The Instigator
USMCgal625
Con (against)
Losing
15 Points
The Contender
zakkuchan
Pro (for)
Winning
27 Points

Universal Healthcare be provided to all American citizens

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/3/2008 Category: Health
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,098 times Debate No: 1321
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (13)
Votes (14)

 

USMCgal625

Con

Quick, try to think of one government office that runs efficiently. The Department of Transportation? Social Security Administration? Department of Education? There isn't a single government department that squeezes efficiency out of every dollar the way a private sector can. We've all heard stories of the government's waste of millions of dollars on frivilous concerns such as the million dollar cow flatulence study or the Pentagon's 14 billion dollar Bradley design project that resulted in a vehicle which when hit by a mortar produced a gas that killed every man inside. Think about the Department of Motor Vehicles. This isn't rocket science-- they have to keep track of licenses and basic database information for residents. However, the costs that support the department are enormous, and when was the last time you went to the DMV and didn't have to stand in a long line only to find out that ur problem couldn't be solved? If the government can't efficiently run a service this simple, how is it going to efficiently provide healthcare for all US citizens? (information taken from balancedpolitics.com)
zakkuchan

Pro

Seeing as how we have 4 rounds in this debate, I'm going to state my case in a simplistic manner, and I'll go back later to elaborate on any points that cause confusion.

There are a lot of problems with the healthcare system that the United States currently has. Insurance companies make money off of not providing care, and 31 cents of every dollar that goes into healthcare goes into the maintenance of these corporations, rather than to the actual healthcare. These problems are cleaarly directly related to the free-market economy's control over healthcare; these are multi-billion dollar corporations operating in the free-market economy, and they are clearly where the problems in healthcare are coming from. In short, the free market is to blame for a good deal of the healthcare woes of the American system, so the only logical alternative is to take the system out of the hands of the free market, and into the hands of the government, where it can be strictly regulated to reduce problems.

As I understand it, most of my opponent's claim is based upon the current inefficiency of government-run programs in the United States. I would certainly not argue with the fact that many of the government programs we have in the United States right now are overly bureaucratic and slow-moving. But this has no bearing on what a government-run healthcare system would be like. To say that the fact that some government institutions today are inefficient means that government-run healthcare would be inefficient, is like saying that because it rains on some days one can assume that it will rain tomorrow. This is clearly a logical fallacy.
Debate Round No. 1
USMCgal625

Con

Don't be so quick to assume that the only basis for my argument is what I said in round 1. Remember there are four rounds to this one. So I am going to state a few more points and feel free to retort them. I can provide credentials upon request.

"Free" health care isn't really free since we must pay for it with taxes; expenses for health care would have to be paid for with higher taxes or spending cuts in other areas such as defense, education, etc. There's an entitlement mentality in this country that believes the government should give us a number of benefits such as "free" health care. But the government must pay for this somehow. What good would it do to wipe out a few hundred dollars of monthly health insurance premiums if our taxes go up by that much or more? If we have to cut AIDS research or education spending, is it worth it?

Profit motives, competition, and individual ingenuity have always led to greater cost control and effectiveness. Government workers have fewer incentives to do well. They have a set hourly schedule, cost-of-living raises, and few promotion opportunities. Compare this to private sector workers who can receive large raises, earn promotions, and work overtime. Government workers have iron-clad job security; private sector workers must always worry about keeping their jobs, and private businesses must always worry about cutting costs enough to survive.

