The Instigator
conoscenza
Pro (for)
Losing
50 Points
The Contender
Kleptin
Con (against)
Winning
57 Points

Universal health care should be implemented in the United States

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/16/2009 Category: Health
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 5,555 times Debate No: 7861
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (17)

 

conoscenza

Pro

To start this debate, I would like to introduce a story that was shown in the L.A times.

In 2004, 14-year old Nataline Sarkisyan was diagnosed with leukemia. After an initial bone marrow transplant, her cancer relapsed again in 2007. in order to survive, she needed a liver transplant. Cigna, her health care company, refused to pay for the treatment, saying that it did not pay for treatment they considered experimental. When Cigna finally approved the treatment, it was too late, and Nataline died at the age of 17.

This story brings to mind a fundamental question: is the current health care system efficient?

The answer is no. Our current health care system is inefficient. In this debate, I will explain why, and I will also list the benefits of a universal health care system.

The main reason our health care system is inefficient and ineffective because of the cost of it and the quality of health care. The US spends a higher percentage of GDP on health care than any other country. Due to this, many people would expect that the US has a better system of health care than those other countries. However, this is also untrue. According to the Commonwealth Fund, the US has the worst ratings for the quality of care, the efficiency of care, the access to care, safe care, equity, and wait times.

In 2007, the US spent an average of $7,439 per person. France however, spent an average of about $3,000 per person. The US's expenditure is more than double France's.

The best solution for this crisis would be to implement a national single-payer system. This system is more commonly known as Universal Health care.

Some Americans believe that taxes will increase if universal health care is implemented. Already, 59% of the current health care system is financed by tax subsidies, federal and state taxes, and property taxes. Modest new taxes would replace premium payments paid by individuals and businesses. However, there is an equal chance for taxes to be raised without a single-payer health care system. This is because (according to the Congressional Budget Office and the General Accounting Office), the United States could insure everyone for the same money the United States is paying now. Also, even if taxes were raised, Americans would still save money because the health care would be completely free.

Additionally, the potential savings on paperwork reach up to $350 million dollars. This is enough to provide comprehensive coverage for everyone without paying more than we already have to.

Another reason for opposition is that if a single-payer health care system is implemented, then the government chooses your doctor for you and that you have no say in the matter at all. This is false. The Canadians, the French, and the British (all of which have single-payer health care systems) all pick their own doctors.

Overall, the current health care system is spectacularly expensive. Despite this, the quality of the health care is atrocious. A universal health care system would guarantee health care coverage for all at about the same cost. Also, with a universal health care system, the total spending by individuals would go down due to the fact that the health care is free.
Kleptin

Con

I thank my opponent for issuing this challenge and hope for an exciting and productive debate.

The issue that my opponent has brought up is Universal Health Care being implemented in the United States. Based on his argument, I am assuming that he suggests a form of Health Care available to everyone, for free, at any time.

I agree with my opponent on the point that Health Care needs to change, but not necessarily in the manner that he suggests.

It is a well known fact that although the American system of Managed Care is financially distressing in several aspects, there are significant flaws with the Canadian system. In general, the wait time for many procedures such as MRIs, are slower than care you would receive in the U.S. The red tape and bureaucracy still exist, just with a smaller price tag and less paperwork. Scheduled surgeries will run you much less, but they will keep you waiting a month in Canada when you need wait at most a week in the U.S. Of course, this does not count for emergency situations, but for many surgeries that are not life threatening, but can involve great deals of discomfort and pain, that involve taking leave from work. And when you're in pain, it makes the difference in price a little less worth it.

Another qualm I have with this system is that I am a capitalist, and I view Health Care to be a service, not a right. My opponent admits that there will probably be a tax increase, and since 33% of my paycheck already goes to give free healthcare to the poor, the disabled, and the old, I wonder what more will be taken from me to provide health care for people I don't feel like giving my hard earned money to.

I propose the following:

A government-centered management of Health care just like the Canadian system, with a reimbursement system. You choose your monthly rate and get to change it once a year. That rate indicates your non-emergency priority in terms of care, as well as your amount of reimbursement when health care is actually used. The higher your rate, the more you are compensated when you use health care.

Those who pay little to nothing should have to pay normal co-pays when they use health care. Those who pay moderate to high monthly payments should have little to no copay and better access to care.

This will help keep taxes down, eliminate wait times, and reduce the general cost of health care for all Americans, while still respecting the right of an American to not have to pay fees they do not want to pay.
Debate Round No. 1
conoscenza

Pro

I want to thank Kleptin for accepting this challenge and I want to thank him for responding.

Before I start debating, I must list my sources from the previous round as well as this round. My sources include:
http://wikipedia.org...
http://www.pnhp.org...

I want to start by addressing your argument that the wait times in places such as Canada are much longer than those in the US. I do not deny that this is true. However, in the wait times in the Canadian system are based on the clinical need. For example, if someone needed a liver transplant opposed to another person needing a vaccine to yellow fever, then the person with need of a liver transplant will wiat much less than the person needing the yellow fever vaccine. However, in the US, wait times are based on the ability of the patient to pay. From this, we can conclude that the basis of the wait times in the Canadian system are more ethical than the US's system due to the fact that it is based on the clinical need rather than the ability to pay.

