Pretty much every rich, developed nation on the planet has universal healthcare, EXCEPT for the U.S. Should we join them, or does our current healthcare system have advantages that we don’t want to lose?
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**How does healthcare work in the U.S.?
In the U.S., how you want to pay for healthcare is entirely up to you, as long as you have the money. Most people choose to buy health insurance. If you’re low income or over 65, you can get it from the government, but pretty much everyone else has to buy it from companies. You pay a set amount of money every month, and in return, the insurance company pays for most of your medical bills if you get sick or hurt. You can also choose to NOT buy insurance. If you’re young and healthy and never have to go to a doctor or a hospital, you’re gonna save money. But you’re at risk for paying a LOT of money if you DO have a medical emergency, like a car wreck or falling off your bike and breaking your arm. So, it’s a gamble.
**So how does universal healthcare work?**
There are a BUNCH of different ways to get universal healthcare, and every country does it a little bit differently. There’s SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, where the government owns the hospitals, and the doctors and nurses are government employees. There is SINGLE-PAYER, where doctors and hospitals are private businesses, but there is almost no private insurance. Instead, the government provides health insurance for everyone. It can also work with PRIVATE INSURANCE, where people buy it from companies, but it’s HEAVILY regulated by the government, which REQUIRES everyone to have health insurance.
**What are the pros with universal healthcare?**
With universal healthcare, everyone is covered, your insurance isn’t tied to your job, and it would cost less
**What are the cons?**
Taxes would likely go up to pay for it, the quality of care might change, and the individual would have less choice.
Single payer healthcare: Pluses, minuses, and what it means for you (Harvard Health Publishing)
The Virtues and Vices of Single-Payer Health Care (New England Journal of Medicine)
International Health Care System Profiles (The Commonwealth Fund)
The Case Against Single-Payer Health Care (reason.com)
Why Single-Payer Would Make Health Care Worse for Americans (The Heritage Foundation)
Medical Bankruptcy: Still Common Despite the Affordable Care Act (American Journal of Public Health)
How do US taxes compare internationally? (Tax Policy Center)
Health at a Glance: OECD Indicators (OECD)
Health System Tracker (Peterson-Kaiser Family Foundation)
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