A controversial idea that has started to gain traction in the more recent years is none other than universal healthcare. The proponents often claim that the system has been undergone in Canada, Britain, Sweden, Norway, and many other countries successfully which is why the United States needs to adopt this system. They claim that healthcare is a fundamental right because people’s lives depend on it. There have been numerous efforts by states to pass such legislation. The most recent was California a couple of weeks ago. Although many argue that this system has worked, is cost-effective, and will save lives, the hard truth is that this system has a bad record, and covering that up will have dire consequences in the future.
Let’s begin with the idea that healthcare should be considered a right. Declaring healthcare a right does not eliminate costs and make it more readily available to people. If you break it down to its core, the healthcare system can be described as the following: I break my arm. I don’t know what to do. I met someone who knows how to treat my arm. He agrees to do so but under the condition that I give him something in return because he can’t afford to do it for free. That in its essence is what healthcare is. The person who can treat my arm has no obligation to do so because he is a free man.
Another main argument is that countries like Britain and Canada have done it successfully. However, a study from the College of Family Physicians of Canada found that: “the median national wait time was 1 in 78 days”. Being treated quickly is key when it comes to healthcare because conditions worsen over time and having longer wait times is a major liability. Before the pandemic, another government-run healthcare country, Britain, had hospital death rates 45% higher than the United States. If the proponents of single-payer healthcare did more research and looked into these countries, they would not find pretty results.
Many people keep saying that healthcare should be universal and that idea is becoming more and more popular with the younger generation. But we are choosing to ignore history and what is going on right now. This will put us on a road no one wants to go to.