Universal Healthcare should be available to everyone

By Stephanie Pineda

With Republican Scott Brown’s victory over Democrat Martha Coakley and Independent Joe Kennedy in the Jan. 19 special election in Massachusetts to replace Ted Kennedy’s US Senate seat, any efforts for a universal healthcare program were highly compromised. This is because Democrats now only have 59 Senate seats which enables Republicans to prevent a bill from being passed via a filibuster, which is an extended debate on a proposal in order to delay or entirely delay a vote on it. Thus, since most Republicans are against a healthcare reform, Scott Brown’s victory takes the super majority (3/5) away from Democrats, making it more difficult for them to pass a bill. I cannot say that, personally, I am utterly devastated by this news, but I am not pleased either.

I am lucky enough to have health insurance, so whether or not a universal healthcare program was approved would not have a direct negative effect on me. Nonetheless, I feel that for the sake of others, who can testify to needing it more than I, universal healthcare would be very beneficial. It would be extremely useful to people who cannot currently afford health insurance.

People against universal healthcare argue that it would lead to an increase in taxes. However, there are already existing laws that require emergency rooms to see patients even if they do not have health insurance. This costs hospitals money, which is passed to consumers and insurance companies. With a universal healthcare program, people who do not currently have health insurance would pay for it through taxes, and the new distributed cost would decrease the personal expenses of those who already pay for private insurance, so in reality it would be a winning situation for those so strongly opposed to it.

“Healthy” people who take care of themselves may argue that they will have to pay for the burden of smokers, obese people, etc. It is even argued that the government would be more likely to form additional restrictions by increasing taxes on cigarettes, fast food, etc., leading to a loss of their personal freedoms. The way I see it, though, this would be beneficial because smoking and obesity are responsible for so many preventable deaths in America that by increasing taxes on these unhealthy habits less people would engage in them. Therefore, we could potentially diminish the number of deaths they cause each year, and said taxes would only be a good thing for everyone.

Universal healthcare would ultimately cover everyone, regardless of whether they are employed or not, which is a huge issue because it deters many people from supporting it. Thus, people may argue that they refuse to pay for the health insurance of “lazy” people who do not work. However, with the recession we are currently in, these conservatives who are so opposed to Universal Healthcare should realize that jobs are scarce right now, and people do not always have a choice as to whether or not they are employed.

That being said, there are also people out there who hold down two or three jobs just to try to provide for their families, and it still does not suffice for health insurance. Is it fair to neglect these people healthcare simply because they cannot afford it? I think not. We are all human and deserve to be cared for, regardless of the amount of money we possess. I fail to see how lending a helping hand to those less fortunate can be so detrimental. What is wrong with people these days that it “hurts” them so much to help others? The United States spends more money on healthcare than any other developed nation. Why not offer this to everyone and not just a select few? Ultimately, “paying for other people’s insurance” should be the last thing on anyone’s mind when debating this topic.

These conservatives also look at universal healthcare in other countries where it is already an established program and argue that it is inefficient because patients are often subjected to extremely long waits for treatment. They say that it often takes a month for someone to see a specialist. Honestly, though, even with private healthcare it can often take that long to see a specialist, but with the many doctors we have in the United States, I do not see that being a problem, where we go to get universal healthcare; rather, it could prove to be quite efficient in getting people to a doctor or specialist more quickly because everyone would have equal rights to see a specialist since they would all be equally insured.

In the end, universal healthcare would prove to be beneficial to all, regardless of economic statuses, and it is very ignorant for conservatives to not want to consider this opportunity to help our country and the people in it. I particularly think Scott Brown is a hypocrite in being against Universal Healthcare considering the state of Massachusetts has had Universal Healthcare since 2006, so why not expand that to the entire United States, Mr. Senator?