The Instigator
Pro (for)
13 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

The United States ought to guarantee universal healthcare for it citizens

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Post Voting Period
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after 4 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/19/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,966 times Debate No: 27376
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (15)
Votes (4)




The first round is acceptance

However the following constraints should be accepted for the round as to prevent the argument from devolving into a topicality debate.

The United States:The federal government of the United States of America
Ought: Moral obligation
Universal Health Care: referring to the single payer system

Additional one may not simply post a URL as their argument, if one wishes to make an argument then one should provide a claim, warrant, and impact. Simply posting URLs and telling one to read its arguments is unacceptable.


Hi, thank you for this opportunity to debate. This is my first debate, so please be patient with me, as I most certainly will make some mistakes with formalities and the debate system. However, I have been looking at other debates on this site for a while now, so hopefully this shall go relatively smooth. I eagerly await your response.
Debate Round No. 1


C1. The State must provide HC
It is a part of its obligation to protect citizens, Gary E. Jones, professor of Philosophy explains,
"the proper function of the State is to provide basic protection to its citizens (then) there seems to be a basis for the right to at least minimal health care. At the national level, the State is charged with the protection of the national citizenry. In so far as this refers to the citizenry taken as individuals, it would seem that the State has an obligation to protect individuals from threats to life. At local level, the existence of publicly funded protective services suggests that at least health care for imminent threats to life from illness or accident should be publicly funded. It is flatly inconsistent to publicly fund protection by police and fire agencies of not only life but trivial forms of property, and yet place medical treatment in emergency cases on a fee for service basis. Consideration of either level of government shows that some governmental responsibility for health care is indicated."
As it is generally agreed that the state has an obligation to protect its citizens from substantial threats to life and it has been agreed upon that this encompasses police force and firefighters it would rightly follow that this too must encompass health care, if lack thereof is deemed a substantial threat to life in the country.
C2. Our Current System is Bad
" The WHOs data bank provides a reasonably accurate accounting of the health status of member countries. How does the American health system measure up? Life expectancy is a place to begin. American men can expect to live seventy-five years and American women eighty years. Those figures tie for twenty-ninth and thirtieth in the world. Infant mortality in the US ranks thirty-third in the world. Maternal mortality rates are not much better; the US is ranked thirtieth. Canada, with the so-called horrendous health system, loses 5 mothers per 1,000 live births. Select almost any of the parameters studied by the WHO and the US system falls short in almost every single category: cancer-related deaths (ninety-ninth), deaths from heart disease (twenty-sixth), childhood deaths from pneumonia (twenty-fourth), mortality rates from traumatic injuries (fifty-seventh) These figures are unsettling,"
The United States ranks poorly in relation to the rest of the industrialized world (on a side note the United States is the only industrialized nation in the world to not have universal healthcare and to view access to healthcare as a commodity)

Handler, a Medical Professor explains,
"The health-care delivery system in America is indefensible. $2 trillion fuels the system, some 16 percent of our national productivity. If we were all covered, that"s more than $6,500 per person. About 40 percent of us can"t afford the care we are told we need, either because we are inadequately insured or payments out of pocket would bankrupt us. Medical bills broke the back of over 40 percent who declare bankruptcy, this sorry state continues to deteriorate. Clearly the cause is not a lack of money. Every other resource-advantaged country indemnifies their entire population with less, usually far less, than half we expend " and with better national health statistics"
The United States is currently spending more than any other country yet trails in multiple health indicators.
c.Approximately 100,000 people die annually in the U.S. due to lack of universal healthcare. A study done by Boyd in 2012 explains,

"of the 19 industrialized nations studied, the United States came in dead last , Researchers tracked deaths that could have been prevented by access to timely and effective health care, They estimated 101,000 people die prematurely in the United States each year because of lack of timely access to medical care.. Almost 50 million Americans lack insurance, and in a private health care system like ours, that means they also lack access to effective and appropriate care. The fact that other countries are reducing these preventable deaths more rapidly, yet spending far less, indicates that policy, goals and efforts to improve health systems make a difference.
As shown in Subpoint a, the United States ranks poorly in regard to health indicators, as shown by subpoint b the United States spends more, now as shown by subpoint c many people are dying as a result.

