Should the Government Pay For All Medical Care?

Rebecca Scarlett By Rebecca Scarlett, 15th Oct 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>General Health>Public Health

A discussion of the pros and cons of socialized health care.

The Big Reason to Want the Government to Pay for Health Care

When questioning whether or not the government should pay for all medical care, you must first define which services are considered to be medical care. Should the government be covering physical health, mental health, or both? Should physical health include dentistry and eye care? If dentistry is covered, should procedures that are purely cosmetic, such caps or whitening, be covered? Should the government cover preventative health care, or only cover expenses incurred after a health problem occurs? Should prescriptions be covered? What about over-the-counter medicines that some people require to manage their conditions? Where do practices such as chiropractic and massage therapy come in?

The Big "Pro"

The issue of the governement paying for health care seems to raise more questions the more you think about it. Being a resident of Ontario, Canada, I definitely feel that it is worth it to have some of my paycheque go towards medical care. I can go to the doctor whenever I feel sick, or when I might have an infection or injury, and not have to worry about forking over fifty dollars to have a doctor say "no, that's just a freckle," or "it's just the flu, not your asthma, you'll be fine in three days." If I did have to pay that money, several infections that I have had would have gone undiagnosed until I landed in the hospital from blood poisoning, because I wouldn't want to waste the money just in case nothing was wrong after all. It's also a relief to know that when I had my baby I only had to worry about paying for things she needed, and not worry about the bill for being in the hospital for 3 days after an emergency c-section. There are far too many jobs that have no insurance, (including mine) and the hospital bill probably would have been more than I make in a year and a half.

So the big, obvious "pro" of the government paying for medical care is peace of mind. If you or someone you love is stricken by cancer, or hit by a car while walking the dog, you have enough to worry about without wondering how you're going to come up with thousands of dollars to pay the bills.

The Cons

Of course, the big, obvious "con" of the idea is the fact that the Big Bad Government is dictating to you how some of your hard-earned money will be spent. Many people do not feel that they should be paying for the health problems of others. (Although very few people who aren't rich enough to afford their own care continue to feel that way once they, or someone they love, develops a crippling disease or is in a devastating accident.)

Whether or not you believe socialized medical care is the way to go depends on a few factors, and how you personally feel about them. If you feel that all human beings deserve to live healthy lives, no matter how much money they have, that will make you lean towards socialized medical care. Perhaps you feel that people do not inherently deserve this, or that perhaps they only deserve this kind of care for conditions that are completely out of their control, but you would like to experience the benefits of socialized medicine yourself, so you are willing to subsidize others. The fact remains that even if you support the idea of having the government pay for medical care, there are still many cons to be found, because it is difficult to implement socialized medicine that is effective and fair to the taxpayer.

What Should the Government Pay For?

Returning to all of the questions in the first paragraph, we could find people who support all of those things being paid for by the government, and people who support some or none of those things being paid for. It is important to remember that many people do not have jobs with corporations that subsidize the costs of medical care or prescription drugs, so drugs that are needed on a regular basis for diseases that are in no way the patient's fault, like asthma or juvenile diabetes, can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year. Usually, the kind of jobs that do not come with benefits are those with lower salaries, so it is the very people who can't afford prescriptions that have no coverage from work. Canadian citizens will admit that, as much as we support socialized medicine, most of our provincial systems are "broken" in one way or another - wait times in hospitals or for appointments with specialists are too long, drugs should be covered (they currently aren't - at least in Ontario) physiotherapy after accidents should be covered, etc. If any country is going to implement a system where the government pays for medical care, all of these issues need to be decided, and the public should be on board with the decisions, before the system is implemented. If these things are not considered, no one will be happy with the system, so there would be no point in having it at all.

When all is said and done, I am in favour of the government paying for all necessary medical care, including preventative care, (because you save taxpayer money when you help someone prevent a disease than when you pick up the tab for treating it) but not for care that is cosmetic. I'm also in favour of the U.S. adopting socialized medical care, (if only because all of our doctors would stop moving to the U.S. for the higher salaries, which would reduce wait times for specialists over here!) but if the U.S. does decide to go that route, they should examine the systems other countries have very closely, so they can take the good and improve on the bad.

Because if there's if there's one thing people of all political stripes can agree on, it's that we don't want any more of our tax money wasted.


Government Health Care, Health Care Taxes

Meet the author

author avatar Rebecca Scarlett
Rebecca Scarlett is a professional freelance writer with over 14 years of experience. She writes articles, essays, blogs, short stories, plays, poetry, songs, novels, and does copy editing. She has been published in print and extensively online. Scar...(more)

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author avatar Retired
15th Oct 2010 (#)

Wonderfuly well put. This is the most well thought out article concerning health care I've read. It really shows where the arguments are and what we need to decide. Thank you so much. Tweeting this!

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author avatar Rebecca Scarlett
15th Oct 2010 (#)

Wow, thank you! I appreciate that feedback! I'm on twitter as penningchaos, if you'd like to follow. I often tweet my articles from other sites.

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author avatar Retired
15th Oct 2010 (#)

Will do, I'm @ElaineChastain

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author avatar Denise O
18th Nov 2010 (#)

Rebecca, We have had money coming out of my husband's check for decades.
For our ability too go to the doctor.
The only difference is, we make our own choices with our coverage,
the government doesn't.
Now, on those that really do need the help of having their healhcare paid for.
If they are physically or mentally challenged and not able to hold down a job.
I am all for it. Or let them work part-time and we just supplement their income.
I also like the prescription drug plan, that alone helps
so many people, especially the elderly, physically and mentally challenged.
My brothers cost of just his pills, let alone the school
he attends and his medical needs, is just shy of 700 dollars a month.
I also have no problems
with the already state
funded medical and food programs, our children need.
But for all. nope!
Good read, Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar Denise O
18th Nov 2010 (#)

Oops...That was the cost of my brothers pills, before the prescription drug plan, that is.
I'm @Bamabuggah on twitter, if you're interested. :)

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author avatar Retired
18th Nov 2010 (#)

excellent, not living in teh US, this can be seen as somewhat as a "okay" moment.
Here most of our health care is governemtn funded and has been for many years.
Still it is great to see a well thought out debate.

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author avatar Rebecca Scarlett
19th Nov 2010 (#)

Thank you for the comments. Growing up, because I was used to having health care paid for, I always assumed that any country that didn't do that, was stupid. When I became older and more open-minded, I realized that there were arguments both ways, which inspired me to write this article.

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author avatar Retired
12th Jun 2012 (#)

When I worked for the government my health and dental coverage was deducted from my check.

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