As for your second argument, many studies have shown that a majority of taxpayers and citizens across the political divide would prefer a universal health care

As for your proposal, I disagree with the fact that the access to care is determined by your ability to pay. The ability to pay depends on the job that you acquire. The job that you acquire depends on your intelligence and your effort. Lets say you have to people. On is extremely intelligent, while the other one is not so much. The extremely intelligent works very hard, and ends up being a lawyer. The other one works just as hard, but ends up being a taxi driver. The taxi driver cannot affort to may more than the little monthly payments. Even though he worked just as hard, the taxi driver still has to pay normal co-pays.
Kleptin

Con

I thank my opponent for his response, and accept his late submission of sources in exchange for supplying a late submission of my own sources:

http://www.city-journal.org...
http://www.latimes.com...
http://www.nationalcenter.org...
http://www.svsu.edu... (just to illustrate opinions)
http://www.angelfire.com...
http://www.balancedpolitics.org...

My opponent's point about Canadian Healthcare was not unknown to me. As I have said before, you would not be kept waiting in an emergency situation, but you will wait longer for everything else than you would in America. In the system right now, if you decided to fork out a little extra cash, you can get the yellow fever vaccine whenever you want. If my opponent suggests that one has to wait, then my point is made.

My opponent also argues that the Canadian system is based on need rather than ability to pay, and thus, is more ethical. I find this absurd because the American system operates more quickly and ranks based on clinical need just like the Canadian system. The only difference is the price. Health care is a resource, one that needs to be shared. But it does not necessarily mean that everyone should get an equal share. When we pay for health care, it is a fair exchange regardless.

My opponent suggests that since the majority of people prefer Universal Health care, my argument is defeated. This is argumentum ad populum fallacy. I argue that the majority of people are ignorant, and that what they know to be true about universal health care is not enough. I doubt those who support it understand all the negative impacts that come with it.

My opponent argues that those who are less useful in society are that way simply because of bad luck, (I will replace my opponent's term "intelligence" with biology and environment and call it "luck) and that because of that, it entitles them to special treatment. I find this extremely unamerican and unfair to those who work hard. My opponent also commits false dichotomy in that he forgets that in his system, unlucky people who work hard to get rich will have to pay for unlucky people who decide to do nothing. The only fair way is for people to get exactly what they deserve. Being unlucky doesn't make you more deserving.

Children, the disabled, and the elderly should be given some aid though. I find no reason why a cab driver should be entitled to more than he deserves.

Something else I feel I must point out: Under a capitalistic system, more people will put money into the healthcare system, which as I have said before, is a resource and not a right. Healthcare can be saturated, it is a service and a commodity. People pay money to be educated, people put in hours and labor to supply the service. With less money to go around in the healthcare system, the poor reap all the benefits while the middle class is left footing the bill and keeping the system afloat (assuming that universal health care substitutes medicare and medicaid). The sheer number of poor people weighing down on the system makes the costs for the middle class not worth the taxes. The poor are the ones who need medical care the most anyway.

To put it simply, Universal health care is unfair, despite what the name may suggest.
Debate Round No. 2
conoscenza

Pro

Before debating, I want to thank my opponent. This debate has been very fun. May the best debater win.

I want to thank my opponent for posting his argument. My opponent believes that healthcare is a right, and not a service. Basically, he is saying that the right to live is a service, and not a right. This is because if you are uninsured, then you will not be able to receive vaccinations or any medical treatment if you get sick, which is necessary if you want to live. I find this very un-american and unethical. Everyone, no matter how "unlucky" they are, should have the right to live.

My opponent suggests that the majority of people in the United States are ignorant concerning healthcare. This may be. However, our government was founded on a democracy. People may be ignorant about many things. However, if the people vote for it, then it is the responsibility of the government to "make it happen", so to speak. Currently, over 66 percent of the American people want it.

Now, I want to quote two paragraphs from: http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com...

"Most insurance companies are for profit corporations and as such have a CEO, CFO, president, board of directors, salespersons, other employees, and shareholders to which dividends must be paid. Therefore the total amount of money any insurance company can payout is the total amount of insurance premiums collected, plus any income or loss made on the investment of those premiums, minus the salary of the CEO, minus the salary of the CFO, minus the salary of the President, minus the salary of board of directors, minus the salaries and bonuses of salespersons, minus the salaries of other employees, minus the dividends paid to shareholder.

This scenario works well for insuring just about everything except health care. In order to cover those large non-healthcare expenses, insurance companies must attempt to insure only healthy people thus denying many with preexisting conditions any coverage. They must deny as many surgeries and procedures they can get away with and they must deny many medications."

Basically, this means that insurance companies don't care about their customers. They care on only making profit. As a result, insurance companies deny as many surgeries and medications as possible. A strong and clear example of this is the story I narrated in the first round of this debate about Nataline Sarkisyan. There are many other examples of this. Using this, we can say that drastic change is needed in out healthcare system. We have tried PPO's and HMO's (Preferred Provider Organization and Health Maintenance Organizations), but they fail to reduce the cost and insure everyone. Our only other option is to implement universal healthcare.

