Universalhealth care or “UHC” is not a relatively new idea, it was first talked about inthe United States by former President Franklin D. Roosevelt as one of his NewDeal acts. However, just as there were people for “UHC” there were peopleagainst universal health care. To understand the advantages of a universalaccess system, one must look at the statics of people who can’t afford or donot qualify for Medicare versus people who can afford it to realize itsimportance.
People need to look at the economic success which goes withnational health care in other nations, such as: Canada, Switzerland, andSingapore. Universal health care is anecessity, as a lack of universal access to even the most basic of servicesseverely threatens the success of any prominent society. Kao-Ping Chua of the American Medical StudentAssociation estimates the number of Americans who are currently uninsured andidentifies the moral unfairness of the situation: “Themost visible victims of America’s decision to treat health care as a privilegeare the 45 million Americans who lack insurance. In contrast to prevailingstereotypes, 80% of the uninsured are hardworking Americans who are employed orcome from working families.
” (Chua 2). While people against such an idea argue thatthese people can receive health care through their employer, The KaiserCommission on Medicaid and the Uninsured discovered that many cannot enjoyhealth care benefits from their employer for several reasons: “Even whenbusinesses offer health benefits, some employees are ineligible because theywork part-time or are recent hires, and others do not sign up because ofdifficulty affording the required employee share of the premium” (Kaiser6). Thus, hard-working Americansexperience an extreme unfairness every day, as they receive the short end ofthe stick of an opportunity offered to all citizens, working or not of manyother developed countries, such as France, Germany, and Canada. The effects of this are simple and apparent,as the Institute of Medicine identifies the health issues arising fromuninsurance: “short (1-4 year)longitudinal studies document decreases in general health for adults who areuninsured or lose coverage…Longer population-based studies (over 5 to 17 years)show that adults under age 65 who are uninsured…face a 25 percent higher riskof dying than those with private coverage” (Miller 6). With such a disadvantage to other one cannotand must not be ignored in an American society founded upon freedom andequality of opportunity.
Besides from a greater death rate, uninsurance isassociated with restriction of social opportunities. Norman Daniels, Professor of Ethics andPopulation Health at Harvard University, describes the similar relationshipbetween one’s health and social life: “The central moral importance…of preventing andtreating disease and disability with effective healthcare services…derives fromthe way in which protecting normal functioning contributes to protectingopportunity. Specifically, by keeping people close to normal functioning,healthcare preserves for people the ability to participate in the political,social, and economic life of their society. It sustains them as fullyparticipating citizens…in all spheres of life” (Daniels 2).