Universal Health Care In U.S. Pros & Cons

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Universal Health Care in U.S. Pros & cons

Universal Health Care in U.S. Pros & cons


The World Health Organization (WHO) defines universal healthcare coverage as “access to key promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative health interventions for all at an affordable cost, thereby achieving equity in access.” (WHO) Under this definition, a population is said to enjoy universal healthcare if every member of that population is able to obtain access to needed healthcare services. Ordinarily, such services include physicians' care (including preventive care), admission to hospitals, and supplies of medicine or medical devices. The universal healthcare principle does not necessarily preclude the payment of fees by users of needed healthcare services. However, it does require that such services be available to all, including those who lack the ability to pay.

United States of America

In the United States, government-funded healthcare coverage is provided for approximately 25 percent of the population: to the elderly through the federal Medicare program; to many children and adults living in extreme poverty, through Medicaid; to veterans through the Veterans' Administration; and to Native Americans through the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Working adults generally must obtain healthcare coverage from private insurance companies. Because some working adults are uninsurable or cannot afford to purchase coverage (or choose not to), approximately 44 million U.S. residents (about 16 percent of the population) went uninsured in 2001. Uninsured persons in the United States often receive emergency care in public hospitals, but preventive care and nonemergent situations frequently go unattended. A large portion of the population remains at risk for catastrophic consequences.

In the 1940s and 1990s, U.S. Presidents Harry Truman (1945, 1947, and 1949) and William Clinton (1993) proposed the adoption of national health insurance programs in the United States. Their efforts, nevertheless, were unsuccessful. Accordingly, unlike in western Europe, Israel, and Japan, universal healthcare coverage ...
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