“Affordable” Health Care Is Not So Affordable

Hi, my name is Garik Onany, and I’m a third year student from Los Angeles studying Managerial Economics at UC Davis. Nothing really makes me an authority or qualifies me for speaking on the issue, since I’m simply a student who watches news on occasion and reads articles about politics daily.

In the first hundred days of any administration, people question and sometimes fear the direction the country might be steering in. In this administration, however, people are afraid of abrupt executive orders and repeals that might drastically shake the nation. Although it does seem scary to think about, it is important to understand that changes to huge sectors such as health care would not occur in days or weeks, but would rather undergo extensive review and analysis. In other words, don’t stress too much.

Aristotle once wrote of “a citizen’s absolute right to the measure of good health that the society is able to give.” This is an important idea that laid a strong foundation for universal health care. However, it is important to note at what expense this comes.

We are aware that the premiums of Obamacare have continued to increase since their implementation, but it is not right to solely blame Obamacare for this, as there is corruption in the entire healthcare system, and there are other factors that contribute to this. Because our healthcare is so much more expensive than healthcare elsewhere, our middle class is taking the hit and seeing their paychecks shrink for these “ever-increasing premiums,” as Avik Roy explains in The Washington Examiner.

In A Conservative Case for Universal Coverage, Roy further explains that federal health spending is expected to increase 43 percent from 2014 to 2029, meaning that spending on Social Security, military, food stamps, highways, etc. are going to need to shrink, in order to manage costs and avoid further worsening of our debt. This means every dollar of growth in federal spending as a share of our economy over the next 15 years would be due to government sponsored health care.

It is important to realize that revising and editing Obamacare, rather than repealing it, would be a far smoother and less costly option. As we look around the world, we notice other countries implementing plans that are so much more economically feasible and efficient than ours.

Switzerland, for example, has a system of universal, subsidized private insurance, where the poor get a premium support subsidy. As one goes up the income ladder, the amount of the subsidy decreases. Swiss public spending on health coverage is 60% lower than ours. This system of private insurance reaches out to those with low incomes, a key issue in coverage, without doing so at the hefty expense of the middle class taxpayer. Although it does have its weak points, it has some similarities to Obamacare. As a result, we could build on Obamacare, transforming it into a system that looks and works more like the Swiss solution.

There are other countries with policies that have their own pros and cons. However, it is our responsibility to learn from countries around the world, when they have implemented plans and formulated policies better than what we have. As Avik Roy concludes, Singapore and Switzerland spend far less on healthcare than America does, yet they achieve what Americans “value about their own system”: choice, technology, and physician access.

We must come to an agreement that universal healthcare coverage is a worthy goal, first morally, then economically. We must also take into consideration where the money is coming from, and how it would affect the dynamic of the American economy and of the American taxpayer. Although it is impossible to come to an absolutely definitive solution, we must do our research and investigate what alternatives we have.

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