Universal healthcare would provide necessary relief for U. S. citizens

By Vincent Stigliani 2010

As the caucuses rolled through Iowa and as states across the country are deciding on whom they are supporting, health care has been pushed into the limelight as one of the most important issues in deciding the next president.

There are different approaches to addressing the problem, and, frankly, different views on what the problem is. The Democrats are pushing for universal healthcare, while the Republicans are demanding a free market solution.

In the debate of how to solve this problem the rebuttal to the idea of universal health care is always as follows. “Look at Europe and Canada, see socialized medicine at work and what a disaster it is.” So I did just that. I researched these said countries and compared them to the United States, but failed to see the fore mentioned disaster.

First, we are not the healthiest country in the world. A recent United Nations statistic showed that we are 38th in the world in life expectancy, behind nations such as Iceland,
Switzerland, Sweden, France, Canada, Austria, Netherlands. Although life expectancy is not completely indicative of the health of a nation, to brand Europe’s and Canada’s health systems as disasters is a terrible misconception.

A sick diabetes patient visits his doctor’s office.

He is prescribed medicine, but he does not have health care and can not afford it.

Instead, he is forced to continue with his life, without his prescribed medication, as his situation gets progressively worse.

My mother, a nurse, sees situations like this on a regular basis, stories of people falling through the cracks because they don’t have healthcare, don’t qualify for Medicaid, can’t afford medications and sometimes can’t even afford the visit to the office. In fact, a recent census bureau statistic indicated that there were around 47 million uninsured Americans, or about 15.8 percent of the population.

Even the other 84.2 percent of the population have troubles covering expensive operations, with health care providers constantly looking for pre-existing conditions or other ways around covering clients.

How can we be the country our forefathers envisioned, offering life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness when the health of our citizens is not even a guaranteed right?

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