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Universal coverage:will all Americans finally get health insurance - Essay Example

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Universal coverage:will all Americans finally get health insurance

The article entitled “Universal Coverage: Will all Americans finally get health insurance” strikes a chord at the heart of why health, a very public concern right there at the top with others such as jobs, food and security, seems in an important aspect not equally accessible in a country viewed as the democratic powerhouse in the world. The prediction is that if universal coverage will not be legislated at the federal level, the ranks of the uninsured will swell from 45 million or 13.5% of the American population to 56 million in five years. Health insurance is tied up with other issues such as changes in business/economic landscape and the nature of the health insurance system where records show that most of those who are uninsured and underinsured have jobs. The health insurance system whose foundation traditionally rests on employers mostly providing for coverage for their employees (app. 75%-25% split contribution from the employer and employee respectively) seems to be eroding and can no longer prop up the system. This is due to the facts that premiums are increasing (up 50% in 2001-2006) while incomes for individuals are decreasing and businesses such as manufacturing and even the service industries are faced with stiff competition from abroad. Thus, both employers and individuals are generally faced with too much financial burden to provide for health insurance coverage and cannot realistically close the gap between the uninsured and insured. In addition, the entire nation gets more burdened eventually with public health insurance mechanisms such as Medicare and Medicaid picking up the slack or shortage in private health insurance.
Those who are against universal coverage say that American cannot afford it. States which have initiated universal coverage among its residents have run into financial problems already. States furthermore are limited with financing and legal flexibility (a federal law limits states from controlling insurance). However, statistics show that the United States' per capita spending on health care tops those of other developed countries, especially those of Europe with universal insurance coverage. At the same time, the United States lags behind in other indicators such lifetime expectancy and infant mortality rates. As a presidential election nears in 2008, there is growing consensus from both sides of the political spectrum that universal coverage is possible by combining aspects of public and private health insurance systems. Advocates of universal coverage also say that without universal coverage requirement, markets avoid risks - accounting for rising premium payments. On the other hand, requiring all to buy insurance unnecessarily infringe on the privacy rights of individuals according to those who oppose universal coverage. However, requiring all to buy coverage somehow ensures that those who will less medical needs will pay along with those with expensive illnesses.

Background

The health care system of United States is differentiated from that of most of Europe with the latter's development of social democracy, where governments took a huge role in the provision of health care services. The former on the other hand, with its total laissez faire approach extending to health care insurance, somehow developed a system in which doctors, hospitals and insurance companies having the upper hand in the provision of health care insurance. The state of the economy, and therefore businesses were the primary source of health care insurance coverage. While the government enacted Medicare to provide for the elderly and the disabled who cannot be covered in the workplace and Medicaid to the very poor, universal coverage in recent decades declined due to changes in the nature of American business and as the country lost manufacturing jobs. The Clinton administration's ambitious Health Security Act in the early 1990s was defeated by parties which were frightened off by the proposals for outright government intervention in health insurance ...Show more
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Summary

The article entitled “Universal Coverage: Will all Americans finally get health insurance” strikes a chord at the heart of why health, a very public concern right there at the top with others such as jobs, food and security, seems in an important aspect not equally accessible in a country viewed as the democratic powerhouse in the world…
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