National Health Care Debate

History and Debate of National Health Care

National health insurance, if established in the United States, would create a single payer health care system. This means that everyone would have the same health insurance card and that all medical expenses would be paid from a single fund. Under this type of system, the funds that pay for the medical expenses of the entire population are obtained from a number of sources. Employers, states and even private citizens must contribute to the fund.

Many nations have established a national health insurance plan. The United Kingdom, for example, offers its National Health Service to all citizens. Australia also offers Medicare to all of its citizens. The Medicare plan of the United States is an example of a single payer system, but is currently available only to certain people. Establishing a national health insurance system would be similar to expanding Medicare to all people.

There are several different forms of national health insurance. In Canada, healthcare services are offered by private parties that are under contract with the single payer. In the United Kingdom, doctors can work for anyone but all payment comes from one fund. Under most forms, the government serves as the single payer.

There have been many proposals for a single payer national health insurance plan in the United States. The first proposal was made in the state of California in 1994. In Minnesota, there was a motion to pass a bill to implement state-wide single payer health insurance. This bill has already been passed by several committees. California and Illinois have also introduced similar bills. If the United States were to establish national health insurance, it would likely mirror the plans called for by these states but on a larger scale.

Several private groups of medical professionals have also called for the establishment of a national health insurance system in the United States. Physicians for a National Health Program and the California Nurses Association are just two of these. The issue has been a source of great debate in the last few Presidential elections. In February of 2009, one poll indicated that 59 percent of physicians felt that national health insurance would be a positive change.

Proponents of National Health Care

Those who do support the establishment of a national health insurance system have many reasons for doing so. Generally, these people believe that health care is a right, not a privilege and should be available to all people regardless of employment status or income. Currently, most Americans receive health insurance through their employers. The quality of the insurance depends on the job that a person has, which leaves many Americans with less insurance than they need. Doctors are also selective in which patients they treat, preferring to treat those with private insurance rather than those who are covered by Medicare, which does not pay as well.

Opponents of National Health Care

Those who are against the idea of national health insurance often feel that it is not the government's place to interfere in the health care system. They may feel as though it is unfair for those who contribute more to the system to get the same care as those who contribute less. They often feel as though health care is a privilege, rather than a right.

The United States is one of the few first world nations that does not have a national health insurance plan. Several groups are calling for change, however, and it is likely that changes will be made in the future.

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For National Health Care

68% of members
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Against National Health Care

32% of members
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