In a free market system of healthcare, price is driven more by demand and need than it is by the provision of quality care. That is why countries that offer this type of healthcare system see high percentages of their GDP consumed by healthcare costs. A universal healthcare system helps to correct this issue, but countries that utilize a universal healthcare system often experience higher taxes to compensate for the additional load of care needed for patients. What are the other pros and cons of universal healthcare?
The Pros of Universal Healthcare
One of the most difficult aspects of the healthcare industry right now is the billing issues. Doctors must contend with multiple insurance plans, multiple diagnosis coding for billing purposes, and it must all be done within a certain amount of time for proper compensation to be had. Universal healthcare would eliminate many of these issues because there would be less overall competition from the insurance industry.
Access to patient records is also an ongoing problem within the free market system of healthcare. Though the US government has put in Medicaid/Medicare incentives to transition from paper records to electronic ones, those incentives don’t begin to start until 2015. Until then, complete patient records are often scattered amongst various doctor’s offices – especially for patients that may move from state to state.
Free medical care in a universal system would also encourage patients to ask questions about problems they may be having instead of waiting until they can either afford treatment or it gets too bad to endure any more. This could help prevent some medical issues from becoming serious.
The Cons of Universal Healthcare
Free healthcare really isn’t free. It is often paid for in extra taxes somewhere, and this can affect a family’s budget in several negative ways. That is often the primary issue that many see with universal healthcare – instead of paying for services as you might need it, you’re paying for everyone’s services all of the time.
A universal system of healthcare could also lead to a lessening of the overall patient care in a country as doctors become assigned instead of chosen. This means a doctor who may not be familiar with a set of symptoms would be required to either provide a diagnosis or refer a patient to another doctor who could then do so, increasing the wait time for treatment.
Because more people are likely to utilize a free healthcare system, there is likely to be a backlog of patients that need to be seen, creating wait times for potentially severe health issues.
Is Universal Healthcare the Right Choice For Society To Make?
Is healthcare a fundamental right? That’s the question the United States is facing right now with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. With costs rising every year, the free market system is becoming out of reach for the average American with stagnant income. Something has to be done… but is that “something” universal care? What do you think?