The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

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The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

Healthcare for all

It has become evident that America’s health care system is one of the worst among other developed countries. Plans for universal coverage have been proposed numerous times in the past, yet failed to be put in effect. The WEB feels it is important to stress the significance of universal health care and its positive effect on our nation. The cost of medical equipment and privatization of hospitals is causing insurance rates to skyrocket, the poor to sink deeper into poverty, and middle class workers to lose benefits from employers. Universal health care is essential for economic improvement, longer life expectancy, and enjoyable, healthier lives. As of 2005, 45 million Americans did not receive health care. That’s one out of every six people that could go by undiagnosed with a deadly sickness. Generally, people without an insurance policy are diagnosed at a later stage of an illness, receive less medical attention, and aren’t able to obtain the needed medication. What’s worse, ten of the 45 million who lack insurance are children. Why, in one of the most advanced countries in the world, is health care so expensive that 16 percent of the population struggles to afford it? A health care system ought to provide good health and respectful treatment, all at a fair cost that would protect citizens equally from the financial risks of illness. Unfortunately, America’s plans fail to meet the majority of such criteria. Many private hospitals and health care providers target certain social and/or age groups, creating gaps that consist of people who aren’t taken into account. For instance, there are numerous plans such as Medicare that foster seniors. Universities usually cooperate with a large insurance company to provide health care for employees. However, there are few to no coverage plans for college students over the age of 21 who are no longer dependent on their parents, nor for part-time workers or individuals who own or work in a small business. As a matter of fact, young adults 18-24 years old are the least likely age group to have coverage. Such ‘ignored’ groups have limited access to an inexpensive policy and must therefore pay huge sums for minimal coverage. At the same time, U.S. hospitals are spending a large portion of their income on administrative costs that include replacing outdated medical equipment, etc. As a result, insurance rates rise, which means employers that provide healthcare must raise premiums or not offer benefits at all. When employer-based coverage is no longer available, workers must compensate the difference. This creates unfairness in the health coverage system, because the wealthiest remain secure with the best, most advanced plan. Many European countries with much smaller budgets than that of the U.S. have federally administered health care, so a universal plan wouldn’t necessarily have to increase tax rates. It is reported that over the past few years, insurance rates have been rising at five times the rate of inflation. Americans are now seeking more prescriptions, for lesser conditions, and at younger ages than ever before. More striking is the fact that almost 70 percent of all uninsured people come from a family with one or more full-time workers. As one may see, a universal health care program is a desperately needed upgrade. What can we do? The WEB envisions a healthcare system accessible to everyone, especially children. After all, children are the next generation that secure a successful future. Also, all employers should be required to give their employees benefits with affordable premiums. We would like to discourage defined contribution policies, which allow employers to contribute a fixed fee and make employees pay the rest, disregarding the total cost. Such a plan would guarantee equal medical attention for everyone, regardless of age, social status, or background. One of America’s key principles is equality for all, yet we continue to live in a society that does not grant everyone the same right for medical treatment. A universal plan would decrease mortality rates, boost productivity of the general public, and please many unsatisfied middle class workers.

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