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Josh Pierce Pierce

Miss Nuesenwander

RWS 100-49

11/30/2008

The American health care system has many faults, which no simple solution could fix.

There is a tremendous amount of Americans without health insurance and for the ones who do

have it their health insurance will usually screw them over with huge deductibles, or they won’t

approve a certain life-saving surgery. Recently health care has been a primary concern for

Americans in electing the next president, which has been the source of more people concerning

themselves with the issue. Many Americans believe that a socialized health care system would be

the answer to the failing American health care system, but is socialized medical care the answer?

Socialized health care is medical care coverage, given to all eligible residents of a certain

governmental area or in other terms universal health care coverage. Socialized medicine would

bring about many new problems, such as higher taxes and long waiting lists. Many believe a

more privatized medical care system needs to be implemented, which would mean less Medicare

and Medicaid. Privatized medical care is when health care is not run by the government, but is

run by private organizations .These two programs have been a few of the more successful

programs in the American health care system. Many countries have successful privatized health

care systems. Therefore is socialized or privatized medicine right for the United States or would a

mix of both be the right choice. A man named Michael F. Cannon kind of gets it right when he

says, “the underlying goal of a legally enforceable right to health care is to provide quality

medical care to the greatest number possible. (Cannon, 2) The only problem with his idea is that

he believes that a primarily privatized system would fulfill this. To fulfill Cannon’s goal a 50/50
combo of both systems would be the most efficient system. With an equal combo of both we will

not have higher taxes and will be able to get more life saving surgeries done in time, then a fully

socialized system were the government provides insurance to everyone. While at the same time

be able to suffice more poor Americans who can’t afford private health insurance. A primarily

privatized system would provide quality health care only to the individuals, who can afford to

pay for health insurance that will give them quality health care. Therefore, a mixed system with

an equal amount of outside control and governmental control would provide quality health care

to the most individuals, both ones with money and the poor.

Soon we will have a new President, President-elect Barack Obama who wants to make the

U.S health care system much more socialized. Obama’s plan would provide more Americans

between 26 million and 34 million more with health insurance, but it would bring along with it

higher health-care costs and less benefit from private health insurance. (Carmichael, 3) Obama’s

plan would not affect private insurance, but it would make more subsides available to more low-

income buyers, but would sacrifice many benefits of health insurance companies.(Carmichael, 3)

Obama’s plan would insure more people , but it will hurt Americans who have money

tremendously. Taxes would raise a bunch especially with him wanting to expand Medicaid, and

create some more governmental insurance programs. (Carmichael, 4) John McCain wanted to go

in a totally different direction. His plan would make big changes to employer-based health

insurance; critics were torn on this idea. Some believed it would cover 21 million Americans

without health insurance, or leave more uninsured. (Carmichael, 3). McCain wants to have

everyone get their health insurance privately instead of through jobs. (Carmichael, 2) He wants to

do this by cutting the current tax break on employer provided health insurance, which could

cause a lot of employers to drop their benefits completely. To allow more people to get privately

insured McCain wants to give individuals 2500$ and families $5000. McCain’s plan would also
create a huge increase in taxes and it could end up with more people being uninsured because

many probably wouldn’t spend their money towards health insurance. The problem with the 2008

presidential candidates is they focus primarily on one area and don’t try to balance out

governmental and private control; they try to give control to one side or the other, which leads to

many problems. If just some of the money that these plans want to spend went to creating

government programs to allow affordable and quality health care to the poor, while allowing

private organizations to provide quality affordable care to the rest, Americans would be much

happier with their health care system.

Even before this year’s presidential debate, last year there was a documentary that made

more people to concern themselves with the American health care situation. The name of the

documentary is “Sicko” by Michael Moore. In “Sicko” Moore reveals the evils of American

Health Care, while introducing socialized medicine as the Holy Grail of medical care. (Moore)

Moore uses examples of Americans who were either uninsured or got screwed over by their

insurance company to portray the American health care system as a failure. Furthermore, Moore

uses people who have had no problems with their medical care in Canada, Britain, France and

Cuba, which have socialized medicine to portray them as the answer to U.S. health care system.

(Moore). However, Moore does not illustrate the complete picture of the socialized systems he

analyses in his film.

Liz Mair a writer for the San Diego Tribune was a member of NHS the British health care

system. ( Mair, 1) The NHS is the National Health Service and makes up 97% of the health care

expenditures in England, and is run by the central government. (Dewdney, 197) Mair reveals the

true NHS, which has just as many problems as the U.S, just different ones. Mair illustrates how

the NHS may give everyone health insurance, but with this comes consequences, patients don’t

get treated in a timely manner, life saving drugs can be denied, and the NHS hospitals are very
unsanitary. (Mair, 1) Mair gives examples of all these failures through using examples from the

news, such as a story from BBC where 40,000 patients in Wales had to wait more than six months

for an outpatient appointment. (Mair, 1) In addition the story about the cancer patients in 2006

and 2007 who were denied drugs that could of saved their lives by the NHS, because they were

expensive. ( Mair, 1) Mair introduces that in 2005 MRSA infections spread throughout NHS

hospitals due to unsanitary conditions. (Mair, 1) Overall much of the British public supports the

NHS; there is much concern for the problems that come along with NHS.( Dewdney, 242)

Socialized medicine can have it its benefits, but at the same time if a system is completely

socialized then many failures come along with the benefits. Failures include low morale of people

providing care, conditions of hospitals, waiting lists, admission policies and the quality of care.

