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Obamacare: An Alternative Take

November 25, 2013 10:40 pm by: Category: Opinions Comments Off on Obamacare: An Alternative Take A+ / A-
President Obama addressing the Affordable Health Care Act in 2009 Photo courtesy of All Voices

President Obama addressing the Affordable Health Care Act in 2009. Photo courtesy of All Voices

The problem with Obamacare is not that the government is overstepping its bounds, but rather, that it is not doing enough to solve America’s health care problems.

Many are convinced that healthcare is best left in the hands of the free market, and that any issues within American health care (like its high costs or the millions of uninsured Americans) will either be solved by free enterprise or should be considered as an acceptable status quo. However, these presumptions are both misguided.

It is in the nature of capitalism that the universal objective of every private business is profit. The businesses involved in health care within the U.S. are no exception, and it is because of the principles of supply and demand economics that these businesses have been able to drive service prices up far beyond what can be considered fair to customers. The free market does not self-regulate to the maximum benefit of consumers–by nature, it benefits the corporations first and the consumers only by side effect.

If the U.S. is to bring down the health care costs for individual citizens to acceptable rates, the privatization of health care must be phased out. Countries such as Canada, Sweden, the UK, and Denmark that have universal, tax-based single payer health care systems demonstrate the success of government-run healthcare in actually making healthcare more affordable for its citizens. Prices for hospital stays, surgeries, medicines, and other medical services are much higher in the U.S. than in these countries. In fact, the U.S. has some of the most expensive medical services in the developed world.

The difference between an American’s health care and a European’s? The American’s costs have been determined by those who work for profit, while the European’s costs have been determined by those who work for the people, their own government. This is what we need in America: for our government of, by, and for the people to take the reins of health care from the corporations that only care about expanding their profits. The people should not be scared of the government, they should embrace it, for it is made up of their votes, their ideas, their voices by its very definition.

Courtesy of Wilkes Democratic Party

Photo courtesy of the Commonwealth Fund

Yes, there have been flukes with the Obamacare website. However, this should not be taken as proof that the government is incapable of running a national health care program. There are many federal programs that are efficient and effective, like Social Security, the Food and Drug Administration, and NASA, that all provide proof that the Federal government is not simply a monolith of ineptitude. Medicare itself, the closest system to universal health care in the U.S., is proof that the government can run an efficient health care system with low overheads that focuses not on profits, but on the patients.

The object of healthcare should be only that which it nominally implies—health. The government needs to eliminate the profit-focused middlemen between the patient and the doctors.

The Affordable Care Act is a step in the right direction, but the government needs to do more, help more, to ensure health and life for every American in need of it. Finances should never determine who gets the care that they need to live. America’s health supersedes politics, and is far beyond the capacity of the free market to handle. Universal health care is the best cure there is for this sickening country.

Coauthored by Alex Hughes

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