compassion to the life expectancy of nations that use less of their GDP in health care. (That was 4 years ago, the USA costs are not 15% of the GDP, but it is now closer to 18%, that bubble is bigger)

“It seems that the USA [that is so competitive in many other subjects] is not willing to compete in health care.”

(Video link goes directly to his 5 minute answer to a question on the economical advantages of a single payer or public option system)

I don’t think there are any cons to UHC. There might be problems with the implemenation, but I can’t see why “everybody has access to health care” can be construed as a bad thing.

If we would quit calling it “insurance” (no slam to the OP, we all say it) then we could have a better debate about it. You can’t insure against doctor visits and contraception. Those are guarantees that you can’t pool risk to combat.

I’ve always been a fan of young people getting HSAs with an accompanying catastrophic insurance policy. When you are paying out of pocket for small health care items, you become more price conscious and doctors wouldn’t be able to get away with charging $100 for a 5 minute routine prescription refill visit.

The problem I see with UHC is that prices will continue to soar. If someone else is paying, I don’t care if the doctor charges a $1000 for that 5 minute visit, and I likely would never see the bill. Some central planning government bureaucrat will decide what the proper amount for that service is, and it will be either over or under what the market would bear.

Yep, not willing to compete in health care.

BTW the c"competition" is when we compare to the solutions other countries adopted, saying that prices will continue to soar is just once again ignoring what actually takes place when UHC is employed.

I totally agree. But I will play devils devil’s advocate. I hear the argument that having UHC will cause the freeloaders to take advantage of the system. And we end up paying for them. And that this is Socialism. For both those arguments I can refute by saying we already are paying for those without insurance, and Socialism is already present in our society:public education, police, fire, etc.

I agree. And my argument is not about government run health care but more about government PAYING for it (through taxes), and getting rid of insurance companies. Many people fail to adequately debate the subject at hand.

In many European countries, people making a good living are happy to pay taxes to fund health care for poorer people out of a sense of charity or humanity. Of course we ignore such atheistic Marxist thinking in the Nation Under God.

But I wouldn’t expect an argument that health-care costs would fall to convince your friend either. It may be literally true that they would accept an increase in their costs if it meant that freeloaders were denied health-care. Much American political thinking is about “morality” rather than economics, and it’s immoral that the underclass should get something for nothing.

(People who think I’m exaggerating here just haven’t read between the lines when studying right-wing “thinking.”)

The bottom line is that our lives are being held for ransom by health care providers. We have nothing in our system to prevent this. I am as conservative as they come but when it comes to healthcare and education I would prefer to go socialist all the way. Possibly have a couple of dozen hospitals around the country that dealt specificaly with long term costly illnesses where hospital staff was 100% government employees. I believe whether we like it or not this is what we are being forced into so might as well get it done now.
I have spoken to plenty of Dr’s who would not object to working an 8 or 10 hour a day job with very little liability. Emergency clinics have become a thing of the past and could save a ton of money.

I love this comment. It succinctly describes the mentality of many Americans who claim to be Christian.

I consider myself right wing, and it’s not my thinking. Morality really has nothing to do with it. If you create a system of benefits, whether it’s health care or anything else, where there are free riders, there is emphasis on the periphery of where you define who is eligible for free stuff to just say to hell with it all and join the free riders.

Free Riders also don’t recognize or constraint themselves with the amount of consumption they use in any system. If my car repairs are completely free to me, I’m taking it in for body work when I notice a minor scratch by my door handle. If I’m paying out of pocket, I let it go.

Free Riders are a basic economic problem in any system. Morality has nothing to do with it.

But you can’t compare health care to car repair. If you have a minor injury and you want to be checked by a doctor, shouldn’t you be able to without fear of a hefty bill? Especially when the cost of a 5 minute doctor visit is $85 (completely ridiculous costs). And if free riders are the issue then why do we all pay for education, police, fire, 911, and all the other government agencies (HUD-for home building codes, FDA-for safe food and medicine, etc)? Why is it “acceptable” for all these other benefits but not health care?

Of course, it is impossible to find ways to limit or deal with the free riders that can pay. :dubious:

If morality has nothing to do with it then we should consider UHC as it is cheaper for a developed nation in the long run.

Free riders are a lot more expensive the way were doing it now. I’d be willing to chip in for everyone’s Heath care, especially if it meant reducing the amount I pay.

Exactly! If morality is not the issue then why would anyone care who is a freeloader? If it is an economic issue then we need to figure out which way is cheaper and according to all the other industrialized nations that have UHC, it is a lot cheaper than our current system.

To the OP I suggest you search this site for other previous (multiple) threads on exactly this subject. There is nothing new to add in this thread that hasn’t been covered before.

As for this friend. Ask her if she’d be happy for her healthcare costs to be cut in half even if it meant that she supplemented those unable to pay. If she says “yes” direct her to the relevant threads in these forums for further info, if she says “no” then it is not worth continuing the discussion.

Agreed! There will always be free riders, and the ones who pay are those of us who aren’t free riders, but if it means I pay LESS to provide health care to free riders (who are still getting it now for free anyway), I would be all for it.

Ye that makes sense. But so far not one person has been able to give me a “con” for UHC except for the freeloader aspect. Is that the only legitimate “con” to providing UHC? Do those other threads have better arguments against UHC?

But doesn’t this logic only work if there is a “periphery of where you define who is eligible for free stuff”? In UHC, there is no periphery - we *all *get “free stuff” at the point of consumption. So how do you rig a game where you’re automatically a winner?

Sure, some of us will pay more in healthcare tax than others if we do it as a percentage of income, but all figures still show that we’ll each pay less in healthcare tax+healthcare costs than we do now (those of us who are paying healthcare costs, that is.)

Or do you believe that people won’t want to work if they have free health care? People not wanting to work isn’t really much of a realistic worry in a country with such a high unemployment rate, is it? I think the desire for clothing and iPads and cable will keep people wanting to work, if only we had enough jobs to give them.

And if car repairs are so expensive that I can’t afford them, I’m going to keep using wire hangers to tie my belching polluting exhaust system together until my car breaks down completely in front of yours in rush hour traffic and IDOT has to send out a tow truck to haul it away…which you’ll be paying for through your taxes anyhow, because I can’t afford a tow.

I like this analogy.

Health care is one of those issues where morality definitely muddies the waters. If costs on society are lowered under a UHC system, it doesn’t matter if 0.02% or 20% of the populace are milking the system.

One “con” that has been brought up is that people won’t have an incentive to work if their health care isn’t tied to a job. That’s ludicrous, IMHO. I work because I want to eat and sleep in my own bed. Not so that I can go to the doctor.

I could actually see universal health care being a boon to the entrepreneur. I don’t HAVE to make someone else rich by working at a big corporation that offers health benefits. I can finally open that home business that I’ve always dreamed of starting, with no worries about what would happen if I got sick or fell off a ladder or whatever. Pro-business folks should be happy about that, right?