Noah Wilbur | Staff Columnist
Four years ago, we witnessed an unexpected reality emerge into existence when Donald J. Trump was elected the 45th President. Americans are once more in the midst of another presidential election with the potential to considerably impact future generations.
While the 2020 candidates continue to declare their stances on a collection of noteworthy issues, one concern has become the focus of immense attention: the U.S. healthcare system.
In December 2019, Gallup, Inc conducted a survey to discover the key issues that Americans distinguished as most influential in their determination of which candidates to support. The results revealed that healthcare sits at the helm with 35% of voters identifying it as “Extremely Important” in selecting the next president.
Another recent survey by Gallup concluded that 70% of Americans believe the current U.S. healthcare system to be “in a state of crisis” or as having “major problems.”
These discoveries from the two polls did not in any way, shape or form appear as a revelation to me. The public disdain and unfavorable attitude towards healthcare in the U.S. is certainly not a new, radical discovery of American sentiment that was otherwise unknown.
However, it does seem as if the resentful scrutiny surrounding healthcare in this country has finally culminated into an unshakable campaign to upend the entire system. Across the nation, Americans have challenged the 2020 candidates to focus on developing an effective solution for what is considered a “healthcare crisis.”
Although the public conviction of a “healthcare crisis” might seem extreme, this judgement is reasonably warranted after examining the countless costs and obstacles associated with the system.
Exorbitant prices for both procedures and medication, as well as a lack of insurance coverage for many Americans are well-known problems. In addition, the attempt to unwind the complicated procedure involved with obtaining health coverage is often a precarious struggle.
For most individuals, overcoming the many hurdles in the present system invokes a sense of anxiety and fear equivalent to the apprehension felt by a stockbroker during a sudden dip in the markets.
Adding insult to injury, the average life expectancy in America has declined for a third year in spite of the U.S. spending more on healthcare per capita than any other country.
Thus, it is indisputable that the U.S. healthcare system is a systematically flawed and unequal institution embedded with complex arrangements which unfairly permit medical professionals, hospitals and insurance companies to reap the benefits.
Amid the wide-spread criticism, both Democratic and Republican politicians have responded with several versions of healthcare reform. In this presidential cycle, the most prevalent has been the rallying cry of “healthcare-for-all” behind the democratic proposal known as Universal Healthcare.
The rudimentary definition of universal healthcare is a government-led system in which all citizens are guaranteed quality health coverage with the assurance that considerable financial burden and distress will not be the outcome.
Advocates of a universal system argue that advantages include cheaper overall health care costs through governmental control, lower administrative costs and the standardization of high-quality services at sensible prices.
Supporters proclaim that the long run effect is an American population with reduced sickness and health related ailments; as a result, social costs will substantially decrease for both the U.S. government and healthcare agencies.
In contrast, the opposition disputes universal healthcare by insisting that it leans too closely towards socialism. This of course would be a complete abandonment of the Western values that form the foundation of which the U.S. boldly stands.
The opponents declare with compelling evidence that this system would overwhelm the government budget and greatly widen the nation’s already immense deficit.
Further assessment from the opposition indicates that universal healthcare will ultimately provoke a distinct decline in the quality and availability of healthcare services and medicine in the U.S.
Investigation into countries that have implemented universal healthcare reveals that purely public systems have not amassed the acclaim and approval that one would assume.
In the U.K., Canada and Denmark, citizens have endured exceptionally lengthy waiting times for procedures and general treatment, as well as noticeable slumps in the quality of services.
Therefore, I urge elected officials and the 2020 candidates to consider a mixed healthcare arrangement that takes into consideration the benefits provided by public and private healthcare systems.
Politicians must overcome the bureaucratic complexities resting in between Democrats and Republicans to accomplish a bipartisan agreement that endorses a two-tiered system delivering equal and excellent healthcare services to all Americans.