What Are the Benefits of Universal Health Care?

Craig Bonnot
Craig Bonnot
Universal health care is intended to ensure that every citizen is able to receive essential medical services.
Universal health care is intended to ensure that every citizen is able to receive essential medical services.

Universal health care is a type of medical care in which the government pays for its citizens’ medical needs. With universal health care, individuals do not buy health insurance from private companies, they pay additional taxes to the government, and those taxes are used to fund the health care system. As of 2011, Canada, Russia and parts of Europe were among the places where universal health care programs were in use. One of the main benefits of universal health care is that every citizen has access to health care. Other possible benefits of universal health care include reduced employee costs for businesses and greater efficiency for medical professionals.

Universal health care may increase the efficiency of health care overall.
Universal health care may increase the efficiency of health care overall.

Under universal health care, all the nation’s citizens receive health care from the government. Health care is paid for by taxes. The tax rates typically are designed so that the upper classes pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes, and the poor pay a lower percentage. This is called a progressive tax system. Under this system, people who cannot afford to buy private insurance have access to health coverage.

With a universal health care system, medical professionals are not required to spend as much time and money processing insurance claims.
With a universal health care system, medical professionals are not required to spend as much time and money processing insurance claims.

Universal health care guarantees that every citizen is able to receive essential medical services. With private health care, many people do not go to the doctor because they cannot afford to go. When sick people put off medical treatment, their conditions can get worse, making them much more expensive to treat. Some people die from conditions that could have been treated had they been able to afford medical care earlier.

Universal health care can help women in poverty get access to prenatal care.
Universal health care can help women in poverty get access to prenatal care.

A universal health care system can also lower the cost of doing business in a country. In a private health care system, most people get their insurance coverage from their employer, but offering health care to every employee can be expensive. Offering employees both health care and a salary raises the cost of doing business. One of the benefits of universal health care is that employers do not have to shoulder their employees’ medical costs and are able to be more competitive as a result.

With private insurance, policyholders are often required to pay a co-pay at the time they receive care.
With private insurance, policyholders are often required to pay a co-pay at the time they receive care.

Another one of the benefits of universal health care is that it might also lower the cost and increase the efficiency of health care overall. With private health care, each health plan has its own unique procedures and claims process. Medical professionals have to spend a lot of time and energy complying with the policies of these insurance companies.

Children with access to universal health care are less likely to get sick.
Children with access to universal health care are less likely to get sick.

With universal health care, however, medical professional have to deal with only one health care system. They are not required to spend as much time and money processing claims. With private medical insurance, doctors have to determine which procedures are covered by each insurance plan, but with universal health care, doctors are not required to this, so they can spend more time practicing medicine.

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Discussion Comments

anon1000674

I believe that universal health care would be beneficial to our country as well as to others. The future is important if we don't want to become extinct.

croydon

@bythewell - There are financial arguments for both sides. There's a reason that waiting lists have to be that long. The only reason they are shorter in places without universal health care is that those places simply don't have as many people able to get surgery. So it's only a question of a handful of people having to wait in one scenario, versus a lot of people dying because they can't afford the surgery at all in the second.

And the pharmaceutical companies might not be able to make the record profits they make now, but considering how many of them exist and survive in Europe, I don't think that will actually be a long term problem for the consumer.

bythewell

@pleonasm - It is definitely not that simple. If you go to a lot of the countries that do have universal health care you will find that the people who need operations will often have to wait a lot longer to get them, because there is such a big waiting list.

These are people who might have been on health insurance (which would guarantee a fast operation) if they hadn't had complete faith in their access to health care.

They do have access, they just have to wait in line for it.

And then there are the pharmaceutical companies. A lot of the drugs they develop take millions and millions of dollars to research and they only do it because they expect a good return. Government contracts will almost certainly damage that process as well.

pleonasm

I just can't see any downsides to universal health care. In fact it really shocks me that all countries don't have this as an automatic human right. It just makes sense to ensure that everyone is healthy and that they don't have to worry about getting the medication that they need.

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    • Universal health care is intended to ensure that every citizen is able to receive essential medical services.
      By: corepics
      Universal health care is intended to ensure that every citizen is able to receive essential medical services.
    • Universal health care may increase the efficiency of health care overall.
      By: Monkey Business
      Universal health care may increase the efficiency of health care overall.
    • With a universal health care system, medical professionals are not required to spend as much time and money processing insurance claims.
      By: phasinphoto
      With a universal health care system, medical professionals are not required to spend as much time and money processing insurance claims.
    • Universal health care can help women in poverty get access to prenatal care.
      By: Africa Studio
      Universal health care can help women in poverty get access to prenatal care.
    • With private insurance, policyholders are often required to pay a co-pay at the time they receive care.
      By: contrastwerkstatt
      With private insurance, policyholders are often required to pay a co-pay at the time they receive care.
    • Children with access to universal health care are less likely to get sick.
      By: Stephanie Frey
      Children with access to universal health care are less likely to get sick.