Government-controlled health care would lead to a decrease in patient flexibility. At first glance, it would appear universal health care would increase flexibility. After all, if government paid for everything under one plan, you could in theory go to any doctor. However, some controls are going to have to be put in to keep costs from exploding. For example, would "elective" surgeries such as breast implants, wart removal, hair restoration, and lasik eye surgery be covered? Then you may say, that's easy, make patients pay for elective surgery. Although some procedures are obviously not needed, who decides what is elective and what is required? What about a breast reduction for back problems? What about a hysterectomy for fibroid problems? What about a nose job to fix a septum problem caused in an accident? Whenever you have government control of something, you have one item added to the equation that will most definitely screw things up--politics. Suddenly, every medical procedure and situation is going to come down to a political battle. The compromises that result will put in controls that limit patient options. The universal system in Canada forces patients to wait over 6 months for a routine pap smear. Canada residents will often go to the U.S. or offer additional money to get their health care needs taken care of.
zakkuchan

Pro

The three points of your last argument seem to be the primary problems most people have with the idea of government-run healthcare, so I'm glad you brought them up.

1)On the claim that government-run healthcare would require a tax increase: This is not necessarily true. We're spending billions and billions of dollars unnecessarily on things such as the Iraq war, and as you said yourself in your first statement, there are a number of frivolous government expenditures that could easily be cut back. If we were to cut back on such unnecessary expenses, it could *easily* cover the cost of a government health care system. And even if it *did* require a tax increase, which I admit is possible, that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, because it would mean replacing the cost of insurance payments and out-of-pocket medical expenses with a progressive tax plan, which would be much better for the vast majority of Americans.

2)On the claim that the free market handles healthcare more cost-effectively than the government would: Right now, almost a third of all healthcare spending in the United States goes straight into corporate profit and executive salaries for health insurance companies. In a non-profit, government-run system, there would be none of this to pay for. In other words, a third of the total cost of healthcare in the United States right now would be completely eliminated through the transition to a government-run healthcare system, thus making the system a full third cheaper, and beating the free market at its own game.

3)On the claim that government-run healthcare would require rationing of care: ANY healthcare system requires rationing of care. Under the current free-market system, everyone who cannot afford health insurance or out-of-pocket medical expenses, or who the health insurance companies can effectively deny care for, are *completely* excluded from *all* healthcare. Under a government-run system, the necessary rationing of healthcare would happen on the basis of the necessity of the procedure, rather than on the basis of the patient's ability to pay - this is a MUCH better system.
Debate Round No. 2
USMCgal625

Con

1) The Senate voted in 2007 to discontinue a number of government organizations that have added onto the already dismal economy and guess what. They voted to not discontinue any of them, so your arguement, while sensible, is unrealistic with our current government.*

2) You said that the government-run healthcare system would be non-profit. This is again unrealistic, because an average of 45% of donations to non-profit organizations goes to funding basic costs, and believe it or not, salaries of workers. **

3) This claim is completely false. Hospitals are required to treat every patient, regardless of their financial status. So they are definitely not excluded.

here are three new points...

1)Patients aren't likely to curb their drug costs and doctor visits if health care is free; thus, total costs will be several times what they are now. Co-pays and deductibles were put in place because there are medical problems that are more minor annoyances than anything else. Sure, it would be nice if we had the medical staff and resources to treat every ache and pain experienced by an American, but we don't. For example, what if a patient is having trouble sleeping? What if a patient has a minor cold, flu, or headache? There are scores of problems that we wouldn't go to a doctor to solve if he had to pay for it; however, if everything is free, why not go? The result is that doctors must spend more time on non-critical care, and the patients that really need immediate help must wait. In fact, for a number of problems, it's better if no medical care is given whatsoever. The body's immune system is designed to fight off infections and other illnesses. It becomes stronger when it can fight things off on its own. Treating the symptoms can prolong the underlying problem, in addition to the societal side effects such as the growing antibiotic resistance of certain infections.***

2) Government-mandated procedures will likely reduce doctor flexibility and lead to poor patient care. When government controls things, politics always seep into the decision-making. Steps will have to be taken to keep costs under control. Rules will be put in place as to when doctors can perform certain expensive tests or when drugs can be given. Insurance companies are already tying the hands of doctors somewhat. Government influence will only make things worse, leading to decreased doctor flexibility and poor patient care.****

