Today, the problem of the accessibility to health care services is one of the major problems for millions of American citizens. In actuality, a large part of the population of the USA is uninsured that makes health care services of the high quality unavailable to them. The ongoing deterioration of the economic situation enlarges the part of the US population which cannot afford health care insurance. In such a situation, the American health care system becomes absolutely ineffective since it cannot provide a large part of the population with health care services. Nevertheless, the US still remains the only developed country that has no universal health care, which can be an efficient solution of the current health care problems the US population is facing. In spite of the criticism of the universal health care, this approach is consistently more efficient compared to the current model applied to the national health care system in the USA. It proves beyond a doubt that universal health care is the only way to provide all Americans with the possibility to receive health care services because health care services and health at large cannot be the matter of an individual’s wealth or social status, but it is the matter of the individual’s survival.
A truly democratic country, such as the USA, where human life and rights are valued above all, cannot fail to introduce universal health care. Otherwise, the US society will be divided into two distinct classes: the privileged class, which has health insurance, and the dispossessed class which cannot afford health care insurance.
The ineffectiveness of the existing health care system in the USA
The development of American health care system is often criticized for its low effectiveness. The problem of access of all Americans to health care services is one of the main problems the US policy-makers have to solve. In addition, there is a problem of provision of citizens of the US with equal opportunities to receive health care services of the high quality. The latter seems to be just because the US is one of the most developed countries in the world and the latest developments and achievements in medicine provide ample opportunities to help people and save their lives.
In such a situation, the necessity to develop special program to make health care services available to all people is obvious and such programs are implemented in the US. Among such programs, it is possible to name the Medicaid program, which was developed and first implemented in the mid-1960s (Hill, 2006, p.775). The major goal of this program was to help people, who do not have access to health care services without the state assistance.
Basically, the problem of the lack of access to health care services in the US appears when insurance is financially unaffordable for people (Hill, 2006, p.774). In actuality, a large part of American population still is uncovered with insurance system. In this respect, it should be said that the major eligibility criteria for the Medicaid program is the social position of an individual. To put it more precisely, it is the poorest part of the population that normally can count for the participation in the Medicaid program. At the same time, in Texas, for instance, there are some eligibility criteria that make the possibility of participation in the Medicaid program higher. In this respect, it is possible to mention that people with disabilities or serious health problems can be included in the Medicaid program and their chances are higher than the rest of the population.
Furthermore, it should be said that the position of children is particularly important. They need to be provided with health care services, but often families cannot afford insurance. At the same time their level of income is too high to be eligible for the Medicaid program. In such a situation, children can count for State’s Children’s Health Insurance Program. This program implies the state support of children living in families that cannot pay for health care services delivered to their children. Basically, the major criteria of the eligibility is the social position of the family, the participation of a child in this program in the past, and if a child is not illegible for Medicaid program and is not covered by private insurance.
Obviously, the programs introduced in the USA aim at the improvement of the quality and availability of health care services. However, today, a considerable part of the USA population is still uninsured (Fuchs and Emanuel, 2005). As a result, the existing programs aim only at specific groups of the population, while all the rest of uninsured Americans are left aside, being doomed to die without vitally essential medical aid.
The effectiveness of universal health care
a. Essence of universal health care
The universal health care is the health care coverage for all eligible residents living within a country. Normally, the universal health care covers medical, dental and mental health care. All developed countries, except the USA, have already implemented the universal health care in order to maximize the efficiency and availability of health care services to all citizens. The provision of health care services to all citizens is legally guaranteed in developed countries.
b. Criticism of universal health care
The introduction of the universal health care in the USA confronts a strong opposition from the conservative part of the US politicians and population, which, by the way, do have health insurance. The critics of the universal health care (Davis, et al. 2006) argue that the universal health care is too expensive and the US cannot afford funding the universal health care, especially in the time of scarce financial resources and economic recession. Furthermore, opponents of the universal health care (Coddington, et al. 2000) stand on the ground that its introduction will decrease the efficiency of the US health care system because state funds will be directed to provide health care services to all citizens that increases spending respectively to the quantity of patients receiving services. As a result, the increase of state expenses on health care will not improve the quality of health care services because a larger number of people will get them. Finally, private health care services are considered to be of the higher quality compared to health care services funded by the state.
c. Advantages of universal health care
However, in actuality, the private medicine proves to be inefficient because it is not available to a large part of the US population. In fact, it is only the representatives of the upper-class and partially middle-class that can fully benefit from the private medicine and modern health care services. The introduction of the universal health care services will make medicine available to absolutely all citizens regardless of their social status or wealth.
Furthermore, the universal health care does not necessarily lead to the violation or limitation of rights, including the right of choice.
Patients cannot be forced to go to a particular physician and get particular health care services. After the introduction of universal health care, people will be able to choose health care organizations and professionals as they can do now. Probably, the universal health care will not be able to afford funding of health care services which are very expensive, but the private medicine can be preserved, as the matter of fact. The universal health care will provide all people with basic health care services, which are essential for the normal, healthy life of each individual.
In addition, the universal health care will make health care services entirely focused patients, instead of being focused on benefits of health care organizations. In fact, the state support of health care system will contribute to the stability of funding of health care organizations and they will not be as concerned with making money as they are now. As a result, today, health care system is a profitable business where physicians are making money selling health care services to patients. The universal health care will put the quality of health care services prior to benefits health care organizations can get from the services they provide.
Finally, the universal health care will make health care services less vulnerable to the negative impact of economic recessions and crisis because the state will take responsibility for the financial support of health care system. Therefore, there will be no room for speculations and unreasonable increase of costs of health care services. Consequently, patients will be able to afford health care services, even in the time of an economic recession or financial crisis, while, today, economic recession deprives many people of the access to health care services.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the current development of the US health care is inefficient because health care services are unavailable to many Americans. The US health care system includes several programs which target at the help to people who are uncovered by insurance and cannot afford to pay for health care services. However, these programs do not solve the problem of availability of health care services. In such a context, the universal health care can be the only efficient solution of the problem of the availability of health care services and inclusion of all Americans in the national health care system. Therefore, it is possible to speak about a consistent, qualitative change of the national health care system after the introduction of the universal health care.