Universal Healthcare (by Rae Ritacco)


Throughout this course we were asked to choose a community theme, which is essentially something in the community that we have relate too or enjoy discussing. My community theme was focused on health care. My whole family has been involved in health care so it has been a very important part of my life. My mother and step father are nurses, my father worked for the department of health, and my grandmother was a nurse as well. I feel particularly attached to the notion of universal health care because I strongly believe all humans have a right to be healthy and taken care of. Everyone should be for universal health care because as human beings we are born with an innate sense of the importance of groups. We all need to work together to take care of each other as we have for hundreds of years.

The United States is one of the few first world countries without universal Health Care. If that weren’t enough, the U.S. spends more per capita on health care than any other nation (Cinconi Srug). Not only do we not provide health care for the people of the nation, but we make it extremely expensive to access it. How can it be that such a proud nation, doesn’t offer basic health care to its people? Our nation doesn’t seem to value the health and well being of its citizens. Universal health care is a necessity for all first world nations. We should make health care available for all because all people deserve to be able to lead healthy lives. Some people disagree with the idea of universal health care because its too expensive or people don’t have to work for it, however healthcare is a right for all people to have access too.

The overall cost of health care for the average American is astronomical. “Health care expenditures in the United States were nearly $2.6 trillion in 2010, an average of $8,402 per person.” (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services). To add to the high average cost of health care, most of the cost is being diverted to people with preventable, chronic diseases.

“75% of all health care dollars are spent on patients with one or more chronic conditions, many of which can be prevented, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, lung disease, high blood pressure, and cancer.” (Health Affairs) All of this sounds very expensive, when it has to be paid out of pocket. As a nation we all need to spend a little to make sure our neighbors have what they need to stay healthy. Not only would this increase the value of life, but it would also encourage us to spend more resources on preventative care. Americans pay so much for health care that 62% of all bankruptcy filings in 2007 were due to illness or medical bills (American Journal of Medicine, June 2009). The United States government not only robs people of access to healthcare, but of their money as well.

How do we fix the issue of cost? Well a simple start is we tax people who can afford to be taxed. By establishing an economic system that taxes the rich more than the poor. With this method we would be able to share the wealth of the nation for the benefit of all citizens. Some Americans would argue that they should not have to share their wealth with others because they were the only ones who earned it. We need to change our mindset and hold our government accountable for sharing our taxes for the benefit of everyone. The notion that we should not share for healthcare is absurdly selfish. As humans, it is our responsibility to take care of one another. From the beginnings of civilization we have had to rely on a group to survive. We must continue to rely on each other for support, as we never know when we will be the ones who need help. However, there is something to be said for the general health of our nation and why people would not want to pay for others maladies.

The United States is a very sick nation. It is estimated that 76 million people in the United States get sick and more than 300,000 are hospitalized annually (News Medical). That information doesn’t consider what got us to such a point.

“Our health depends on much more than just medical care. Behaviors such as diet, physical activity, and even how fast we drive all have profound effects. So do the environments that expose us to health risks or discourage healthy living, as well as social determinants of health, such as education, income, and poverty.” (Aron) This article suggests that our lifestyles cause us to have such a dramatic need for health care. As a nation we need to support each other in our health, that includes healthy living. For a start on making living healthy in America easier, we need to support local food. It contains less unhealthy chemical and preservatives. Second, we need to make activity part of our social structure. Instead of going to a bar for drinks with friends, we need to go out for a walk to enjoy each others company. We must support school gym classes and make our outdoor environments more friendly to people, meaning we need more bike lanes and sidewalks. If we expect the wealthy to assist the poor, we need to make it less expensive by changing out lifestyle.

As we look to the future, we need to find a solution to this national problem. As it is with many things, money is a key component to fixing this. By increasing the tax percentage on the wealthy we can begin to make changes in our society. With money we can help fund programs that make us healthier such as, assistance with stopping smoking, spending more on local food, improving our sidewalks and bike lanes, and not advertising fast food on television. Those are few things we can to to begin to make societal changes. With these new changes, it is much more conceivable that people will be more willing to help others. Who wants to help someone who isn’t trying to help themselves? Finally and most difficult, we need to be more united for the improvement of each other. We are not a united nation, we are very divided by our differences and that makes us weaker as a nation. Together, we can support each others healthy lives and continue to improve ourselves and our country.

Works cited and Annotated Bibliography

“76 Million People Get Sick in US, 300,000 Are Hospitalized, and 5,000 Die from Foodborne Illness.” News-Medical.net. N.p., 13 May 2009. Web. 07 June 2017. This was an article that really helped draw some facts together for why our nation is so sick. It takes facts from many places and explains why we so frequently need medical care. This was very relevant to my essay as I was discussing why we are sick as a nation.

Universal Health Care in the US. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 June 2017. This article contained many basic health care facts about the US health care system. It helped me to grasp the sheer grandness of the issue of health.

“Health Care Statistics in the United States.” HealthPAC RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 June 2017.

Aron, Laudan. “If You’re an American, You’re Sicker Than You Should Be.” Slate Magazine. N.p., 21 July 2013. Web. 07 June 2017. This article brought a hard to deal with topic, and made it easy to understand. It talked about the american lifestyle and why it made universal health care so difficult




One comment

  1. Hi Rae,
    Thanks for sharing your ideas on Universal Healthcare as it is certainly an important discussion in the U.S right now. I will admit, for many years I was in favor of a Universal Healthcare program. I too always thought, “Wow, what a great idea.” in theory but I never really took the time to understand how it would work, how it could work and if it would indeed be in everyone’s best interest. It wasn’t until last year, when I really started to think about the logistics of it and started to become more and more influenced by the conservative/republican parties who were not in favor of this type of program. Now, I’ll be honest I still do not have enough knowledge on this topic but I am one of those people who doesn’t see how this could work! Which, I think is what made your essay so great to read. Sometimes, when one (especially) for this type of informative/argument/proposal essay.. it can help to have someone who may disagree with your topic read it. I think you did a great job of explaining why you believe what you do, you provided a clear solution to help with the problem and you backed both of those up with sources that were solid. Thanks for sharing your view and writing a great paper that you could feel your passion for.
    Have a great summer! Best of luck to you in your school endeavors!

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