3) Healthy people who take care of themselves will have to pay for the burden of those who smoke, are obese, etc. Universal health care means the costs will be spread to all Americans, regardless of your health or your need for medical care, which is fundamentally unfair. Your health is greatly determined by your lifestyle. Those who exercise, eat right, don't smoke, don't drink, etc. have far fewer health problems than the smoking couch potatoes. Some healthy people don't even feel the need for health insurance since they never go to the doctor. Why should we punish those that live a healthy lifestyle and reward the ones who don't?****

* www.usc.edu/econdept/healthcare
**www.balancedpolitics.org
***www.universityofchicago.edu/levitt/essay4
****www.usatoday.com/health
zakkuchan

Pro

To begin, I'm glad that you're finally giving credit where it is due, to the places that you're taking your arguments word-for-word from. Your first two cases were blatant plagiarism, and I'm glad you've decided to cite your sources from here on out.

1) Again, you're relying on the logical fallacy that because the government has sometimes performed poorly in the past, one can assume that it will perform poorly in this particular case. As I pointed out before, this is inherently flawed logic. There's nothing stopping the government from cutting back on programs; just because they failed to do so in 2007 does not mean that they would fail to do so again.

2) You're basing this off of private non-profits, that operate outside of the government as charities. That's not at all what we're talking about here. A private non-profit is like the Red Cross; a government non-profit is like the education system. The point I was making here is that a full third of ALL medical expenses go into corporate profit and executive salaries - this is not counting the maintenance costs and employee pay that would still be there under a government non-profit system. This third of the expenses would be completely, 100% eliminated, and replaced with *nothing* because there would be no executive salaries or corporate profit.

3) Hospitals do not treat all patients, regardless of ability to pay. If you've ever been to the emergency room, you'll know that there is always a discussion about the patient's ability to pay. There are horror stories of hospitals refusing care, and even paying taxi cabs to dump people without insurance or the ability to pay out-of-pocket in front of homeless shelters. Besides, there's a lot more to the healthcare industry than hospitals. What about private doctor's clinics? They are by no means required to treat anyone, and they will not treat anyone who cannot pay them, through their insurance or out-of-pocket. What about prescription drugs? Those have to be paid for, by insurance or out-of-pocket, before you can have them. The fact of the matter is that people who do not have the ability to pay for healthcare are excluded from healthcare. And, as I said, it makes much more sense to base exclusion on the necessity of the procedure than on the patient's ability to pay, and that's the way it would be under a government-run system.

Onto your new points:

1) On the claim that people would seek medical care for unnecessary things: As you said yourself (in your third point in your Round 2 case), under a government-run system, the government would have regulations against procedures deemed unnecessary. You're completely contradicting yourself here; you complain about the government excluding people from unnecessary procedures, and then proceed to complain about people getting unnecessary procedures.

2) On the claim that it would reduce doctor flexibility: As it is now, doctor flexibility is reduced by insurance companies, which are a whole lot less predictable than set government standards would be. These days, a doctor never knows if they should go through with a procedure, because there's no knowing if the patient's insurance will suddenly throw a curveball and deny payment, leaving the patient to pay out-of-pocket, leaving the doctor unpaid until the patient can work out a way to pay, which can take some time. Under any system that's managed beyond the doctor level, be it by the insurance compaines or by the government, the doctors will never be 100% flexible and in control of what's happening. What we're talking about with universal healthcare is replacing an unpredictable set of restrictions with a predictable, concrete set of restrictions.

3) On the claim that costs would be spread to all Americans, regardless of heatlh: I cannot deny this claim; indeed, this is exactly the point. This is the fundamental basis behind any government program, from Welfare to Medicare to Social Security to the education system. People who don't have children still pay the extra taxes necessary to run an effective education system. So unless you're completely against all taxpayer-funded social programs, including education and social security, you cannot cite this as a reason to be against universal healthcare. And it's not about punishing or rewarding anyone. It's about showing some solidarity, as one nation and one people, and helping those who cannot help themselves in their time of need.
Debate Round No. 3
USMCgal625

Con

USMCgal625 forfeited this round.
zakkuchan

Pro

My opponent's account has been deleted, likely due to her plagiarism. She has thus not been able to post a final argument. I will use this final round to reiterate on the case I have made for universal, government-run healthcare. This will be a brief overview; you can find the more detailed reasoning behind these claims within my previous statements.

