Proper healthcare systems are an integral part of human life. With a healthy population, the world is assured of a healthy and productive society. Most countries globally are implementing healthcare policies and strategies aimed at making access to healthcare easy and affordable. One primary way through which good healthcare can be achieved is by offering easily accessible, cheaper, and reliable services to all people worldwide, hence the need for universal healthcare.
Universal healthcare is a health system which aims at ensuring all individuals, communities, nations have access to reliable, affordable and easily accessible health services (Ghebreyesus, 2017). Under this plan, everyone will access healthcare services of sufficient quality. Additionally, universal healthcare should not expose subscribers to financial hardships (Ghebreyesus, 2017).
Several issues in the current healthcare system have led to calls for universal healthcare. One major problem is the disparity in access to healthcare services. The poor form the most significant percentage of victims of the world’s biggest killer diseases (Ghebreyesus, 2017). These include cancer, heart diseases, and HIV/AIDS. Additionally, the current health system is costly; only a few people can access it. The United States’ healthcare system is the most expensive in the world, yet it does not rank among the best in terms of service delivery (Niles, 2019). A third reason is that healthcare should be considered a fundamental right, not a privilege. Access to better healthcare must not be dogged on such factors as race, region, religious affiliations and economic class.
A universal healthcare system will have positive impacts on US healthcare in terms of cost, care quality and access to healthcare. The US has the world’s most expensive healthcare. In 2018, the US spent close to eighteen per cent of its Gross Domestic Product on healthcare alone; this is about $3.6 trillion (Niles, 2019). However, it ranks poorly compared to other countries. Universal healthcare will reduce the cost of healthcare in the US. Every US citizen will have access to healthcare regardless of their financial status. Universal healthcare will also significantly improve care quality in the US. Compared to countries such as the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, and Australia, the US healthcare system is of poor quality (Niles, 2019). Access to health care in the US is challenging, especially to the underinsured or those without healthcare insurance. In a study by Carinci et al., (2015), the OECD ranked the US very poorly in the percentage of the population that had access to a core set of healthcare services. A universal healthcare system would provide access to healthcare by every individual.
According to Ghebreyesus (2017), one primary positive outcome of a universal healthcare system would be lowering the overall healthcare costs. This will, in turn, boost access to healthcare services by the poor people, whose main challenge has been financial constraints. A universal healthcare system will also establish uniformity throughout all hospitals (Ghebreyesus, 2017). This will, in turn, lead to hospitals and care providers to offer the same standard of services at low costs.
Even though with many positives, a universal healthcare system may also be associated with some adverse outcomes. One of the negative consequences is disparities in the payment mode. While it is suitable for everyone to access better and quality health services, the cost of paying for the services will mostly be a responsibility of the rich in society. Ghebreyesus (2017) notes that under universal healthcare, the poor will not be paying the same subscription fee as the financially advantaged, yet access to healthcare will be uniform for every individual. This means that the rich will be ‘unfairly’ be paying for the poor. A universal healthcare system has the potential to make people care less about their health. Without universal healthcare, individuals were aware of the financial impacts of falling ill. They knew how expensive it was to pay for health services. Even though such a situation meant only a few people, the financially able, could access health services, it had also made most people take great care of themselves. Absence of universal healthcare meant that people observed healthy diets, and engaged more in fitness activities (Ghebreyesus, 2017). Once this changes and they can now easily access health serves at affordable prices, complacency has set in; most people will not be very keen with their health.
Even though there could be some adverse effects, a universal healthcare system should be embraced, not only in the US but also globally. Disparities in healthcare systems among races, regions and countries are evident. Several poor people lose their lives due to preventable diseases, due to lack of affordable healthcare. So far, about thirty-five countries offer universal healthcare, and the results have been good (Ghebreyesus, 2017). With universal healthcare in place, there will be equity in access to health services, improved care, and fewer costs.
Carinci, F., Van Gool, K., Mainz, J., Veillard, J., Pichora, E. C., Januel, J. M., … & Haelterman, M. (2015). Towards actionable international comparisons of health system performance: expert revision of the OECD framework and quality indicators. International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 27(2), 137-146.
Ghebreyesus, T. A. (2017). All roads lead to universal health coverage. The Lancet Global Health, 5(9), e839-e840.
Niles, N. J. (2019). Basics of the US health care system. Jones & Bartlett Learning.