d.NUMBER OF UNINSURED AMERICANS CONTINUES TO GROW " UNIQUE AMONG DEVELOPED COUNTRIES. Derickson, professor of Labor relations at Penn States explains,
"Since 1980, the number of uninsured Americans, the vast majority of whom are members of working families has risen. The revelation that the ranks of the uninsured swelled from 33 million in 1983, a year of severe recession, to 37 million in 1986, a year of buoyant recovery, underscored both the immensity of the problem and the degree to which this problem afflicted the employed as well as the unemployed. Canada, France, Germany, Italy, every other country in the civilized world provides its citizens with the dignity of accessing health care without having to beg for it."
The United States" problem is only getting worse

C3. Universal Health Care is good
a.Health is a prerequisite to achieving ends and exercising rights, Hurley explains,
"Health is ethically good to the extent that it contributes to the realization of the ultimate end sought-happiness, capabilities and functionings, fulfillment of a rational life plan, health is often accorded special ethical significance because it is necessary to achieving most intermediate and ultimate ends. Ill health represents a time of considerable vulnerability and dependency on others, giving society's response to those who suffer illness and injury particular ethical salience. "
When one is unhealthy one is impeded from achieving their own ends and pursuing happiness. When one is ill, liberty and responsibility quickly turn to dependency therefore health is necessary to achieve most ends while retaining independence.

"Major advantages from universal or near-universal coverage of the population accrue to virtually everyone. In regard to efficiency, these include more accessible preventive care, lower inappropriate use of emergency rooms (which operate as providers of last resort for the uninsured), freedom from financial and care-giving burdens placed on others by the uninsured, and lower absenteeism and more reliable productivity from a workforce that can access basic health services. In regard to justice, these advantages include the presence of well and ill alike in a common pool for sharing the costs of care, so that no one finds fair equality of opportunity in life blocked by the direct expense of illness or insurance. This avoids situations where people fail to pay into insurance pools because they believe they are well enough not to need insurance, only to have to be bailed out by others who end up providing them significant care."
Universal healthcare would be beneficial to everyone

c.Upholding life is the ultimate moral standard. Rasmussen a Professor of Philosophy at Bellarmine and St. John's explains,
"the ultimate end as the standard by which all other ends are evaluated. Life as the sort of thing a living entity is, then, is the ultimate standard of value, and since only human beings are capable of choosing their ends, it is the life as a human being-man's life qua man-that is the standard for moral evaluation. "
Therefore because life is the ultimate moral standard, and universal healthcare upholds life, then Universal healthcare is indeed a moral obligation of the government to guarantee.
I urge an affirmative ballot.


Response to C1:

It seems to me that you are quoting Professors, and then summarizing their views in a few short sentence after doing so. It is your job to be providing reasoning, not quotes.

The United States of America has a Constitution, by which everyone with the boundaries of the US s forced to abide. Our Constitution lists the specific job of the legislative branch of government, and then adds in an amendment that anything not specifically listed as a job of the national government is a ob for the states; with the consent of the people.
[1] ( (Article I, Section 8)
[2] ( (Amendment X)

Healthcare/medical aid is not listed anywhere as a job for the federal government. Because our Constitution prohibits the federal government from doing anything it is no explicitly permitted to do, the federal government cannot provide healthcare.

Response to C2:
Your whole argument is that federal healthcare could do better than completely privatized or state-run systems, because other countries that are better than us use a federal system. I would like to point out that our current system is heavily flawed, due to government regulations on jobs; specifically doctors. If doctors could be judged by consumers, instead of his behind the government's overbearing wall, then healthcare would be cheaper, and also more reliable.

Do you realize how small an amount $6500 is? That will barely cover a mostly healthy person for a year. Cancer patients would have no hope. With that little money, people would be forced to provide self care, only visiting the doctor when death is near-certain.

You expect universal healthcare to solve all problems. What about the people who smoke? They are still killing themselves; healthcare would not fix the root cause. What about people who go around having sex all the time? We would be paying for their birth-control, and then still having to watch as STDs increased in number. What about the people who eat McDonald’s or fried food everyday? We are still having to pay for their bypasses. Giving people universal healthcare will not magically fix their problems which make them unhealthy, it will only discourage being healthy. If I can eat junk food and go have sex all the time, and know that everyone else is going to pay for my medical are, then by all means (religion aside) I would go do it!

Finally for this section, you said that giving people universal healthcare will stop bankruptcy. Really? People still have to pay for their healthcare one way or another. If one person isn't paying, then another one has to pick up the slack. If someone is out of work, then they still cannot pay for their healthcare, the will just get it for free. Eventually, the wealthier and healthier people will quit paying into the system, because they will be supporting everyone else.

Response to C3:
Again, all you are doing is quoting Professors. his is rather irritating, as I am not debating with them, but with you.