(Dewdney, 242) Some privatization is needed to balance out the socialized system.

There are some countries that have more successful socialized systems then the British.

Denmark, which was once considered the best health service in the world, has a socialized system

that has worked pretty well but still has some problems. (Dewdney, 153) Denmark offers Danish

health services to all residents free of charge except for certain services like nursing homes.

(Dewdney, 153) There health –care system unlike the British is run by the counties instead of the

central government. Denmarkis one of the best countries in getting quality medical care for the

most people, but they are having problems with this. (Dewdney, 179) Most of the doctors in

Denmark are private practice, but get a majority of their money from the government, because

there patients are under government insurance. (Dewdney, 180) There patients can go to these

doctors through private insurance if they want, but they don’t because is expensive because of

little amount of private insurance companies. (Dewdney, 180) Furthermore, with Denmark

offering such a good care to the vast majority, it began to cost too much for the government.

Taxes were heavily ranged and changes had to be made, these changes helped take away the
image of Demark as “the best health care system in the world”. (Dewdney , 179) There quality of

medical care went down, instead to create a more flexible health service, to use limited resources.

(Dewdney, 186) Denmark’s problem is it put too much of its governments money into health

care not allowing enough money to come from privatized companies.

There are some countries that have more successful privatized health care systems then

the U.S., but they still have issues. Australia, which takes much of its ideas from the U.S medical,

is much more liked by the people. Australia offers a high quality of health care to its people most

of the time, health services are pretty readily available to a majority as well. (Dewdney, 36) Most

of the health insurance in Australia is provided by private companies, but for those that can’t the

government provides certain benefits. ( Dewdney, 36). Australia has a decent health care system,

but they do have many large and looming problems because they are trying to give quality care to

an entire population. (Dewdney, 36) The major problems are many Australians can’t access

health care where and when they want, a shortage of health professionals, insufficient focus on

prevention and primary care, and the inefficient allocation of resources caused by the current

State/ Commonwealth funding structure. (About the Alliance, 1) The problem with Australian

medical care and like most primarily privatized health care system is not enough government

interference; an equal proportion of private and socialized care needs to be implanted for a health

care system to have less problems.

In America between 2005 and 2007 there was a total of 15.7 percent of the population in

America uninsured. (Carmichael, 5) Most Americans get there insurance from private plans about

68 percent, while only 28 percent get it from the government either by, Medicaid, Medicare, or

military.( Carmichae1, 5) There are so many Americans uninsured because the government

programs are not large enough to support the Americans who can’t afford private health

insurance. The private companies control so much of the U.S health insurance policies that they
can do whatever they want pretty much, raising premiums to super high amounts, and allotting

giant deductibles. As you can see above when a country focuses primarily on either privatized or

socialised medicine, many problems arise. Only when you balance them out can you have

healthcare that will be mostly effective, with less problems then most healthcare systems, like

Germany.

Germany the largest European country has one of the most successful health care systems

in the world. Germany’s health care is primarily supported by public funds, with the Government

making sure that medical services are offered to the entire population as equally as possible.

(Dewdney, 287) Germany balances out private and governmental control pretty well. Germany

leaves a good amount of health care to private enterprise and charitable and non-profit

organizations, but not too much. (Dewdney, 287) Germany’s government offers insurance to

those who can’t afford private insurance, or ones who can’t get help from charity groups.

(Dewdney, 287) Greene, Irvine and Crackett found that “In 2002 around 54% of hospital beds

were in the public sector, about 38% were run by private, non-profit organizations and some 8%

were private, for-profit institutions”. (1) This shows how well balanced the Germans are in health

care. In Germany there is competition like in the U.S so there is quality medical care unlike

socialized medical care, but at the same time they have a great socialized system so that everyone

is insured. (Greene and Irvine and Crackett, 1) Germany’s socialized medical care is a system of

statutory “sickness funds”, which is anyone can join, but are there so people who don’t make very

much money can have health insurance. (Greene and Irvine and Crackett, 1) Germany enjoys one

of the best health care systems in the World, because they are smart and equalize privatization

and socialization of medical care.

The American health care system has numerous problems. As Atul Gawande puts it the

American “health care confronts us with a difficult task. We have never confronted failure in
something so deeply embedded in people’s lives and in the economy without the pressure of an

outright crisis. (Gawande, 2) Most politicians believe in overhauling a system in one direction

such as with Obama and McCain. This would cause failure and the fight would turn horrible

especially if universal health care or socialized medicine was implanted completely. (Gawande,

3) That is why the U.S should balance out there medical care between privatized and socialized

medicine. The U.S needs to make a larger program like Medicaid that encompasses more people.

Along with doing what Germany doesand offer government programs at different prices to give

people of many different salaries choices. At the same time the Government needs not to create

universal health care, therefore, they need to allow people to join private insurance companies to

create competition. (Greene and Irvine and Crackett, 1) If the Government competes with

private insurance companies it will give the people more choices; in addition it will keep the

quality of health care high. Also with the Government offering cheaper insurance, the private

insurance companies will have to match to compete. Therefore, more people will be insured

because can afford it. Then for the people, who don’t have jobs or are low-income, can be

covered under a program like Medicaid.

In the present time everyone is coming up with different health care plans to fix the

American health care system.