Obamacare Is Good For American People

633 words | 3 page(s)

Arguably the greatest challenge of the U.S President Barack Obama’s presidency has been the universal healthcare law, also commonly referred to as ‘Obamacare’. Like any major public issue, Obamacare has both supporters and opponents who present a number of arguments in their defense. But Obamacare should be supported because the benefits to the American people far outweigh the costs.

Healthcare has mostly been the domain of the private sector in the U.S. yet healthcare costs have continued to rise over the years. In addition, millions of Americans are without healthcare insurance that even a Canadian doctor was forced to remind American lawmaker Senator Richard Burr that 45,000 Americans die each year due to lack of health insurance (Kay). It is important to realize that private sector is efficient mostly in provision of private goods and not public goods. Private sector is usually motivated by profit maximization objective which explains why government mostly provides public goods like education, security, and transportation infrastructure. The failure of health insurance industry to adequately cover all Americans is another proof that government is best suited to provision of public goods including healthcare because it will work for the overall benefits of the society rather than private gains.

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If we look around the world, we observe that universal healthcare system is rather quite common, even in developed countries with free market systems. In fact, universal healthcare system has not only been embraced on a huge scale but has also found to be working better than the U.S. healthcare system that has largely been private so far. A study compared American and Canadian healthcare systems and found that per capita insurance overhead was a staggering $259 in the U.S. in 1999 or about five times the Canadian per capita rate of $49. Similarly, per capita hospital administration cost was $315 in the U.S. as compared to $103 in Canada (Rashford). The findings of the study are not surprising because even management guru Michael E. Porter found that U.S. healthcare industry is highly inefficient due to lack of accountability for physicians, lack of competition among physicians and insurers, lack of information sources for patients, and collusive behaviors by the industry players (Porter and Teisberg).

One of the major criticisms against Obamacare is the accusation that it is socialist in nature. The assertion is often an attempt by the critics to exploit the negative connotations attached to socialism in American rather than engaging in an honest behavior. An objective look at American economic system reveals that like every capitalist economy, even America already has socialist elements. For example, education is provided free of cost to every child, at least till high school. Similarly, there are food and healthcare programs such as food stamps and Medicaid, to assist the needy. In essence, these programs are socialist in nature. It is hard to imagine Canada, U.K. and Australia as socialist countries even though all these three countries have universal healthcare system in place.

Obamacare is good for America because it will improve average healthcare standards in the country. It will also bring greater accountability to healthcare sector stakeholders such as healthcare professionals and insurance companies and help bring down healthcare costs. Workers’ productivity will also improve due to fewer work days lost to illness as well as improved work performance. Thus, Obamacare will not only be the right thing to do morally but will also yield huge economic benefits for the country.

  • Kay, Jonathan. What this doctor’s takedown of a GOP Senator tells us about North America’s health care debate. 13 March 2014. 2 April 2014 http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com
  • Porter, Michael E. and Elizabeth Olmsted Teisberg. “Redefining Competition in Healthcare.” Harvard Business Review June 2004: 65-76.
  • Rashford, Marleise. “A Universal Healthcare System: Is It Right for the United States?” Nursing Forum January-March 2007: 3-11.

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