Now, I want to express why we shouldn't we let people buy better health care if they can afford it. Whenever we allow the wealthy to buy better care, health care for the rest of us (middle class and lower) suffers. Programs for the poor become poor programs. For instance, because Medicaid doesn't serve the wealthy, the payment rates are low and many physicians refuse to see Medicaid patients. Advocates who say that medicaid should be improved are disregarded because the beneficiaries are not considered politically important. However, if the wealthy are forced to rely on the same health system as the poor, they will use their political power to assure that the health system is well funded.

http://www.pnhp.org...

I want to include why a universal healthcare system will benefit the government. With universal healthcare, the government will save an average of $400 billion per year. "$400 billion could be saved each year, enough to pay for a single payer system and to eliminate all co-pays and deductables," said Almberg, speaker behalf of the PNHP.

http://www.pww.org...

To end my round, I will provide a link which will lead you to a table comparing the costs of universal healthcare compared to the current healthcare system.
http://www.grahamazon.com...

I want to thank everyone who votes, and I want to thank my opponent for a very fun yet educational debate. Again, may the best debater win.
Kleptin

Con

I thank my opponent for what has been a very stimulating debate and hope to debate him again in the future.

First, a few direct responses to my opponent.

1. "I want to thank my opponent for posting his argument. My opponent believes that healthcare is a right, and not a service"

This is a reversal of what I have said. I believe that healthcare is a service, and not a right.

2. "Basically, he is saying that the right to live is a service, and not a right."

There is a great difference between the right to life and the right to health care. Life-threatening situations will, of course, not be glossed over. This is the right to life. However, no service should be given away for free, or have the potential to be abused by people who contribute nothing to the system. This is the protection of health care as a resource.

3. My opponent brings up evidence of how insurance companies hurt the health care system. I find this evidence superfluous because my proposal essentially merges all health insurances into one organization.

4. Vaccinations are separate from health care because widespread vaccination helps everyone. Also, as vaccinations have almost no potential for abuse, they will be provided for free.

5. The wealthy, if unpleased with medical care, will simply pay for private care or care outside the country. There is no good way to rely on the wealthy to fund healthcare except by allowing them to pay either high monthly payments or high copays.

6. The Canadian system only ranks #30 compared to the U.S. at #37 according to the World health organization

http://www.photius.com...

The Canadian system is also very much against third party insurance. The French system, however, ranks at #1 and DOES include a third party option that many take advantage of.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com...

In this manner, it more closely resembles the mechanism of funding that I propose.

To clarify my point:

In my proposal, all emergency care would be covered, but all out-patient expenses would require a copay that is based on how much we input per month.

The majority of prescription drugs today are long-term drugs for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity-related Type II Diabetes. All of these things are the result of (for the most part) poor lifestyle habits. I don't like the idea of poor, unemployed, undereducated Americans getting expensive prescription medication for free, just because they can't stop stuffing themselves full of food that they steal from the middle class using food stamps. That money will be spent sponsoring nutrition and exercise programs for them instead.

The best part about this system is that it is available to everyone, but does not automatically cover everyone. It gives people the freedom they want in matching their finances with their health care. My opponent's concern about the poor is unwarranted because a monthly payment of $30 ($1 a day) should cover enough such that the copay is not too high for poor people to pay. And since they receive food stamps anyway, there should not be a situation in which they must choose between food and medicine.

The copay system is also good in making sure that elective procedures and medications are well above and beyond the price which a non-contributor can afford. It is a waste of health care resources and will do nothing but drain money out of the pockets of the Middle class citizens who are holding up the poor.

While Universal Health care sounds very nice, and we are lead to believe that it will solve all of our problems, this is simply not the case. All countries adopting Universal Health care are implementing copays that are climbing higher and higher for middle class citizens with greater wait times because Health care resources are being sapped by the poor, who are taking advantage of health care that is free for them.

By offering a Capitalistic yet centralized system, we reap all the benefits of Universal health care while greatly decreasing the negative aspects, by locking out bottom-feeders who abuse the system. Understand that my opponent is proposing a system which places idealism over practicality. Life is a right, but health care is a service and a resource that cannot be partitioned out fairly unless it is regulated by cost.

I thank my opponent for this debate, and urge the audience to vote CON.
Debate Round No. 3
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Posted by conoscenza 8 years ago
conoscenza
No problem :)
Posted by ljmckeever1 8 years ago
ljmckeever1
I'm glad to see an American debate on universal health care :) it has always interested me to see how other countries feel a National Health Service would operate.

I live in the UK and we have the NHS here, I am on the fence as to whether we should have it, but more swaying towards not having it following a few personal incidents where the NHS has failed me despite the £400 a month me and my partner collectively pay in national insurance taxes. I am of the mind that I should be able to freely pay in to a private health care scheme for me and my family (we could be collectively covered for £250) but stories like the one you mentioned sway me in the other way...so I am torn :).

It will be interesting to see how this debate pans out. Thanks for posting it.
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