-The free market's control of healthcare is responsible for most of the current healthcare woes in America.
-The fact that the government has some programs that run inefficiently does not in any way mean that universal healthcare would be inefficient; this is a logical fallacy.
-Universal healthcare would not necessarily require a tax increase, because there are plenty of ways government spending can be reduced in other areas.
-Even if it did require a tax increase, a progressive tax is a much better way to pay for the system for the vast majority of Americans than the current system of premiums, co-pays, and deductibles.
-The government would run healthcare as a public non-profit, like the education system; this is much more cost-effective than the current system, under which 31 cents of each dollar spent goes to corporate profit and executive salaries.
-The rationing of care intrinsically necessary in any healthcare system would be decided based upon the necessity of the procedure, rather than the patient's ability to pay.
-Doctor flexibility would be managed by concrete, set government standards, rather than the current system of insurance conglomerates that are not subject to such set standards.
-Costs would be spread to all Americans, just like with other social programs like the education system and Social Security.

I feel I have sufficiently deconstructed my opponent's points, and extended my attacks into showing the overwhelming justification for universal, government run healthcare. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 4
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by zoe4 9 years ago
zoe4
And that was relating to the first comment about the problems industrialized nations with universal healthcare face.
Posted by zoe4 9 years ago
zoe4
Yes, but most of those problems are irrelevant to the system of health care the government uses.
Posted by Kady 9 years ago
Kady
I didn't vote I was just adding my two cents
Posted by zakkuchan 9 years ago
zakkuchan
And please, people, don't vote on this based upon your personal beliefs, or upon arguments that you can come up with. This is a debate, so the voting should be based upon whas has been debated. Reasoning that was not directly stated by either side should have no impact here.
Posted by zakkuchan 9 years ago
zakkuchan
Well, I know the VA hospital in my town is a very well-run and clean place. I wouldn't mind all our hospitals to be like that one. Furthermore, as I said on three occassions throughout the debate, without any refutation from my opponent, we cannot judge what the government would do in the future based off of what it sometimes does today and has done in the past. Also, there's no way Americans would allow government hospitals to be poorly run, just as public outrage has caused an overhaul of the VA hospitals.
Posted by Kady 9 years ago
Kady
A current day example government run health care would be the VA hospitals, now i don't know about you but would you want the entire US health are system run in that matter?
Posted by Conspicuous_Conservative 9 years ago
Conspicuous_Conservative
In a perfect world universal health care would work it is like a child asking their parents to buy them every toy at the store we will never be happy with what we have until it bankrupts the nation. Best quote is still, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK.
Posted by zakkuchan 9 years ago
zakkuchan
I very much enjoyed this debate. This is one of my strongest beliefs regarding the government and politics. I hope I have offered valuable insight into the justification for universal healthcare to those of you who have not heard these arguments. Thank you.
Posted by Rousseau 9 years ago
Rousseau
Well, I'm leaning towards Pro in this one. He actually is pretty persuasive. I've oddly enough never had a strong opinion on this subject and he is persuading me towards his side. All his points are clear and concise (which isn't to say that Con's aren't either, I just noticed in Pro's more), and I think he has debated very well. Also, generally the Instigator presents a case with a limited number of points and then the other side negates them. This helps the overall fairness of the debate. While i do not think this is neccecary, I think it should happen to at least some extent. I won't vote solely on it, but I would advise the Con to stick to her guns on several points, instead of picking up new ones as she goes along.
Posted by zakkuchan 9 years ago
zakkuchan
"Might be" being transliterated as "will be" is the logical fallacy I am speaking of.
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Vote Placed by Danielle 9 years ago
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USMCgal625zakkuchanTied
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