"You" say that people must be healthy in order to enjoy their rights, because being unhealthy requires dependency on others. How will receiving healthcare from the government make you any less dependent on a hospital doctor than private insurance? Not only are you dependent on any doctors, you are also dependent on the government, as well as every single other citizen! If you get sick, then you are sick. Making healthcare universal will not just magically fix that. The only thing universal healthcare would do is provide a guaranteed source of payment for the medical bills, to an extent.

It is then stated that people who get universal healthcare will be more inclined to work harder. How does that work? If I say that you will get something no matter how hard you work, then you won't work very hard, if at all.

You then say that there will be an even mix of well and ill people n the "pool." Again, how does that work? Can you predict how many people will get sick, and what their disease will be? Medicines and treatments can cost from a few dollars to a few hundred thousand dollars. Money would have to be in abundance to allow for the care of anyone with cancer, or anyone requiring a major surgery.

You also claim that universal insurance would fix the "problem" of having to pay for insurance. People have to buy the insurance, whether it is through a private company or via taxes. Like insurance as it is currently, if you get sick, the payments (taxes) will have to go up to account for the expenses. The only difference is that everyone has to pay more because a single person gets sick.

Some people naturally have stronger immune systems. They get sick less often, and therefore would require less medical care, as well as less sick days from work. Why would they keep working to pay for someone else's healthcare, when they don't get any money back?

Your actual point for your entire "b" point is that "Universal healthcare would be beneficial to everyone." The only evidence you provide is, yet again, a quote. That is quite inadequate.

I will not waste time in replying to point "c," because that is a purely philosophical statement, which you claim is true, because Prof. So-and-So said it. If you wish to bring philosophy and religion into this, I would be delighted to do so, with more wide-known sources than your professors.


Do you agree with Obamacare?

Do you agree with Socialism?

Do you agree with Communism (Totalitarian)?

Do you agree with Social Democracy?

Do you agree with a free-market economic system?

Do you believe that philosophy/religion should be brought into politics?

Do you agree with the US Constitution?

How would universal healthcare be paid for?

Would universal healthcare be provided in an "account" for each individual, or would it be distributed from a pool to those who had need?

For your next argument, please formulate some real points, instead of quoting and agreeing with others. As the Pro, it is your job to prove that the US should offer federal universal healthcare. If you would like to use statistics, please find some that are not contained within a quote, and please use sources for citations.


Debate Round No. 2


Contention 1- The State must provide HC

Turn his argument against him, I do agree with the fact that the United States has a Constitution, however this works in the affirmatives favor, "The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States" (Article 1, Section 8) SCOTUS affirmed the fact that it is within the government's constitutional powers to tax people in order to provide healthcare. As a single payer tax system would be funded by taxes, which are within the power of the Federal government, and as it would provide for the 'explicitly stated' general welfare, it is within the fed's power and his argument falls.

Extend the Jones card explaining that the State must protect its citizens from threats to life and points out the inconstancy by stating “It is flatly inconsistent to publicly fund protection by police and fire agencies of not only life but trivial forms of property, and yet place medical treatment in emergency cases on a fee for service basis" He did not respond to these points.

Contention 2

a.The US TRAILS IN MULTIPLE HEALTH INDICATORS-My opponent makes the claim that our system is flawed due the government intervention. As it was previously agreed upon that all claims must have warrants, which he has failed to provide, his point is moot. Moreover extend the Lobowsky card analyzing the WHO's (World Health Organization) study. This study clearly shows that the United States’ current system is detrimental to its citizens and that the countries that have the best health indicators have Universal Health Care and my opponent has not provided any actual warrants to show otherwise.

b. US HEALTH SYSTEM BROKEN, SPENDS MORE FOR A LOT LESS-My opponent misinterprets this point, Handler rather explains the fact that the United States is spending more per person than any other country currently but our results are a lot worse. Universal Health care systems are cheaper than our current system (Handler and AMSA) and result in better health indicators therefore his point is moot. His point in regard to the cancer patient is moot as as UHC provides for comprehensive preventative care therefore cancer patients are going to be identified in stage one as opposed to stage four and therefore more likely to survive which is shown by the better health indicators in the WHO study provided in subpoint a.

c.Approximately 100,000 people die prematurely annually due to no healthcare-Con brings up the point of lifestyle issues that UHC doesn’t solve for. However, conceivably, all countries have people like that yet those countries still consistently outrank the US in regard to Health Indicators (WHO and Handler) and have significantly less preventable deaths (Boyd). He states that he doesn’t want to have to pay for these people, however turn that argument on him as according to the American Medical Student Association in regard to UHC, “each of these four options [referring to implementing UHC] would save money over 10 years. The first two options would save $320.5 billion over 10 years, the third option would save $369.8 billion over 10 years, and the fourth option would save $1.1 trillion over 10 years.” Meaning that the United States would be saving money. You can also just ignore con’s warrantless points.

