Discussing Strategies to Improve Health is always a good thing because we can never have enough improvements in healthcare. As society evolves, so should its healthcare system and public health systems. One of the Strategies to Improve Health is to talk about the social issues surrounding it. Is healthcare a human right? Is healthcare a basic human need? These are all questions that can be discussed under social Strategies to Improve Health.
On December 10, 1948, The United Nations Declaration a declaration that stated that “everyone has the right to a standard of living proper for the health and well-being of the individual and his family, which includes medical care.” The World Health Organization also declared that all humans have the right to go healthcare provided by their governments. The WHO also defined health as not just the absence of illness or diseases but the prosperous conditions of the population including the flourishing of the mind, soul, and body. For these reasons, the World Health Organization And the United Nations state that healthcare is a basic human right. Taking this into account, strategies to improve health should include making health available and accessible to all and sundry.
Despite the stance of the World Health Organization and the United Nations on the universality of healthcare, there are also arguments against universal healthcare.
The Emergence of Socialism
Some people believe that the availability of universal healthcare is a gateway towards the emergence of a socialist state. In many cases, providing universal care will mean an increase in taxes, specifically on the rich. Putting the government in full control of the provision of this service (healthcare) and funded by increased taxes is a recipe– some argue– for the emergence of a socialist state. Many big economies operate a free market which means the forces of demand and supply control prices and cost of things including healthcare. Proponents against universal care argue that letting the government take full control of the healthcare system could lead the government to start controlling other aspects of the economy.
They also argue that universal healthcare could mean that doctors will earn significantly less money and this will lead to fewer people being interested in the profession. This could lead to a shortage in doctors and healthcare personnel which will lead to inaccessibility of care and defeat the purpose of universal healthcare in the first place. These problems can be solved by maintaining a pay standard for doctors to make sure the profession stays lucrative and their skill is not underappreciated or undervalued.
Could Lead to Abuse and Waste of Healthcare Resources
Of course, when something is free, there is bound to be some people who abuse the privilege or take advantage of it. Free healthcare could mean that many people will seek treatment for things that do not need a hospital visit thereby leading to a waste of resources and manpower. It will also mean people with actual illnesses that need medical attention would not have sufficient access to it because of overcrowding. This could lead to medical rationing so that everyone can get proper care when truly needed. Some ways rationing can be carried out is by budgeting, controlled distribution, service restriction, and price setting. A free healthcare system often results in long wait times for patients. Because of the increased number of patients seeking care, and not everyone will receive the type of care that they need. Since this type of system is run by the government, there can be a lot of red tape and bureaucracy that can result in poor care, especially if the country is already poor and doesn’t have a lot of revenue to spend on the care of its citizens and if the citizens are also ready on a low income and standard of living, there only so much taxes that can be demanded before it starts to be an unbearable burden for the people.
Increased taxes are two words that no one likes to hear. In order for universal healthcare to be provided the citizens would have to bear the burden through increased taxes. As the cost of care goes up so will the taxes and year after year residents would have to bear this cost and financial burden. In addition, implementing this system would take time to be fully adjusted and universal healthcare often has a lot of rules and regulations that people have to follow, and there is going to be a learning curve and probably trial and error, or even some technical difficulties, all of which people will have to fund through increased taxes.
Lack Of Innovation
They argue that the availability of universal healthcare will lead to a drop in innovation because there will no incentive to compete. Hence, healthcare research and pharmaceutical companies will not see the need for innovating new and better ways to treat illnesses because they won’t be able to profit from it. This of course is assuming that profit is their only motive in which case the opposite could also be argued that in an attempt to constantly increase profit pharmaceutical companies come up with different variation of the same innovation some of which are not even necessary and make patients pay for it, driving up the cost of care in the process.
Countries with Universal Healthcare
Countries with Universal Healthcare