by Kaelea Lucas
My name is Kaelea Lucas and I’m a second year here at UC Davis. I recently changed my major to political science. While I don’t believe much qualifies me as an authority, I also think that freely adding your opinion to the conversation is what our political system was originally about. As healthcare is a topic relevant to my own well-being, I think that my opinion should be, at the very least, heard. My own dependency on healthcare, as well as my knowledge of current events, gives me some knowledge of its transgressions.
With the many kinks in public healthcare, it is unsurprising that people shy away from the idea. Privatized health care gives customers benefits like being able to choose your plan and hospital. On the other hand, with public healthcare you are limited to what government offers.
While the benefits of privatized healthcare may be advantageous to rich and upper-class families, it may be unattainable to families with lower incomes and detrimental to most citizens in a time of crisis. Not everyone can afford private healthcare, especially due to its capitalist nature. Ads on TV make it clear how much healthcare is a for-profit product. The commercials tell us to get insured by whomever because they’re cheap “with the same amount of coverage.”
This jaded way of thinking about healthcare is why private healthcare is so dangerous. Instead of being for the benefit of the patient, medical care profits the supplier. Unchecked, greedy companies and doctors can then monopolize services and medicines.
A healthcare provider’s job is to help those who are in need. However, human nature has proven that we are still likely to lean towards personal gratification even in such a job. Despite its inherent necessity to the patient, providers often seek easy profit. What they are selling has no real price limit. If a person needs a drug to live, they are going to find a way to pay for it regardless of whether it is $7 or $750. That then takes the control completely out of the hands of the consumer. In most other sales transactions, a person can negotiate their way out of having to pay as much or possibly decide that the product is not worth buying. This check on most consumer products, at least, gives businesses some incentive not to overprice items lest they risk it not selling well.
Life-saving medicine doesn’t work the same way. A person is going to have to buy it regardless, and has no room to bargain. While having a healthcare plan may offset the cost, it is still common for insurance companies to raise objections to expensive medicine or procedures, causing delays in treatment. For those without good coverage, the high costs of healthcare can make it extremely difficult to get the care or medicine they need.
I think universal healthcare should be a requirement in any developed country, especially one that brags about being the greatest among all. Yet here we are in the great United States and citizens avoid hospitals like the plague. Our lifespans are among the lowest of the world powers.
That’s not only sad, but also pretty embarrassing.