A perennial issue raised by Democrats is the idea that America’s health care system is ineffective, and that universal health coverage should be provided by the federal government.
In support of this idea, supporters of universal health care cite studies which state that the United States spends more on health care per capita than any other country, yet the healthcare system is less effective in terms of longevity of life of Americans. Although the claim about spending is true, criticisms of healthcare in the U.S. are largely unfounded.
One major flaw in the argument is that it fails to address outside factors in determining life expectancy aside from health care. Life as an American is simply more dangerous and exciting than other developed countries in terms of murder rate, fatal car accidents, and many other factors which cut average life expectancy short. Furthermore, the United States has high obesity and other health problems. Change in health care policy would be completely ineffective in solving these issues.
Another argument in favor of free universal health care is that every other developed nation has it, and it must therefore be desirable. However, even ignoring the logical fallacies of that argument, the argument fails to address the ways in which U.S. healthcare is superior to those developed nations. The most significant of these ways is that the healthcare in the United States is far more innovative than government provided care. As a result of competition in the market, most recent leaps and bounds in medical treatment have come from here. Much of the higher per capita cost of health care goes into research and development.
However, other countries with public care are able to profit off of our research. The ability to leech off of the successes of the United States camouflages many of the problems with the health care systems of other developed nations. If the U.S. were to adopt universal health care, the motivation to innovate and improve would no longer exist, and the entire world’s health care would suffer as a result.
The current health care system in this country is in many ways superior to any other in the world, and increased government control would only serve to stifle invention and create shortages of treatment.
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