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The case for universal health care


I believe that free markets, with regulatory oversight, provide the best systems for most economic sectors. There are a few exceptions to that – and one such exception is healthcare. The reason, I think is that systems that allow maximizing profits for companies, are not necessarily the systems that are the best for the consumers. In most instances, the consumers can tolerate inadequacies of the systems – e.g. not all can afford to go to a spa, or a vacation to Hawaii, or a television at home. But as far as health of the individuals is concerned, consumers are in no position to tolerate inability to access healthcare. We ought to provide everyone access to health. I believe that healthcare is a right (as opposed to the US constitution), and as a society, we have a moral and ethical obligation to see that fellow human beings have access to healthcare at all times, regardless of their social or monetary status. The economist has a great post which showcases the almost universal health care coverage in Mexico.

An example of what happens without the safety net of healthcare is presented in the article, that I quote below:

“Julio Frenk, a former health secretary who oversaw the beginning of Seguro Popular and is now dean of Harvard’s School of Public Health, recalls meeting a family in which the mother had needed a Caesarean section and the baby had spent a couple of weeks in intensive care. The child survived, but the medical bill cost his father his animals and tools and meant that his brother had to be taken out of school. “People liquidated their productive assets and their poverty was transmitted to the next generation,” says Mr Frenk.”