At which point, the overall costs of care will be passed on to the tax payer in the form of higher taxes. This leads to a decrease in the overall quality of care and it will not slow the price increases, as the government seeks to restrict access to these services. Then, when the program becomes broken (such as: what is happening to Social Security) removing or reforming the bureaucracy is nearly impossible. (Messerili, 2010)
A second argument that many critics make about universal health care is: it will stifle innovation. Whenever, the government is running any kind of program, they will place a large number of restrictions and regulations on the industry. When this takes place, you are causing some of the best and brightest minds to seek careers in other fields, as the restrictions from the government are too cumbersome. A good example of this would be: the fear that many critics claim will happen to physicians under such a plan. Where, the government will seek to restrict the overall amount of salaries that someone can make in this field. (Wexler, 2003) This could lead to a shortage of available doctors and nurses, who leave the field because of the mountains of regulations that they must follow and limited financial benefits. Once this take place, it is only a matter of time until the price of health care will increase and the overall quality will decrease, as the shortages in the industry become exacerbated. (Messerili, 2010)
Rebuttal of Arguments
While both sides make compelling arguments, the proponents will refute the claims made by the critics. This is accomplished by citing the statistics that other countries are paying for health care, who currently have a universal health care system in place. According to the Kaiser Foundation, the United States spends the most amount of money on health care service of any developed country in the world (where this accounts for 15.3% of GDP spending). When you compare this to other countries that are using universal health system such as: Canada and Great Britain, the overall costs are far less. In this particular situation, Canadians spend 10.0% of GDP spending on health care. While, in Great Britain they spent a total of 8.4% of their GDP on health care. ("Trends in Health Care Costs and Spending," 2006) What this shows, is that while many critics will claim that universal care will increase costs and reduce services, those countries who are using such a system have lower spending in comparison to the United States.
The critics will counter the arguments made by the proponents of universal health care by: often citing the system used in these countries. Where, there have been many instances of the government restricting access to care in rural parts of the country. This leads to long lines at bureaucratic hospitals and clinics that are efficient. As a result, the figures presented by proponents do not take into account lost time waiting on approval for treatment. This causes the overall quality of care to decline, because bureaucrats are trying to micro manage the health care system. A good example of this can be seen in Canada, where delays of several days have been seen in the emergency room for simple procedures. (Gratzer, 2002)
Clearly, the American health care system is in desperate need of reform. The proponents claim that providing universal care is the best way to fix the problem. While, critics will argue that such a system will create a big government bureaucracy that will stifle innovation. These two view points are significant, because they highlight the divide that exists within society, as to what is the best way to reform health care. It is through comparing the different ideas presented by both sides; that will provide the greatest insights as to how to reform the health care system.
Trends in Health Care Costs and Spending. (2006). Retrieved March 13, 2010 from Kaiser Foundation website:
Andersen, R. (2007). Changing the U.S. Health Care System. Washington D.C: National Academy Press.
Gratzer, D. (2002). Better Medicine. Toronto, on: ECW Press.
Messerili, J. (2010, January 19). Should the Government Provide Free Universal Health Care to All Americans.