d. Uninsured Americans continue to grow-con did not negate this so extend the Derickson evidence

Contention 3
a. Health is a prerequisite to achieving ends and exercising rights-Con brings up a good point in regard to dependency, however he doesn’t address the main point of it which was that health is a prerequisite to achieving ends and exercising rights therefore even if UHC resulted in more ‘dependence’ on the government, the end result, health results in more liberty, freedom, and being able to exercise your other rights because rights of no use when one is dead.

b. THE ADVANTAGES OF UNIVERSAL COVERAGE ACCRUE TO EVERYONE, NOT JUST THOSE WHO USE THEIR INSURANCE- Con posed a question, asking how people will be more efficient in the workforce when they know, regardless of their work, they will get healthcare. Well that is due to the fact, that because of the extensive preventative care, the workers will be more productive and there will be less absenteeism due to health care being available therefore the workers will be more reliable. Additionally I will pose a question back to you, is the only reason your parents and family work hard in their jobs is to get healthcare? Is that truthfully the sole driving force you believe people have to work? Regardless, con has not presented any actual warrant in this, as we had agreed upon, therefore his rebuttal can be ignored and you can extend the Murray evidence and see that UHC leads to advantages for the entire society.

Con makes the point that people will have to be responsible for the really sick person and pay more. However, due to the fact that UHC provides extensive preventative care, less people are getting sick. Kao-Ping Chua explains “Lack of preventive care and adequate care of chronic diseases: Because the uninsured do not get the preventive and chronic disease care they need, they are more likely to develop complications and advanced stage disease, both of which are expensive to treat.” As UHC provides this preventative care people aren’t going to be getting as sick in the first place and therefore they will be less expensive to treat. Additionally note the fact that Con still has yet to provide any warrents throught this entire debate.

Con notes that some people are naturally stronger and healthier ans so they shouldn't have to pay, however all that medical care would still be available for them because even the healthiest people get sick, additionally it still is beneficial for that person to have a healthy productive society, something that UHC results in therefore the healthy person still reaps the benefits of the system

c. Upholding life is the ultimate moral standard-Con states this is irrelevant because it’s about philosophy, however I explicitly stated in the opening round that we are talking about moral obligations of the government therefore this is entirely topical. As he did not respond to this extend the Rasmussen evidence and we, knowing that affirming upholds life better, can affirm the resolution on this point alone. Do not allow Con to make new arguments in regard to this next round as that does not allow me to respond to them as he could have very well made the argument last round.

  1. Aspects of it, not its entirety
  2. No, and single payer system is not socialized medicine, see
  3. No, also a State with UHC is not communistic, look to almost every other industrialized nation in the world, they have UHC but are not communistic.
  4. Don’t know much about it
  5. Health care and k-12 education should be run by the state, aside from that sure
  6. The resolution was phrased as ought defined as moral obligation, so yes for this resolution
  7. Sure, but remember that the constitution has been and will continue to be amended
  8. Taxes
  9. Single Payer System


My opponent has not provided any actual warrants throughout any of his rebuttals, not a single citation nor source, as we agreed upon at the beginning.

I followed the outline I proposed which was claim, warrant, and impact where it applied.

I have shown the fact that it is a part of the State’s obligation to provide HC through my Jones evidence and even Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution. Then I showed clearly that the US trailed in regard to health indicators compared to other countries, in our current system, is spending far more, 100,000 people are dying prematurely every year due to lack of UHC, and that the problem is getting worse. Then I showed that HC is a prerequisite to achieving ends and exercising rights, that UHC is beneficial to everyone, not just those who require medical care, and the state’s ultimate goal is to preserve life.

Affirm :)



As my opponent has graciously and kindly pointed out, I have made a series of errors which cannot be corrected at this point in the debate. I sincerely apologize for my lack of skill, for with a proper contender, this would have been a most interesting debate. I would like to thank my opponent for this opportunity, and I hope I will learn enough to be able to try again soon.
Debate Round No. 3
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Wishing4Winter 5 years ago
@RoyLatham, I would respond to your assertions however I am not going to debate in the comment section, if you would like to debate then please challenge me to one and I will be happy to oblige.

