OK, I’ll just come out and say it: We should have government provided healthcare for everyone in this country.
“Did he really just say that?”
Yes, yes I did.
To understand why this is the right course of action, let’s first examine the role of government, particularly since so many people think this is exactly the reason government should NOT provide healthcare. The usual argument is, “it doesn’t say that in the constitution”. Well, it actually does. Look at the very first line of the constitution:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union[…]promote the general Welfare […]
The role of government is to do what is best for the people it serves in order to benefit the union (country) as a whole. “So”, you might say, “I see how giving free healthcare helps my welfare, but how does it benefit the whole country’s welfare?”
One of the keys to a country having a prosperous economy is having a good supply of available resources. One of the resources required in an economy is the people who actually produce the outputs of the economy. If the supply of people (“human capital” in economic terms) is small, this limits your potential economic output. Similarly, if the supply of human capital is poorly educated, the economic output is limited. And finally, if the supply of human capital is in poor health, this also limits the productivity of the economy.
Another, simpler, factor is if the consumers of your economic output are spending a large amount of their income on healthcare, they can’t buy the product of your business.
“But wait”, you say, “government provided healthcare isn’t free! It’s paid for with taxes, so there’s no difference!” But there is a difference. The difference is the motives of each provider. If a private company provides health services (insurance, wellness care, surgery, whatever), they are motivated primarily by profit. I went to the doctor last year because of some chest pain I had after eating. Although there was no real reason to suspect any heart problems (I’m fairly young, with no history of heart problems, and the pain was just after lunch, which generally indicates heartburn), I ended up with a stress test, a nuclear stress test, and a cardiac catheterization, “just to be sure”. While the video is cool, I’m sure my insurance company didn’t like the bill for all of that. Was my doctor ripping me off intentionally? I don’t think so. But it would be easy to justify with, “well, there COULD be a problem, so we’ll just do this extra test to be sure, and if I get an extra $200 for that, well, hey, better safe than sorry.”
Some will argue that the government is filled with inefficiencies. This is true, but if you’ve ever worked in a large corporation you know there are also inefficiencies in business. The difference goes back to motives: When a business is working efficiently, it’s maximizing profits; when government is working efficiently, it is best serving the people. I know what motive I’d rather be aiming for when my health is on the line.