The case for universal healthcare

Anna Fiorino, Staff Writer

More than 25 million Americans have no health insurance, according to the National Center for Health Statistics- a number indicative of a failing healthcare system.

Dec.15 marked the last day to find an affordable healthcare plan for 2018 before the federal marketplace closed.

U.S. healthcare is a hybrid system. While it is regulated by the government, its spending comes from a multitude of sources: private funds like households and private businesses, federal government, state government, and local government. The government funds two health plans, Medicare and Medicaid, which are specifically designed for the elderly, the poor, and the disabled. Obamacare mandates healthcare coverage for nearly everyone, but the majority of healthcare is delivered privately. Many Americans have healthcare plans that are funded by their employers. Now more than ever, America needs effective healthcare that reaches and empowers all Americans via a publicly financed, single-payer system.

Healthcare is a civil rights issue; the current healthcare system perpetuates a system of inequality (as well as the implications of those disparities). A person’s access to healthcare should not be influenced or determined by varying degrees of education, achievement, occupation, or other socially validated conventions of success. Oftentimes, health disparities can also be attributed to historical injustices involving marginalized races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic classes.Barriers to health access not only affects health, but restricts future opportunities that demand adequate health. All people are entitled to a reasonable, minimum standard of good health because this basic health enables us to pursue somewhat equal opportunities.

A health institution like America’s perpetuates systems that favor wealth, status, and advantage. This becomes a cycle of oppression.

The implementation of universal health coverage policies would improve public health and boost national economic security (by having a more competent workforce). It would also help combat health disparities among racial and ethnic minority populations. In failing to recognize and address these injustices— injustices that stem from an oppressive history—America is enabling the institutions that allow them to continue. A healthcare system that perpetuates inequality is a system that upholds its oppressive counterparts. Our current political reality has transformed the notion of health from a basic component of human dignity into a prerogative of the privileged. As a country, we have a moral imperative to address injustices, whether they be embryonic, socioeconomic, or institutional. Rectifying unjust health disparities and the implications of those disparities begins with universal health care.