On a side note I do not agree with the ideology that I expressed throughout the round, I just firmly believe that one should understand all sides of an issue if one is to have an opinion on it. I don't actually support universal healthcare therefore I thought it would be beneficial for me to argue against it so that I could more fully understand both sides.
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
The World Health Organization rates health care systems based upon political correctness, not effectiveness. Suppose a country has one doctor, one hospital bed, and one x-ray machine, but access those resources is completely free and unlimited. That gets about two-third of the WHO score, even though almost no medical care is actually provided to citizens.

Overall, 80% of health is due to lifestyle.

US scores for health care effectiveness, for example life expectancy, is dramatically lowered by traffic accidents, drug overdoses, gang violence, and suicides. All of those are problems, but they are not health care problems. On matters of actual health, the US system is the most effective in the world. East Asian women living in New Jersey have a longer life expectancy than those in Asia.

Prices are determined by supply and demand. Increasing demand raises the price. Price controls are then imposed to limit supply, with the result that quality of care drops.

The general welfare clause can be used to justify any government actin whatsoever. If the government thinks that we would all be better off dressing in uniforms and marching to work while singing an anthem glorifying the regime, why then the Constitution allows it. No, "general welfare" was an introductory expression of purpose, not a blanket permission. The existence of the enumerated powers proves that it was not intended to authorize the government to do anything it wanted.

The moral argument that the government is obligated to take care of every need of it's citizens is pathetic. One flaw is that it mandates an authoritarian state that can in fact provide very little.

Con didn't argue very well, but it was a first debate. He should keep at it.
Posted by Wishing4Winter 5 years ago
This debate is not about Obamacare, Obamacare is neither universal health care not a single payer system.
Posted by Paramedic268 5 years ago
Your debate was solid, it comes down to the fact I don't believe in socialized medicine. I will be the first to admit the system is broke, but to try to overhaul this system in 18 months is crazy. To jam it down the throats of Americans is wrong. When Pelosi made the comment that we have to pass the bill to see whats in it really? Sorry, it is wrong and a really bad policy.
Posted by Wishing4Winter 5 years ago
Paramedic268, how do you then recommend that I improve? (as it was also my first debate on this site)
Posted by Paramedic268 5 years ago
I liked Con's presentation, for a first time debate. Plus I agree with his position...sorry pro, good thing is I can't vote yet...
Posted by larztheloser 5 years ago
Pro had BOP. Their case was highly assertive at first, and primarily consisted of a number of direct quotations from other sources (without acknowledging where those came from). Pro mostly sought to prove an obligation with this case. Con did a pretty good job of challenging many of the assumptions that underpinned pro's arguments, without running a counter-model themselves (good move). It would have been better, however, to see con analyse what the impact was of some of these assumptions not holding true on the resolution. Con also should not avoid an argument because they do not think it inside the scope of the debate. Pro's responses to con's case were sometimes much better and more detailed, and sometimes amounted to little more than onus-pushing. Two specific points here. First, pro had the burden of proof - if con questions an assumption in pro's case, pro has to prove it, not push the onus back on con. Second, at least where I come from, the logic con used would have been enough of a warrant. Con might have had a very good chance of winning had they not effectively surrendered in the final round. Good job con on a great first debate, well done to pro, and I hope to debate either of you some time soon! Message me for more specific comments.
Posted by Wishing4Winter 5 years ago
I know, this would indeed make an atrocious LD case, however I did not believe, based on looking through other debates, that people typically do LD style debates on this page. Therefore I did not make a case with a Value and weighing mechanism that linked all the contentions together, instead I just did some standard pieces of evidence. I've never debated on this website before so I sought to make a standard case not an LD specific one.
Posted by Zaradi 5 years ago
In that case, I'd advise finding a partner a soon as possible, since your arguments are structured like a decent policy case, but a horrible LD case.

I do LD.
Posted by Wishing4Winter 5 years ago
Zaradi, no, I've never done policy. I would like to try policy at some point, but currently there is no partner available on our team. I do LD, what about you?
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by GorefordMaximillion 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: This could be debated again easily though
Vote Placed by iamnotwhoiam 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con's question "Do you agree with Communism?" made me laugh. I try not to have a stereotypical view of Americans, but here was a stereotype being reinforced. Con's contention that philosophy is irrelevant to politics is just naive. Con's refutation of universal healthcare is that it encourages people to be unhealthy. This is ridiculous. Pro presents several arguments that are not rebutted. Both could have done better with sources. Con gives up the debate in round 3. Conduct to Pro.
Vote Placed by thett3 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con conceded
Vote Placed by larztheloser 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: See comments