Healthcare: a Privilege Or Constitutional Right

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Imagine a person you care deeply about becoming very sick. As each day passes the symptoms get worse, and all you can do is care for them is the only way your know-how. For most, these being cheap over-the-counter medicines that have little to no effect on the illness; for others, procuring home remedies in an attempt to alleviate the pain of sickness. This happens day today in the average lower/middle-class household. “As of 2018 over 28 million, roughly 8.8% of the United States population; have no access to adequate healthcare insurance.” (Berchwick 2018) Many people of the lower class have to work 40+ hours a week to even qualify for health insurance through their employer. With this being said, citizens are breaking their backs and putting strains on their mental health, working day in and day out, to assure that their children get the proper care that they need. Employer-based health coverage is very common in the United States, with roughly 56% of the population receiving health insurance through their employer (PNHP 2018). The United States is known as one of the world’s “strongest superpowers” with having control over many military bases, product importation and exportation, and the amount of money that comes into and out of the country. The country has an abundance of power yet we are “the only nation that does not have universal health care either in practice or by constitutional right.” (OECD 2018) Implementing universal health care into the countries economy will decrease the amount of crime happening around the country, helps children by enabling adequate healthcare; resulting in reduced chronic illness, and creates a healthier workforce.

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Implementing universal health care into the countries economy will lead to a significant decrease in the crime rates nationwide. Many citizens that have been incarcerated have serious health care needs. The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) produced a survey showing that medical-related identity theft accounted for 43 percent of all identity thefts reported in the United States in 2013 (Ollove 2014). Medical identity theft happens when a person gains access to another individual’s health care insurance information and tries to use it for their own sake. This type of crime spread dramatically throughout the country. People that don’t have health insurance struggle and will resort to any measure to assure that their loved ones receive adequate care. On average three out of every five state prisoners and jail inmates have a substance abuse problem. Half of state and federal prisoners and two-thirds of jail inmates are in serious psychological distress or have a history of mental illness (Doleac 2018). Researchers found that an increase in the number of treatment facilities causes a reduction in both violent and financially-motivated crime (Doleac 2018). Prisons provide few treatments and emergency services, but what if we increased access to treatment in communities so that people could get help before they get into trouble?

Implementing universal health care into our way of living will also help children and reduces the risk of the development of chronic diseases by enabling adequate healthcare. By taking action and spotting signs of disease early, one can be able to control the severity of said disease/condition. With almost 1 million children without healthcare, how does the country think the prevention and spread of disease are possible? An estimated 828,000 children lost Medicaid or CHIP coverage in 2018 due to Trump administration policies and conservative states’ efforts to impose burdensome costs and paperwork requirements (Twomey 2019). When children can get the care they require for good health, it builds a foundation for future success. Children who have access to health education and care resources are less likely to take advantage of welfare programs or deal with chronic health issues as an adult. Beyond this, simply guaranteeing health coverage for all kids, would offer peace of mind to all families that their children have coverage no matter what happens to them. Lastly, it can be beneficial to middle-class parents who are currently spending hundreds of dollars purchasing family healthcare packages.

Lastly, establishing healthcare resources as a constitutional right rather than the nation’s capital will yield healthier workers in the workforce. Without access to preventive care, 46% of emergency room patients took a trip to the emergency room because they had no other place to go (Bull World Health Organ 2013). They used the emergency room as their primary care physician to be able to afford to be seen by a doctor. This doesn’t always ensure adequate healthcare, as some emergency rooms have less access to resources and funding than others This health care inequality is a big reason for the rising cost of medical care. Such gaps can also create financial barriers and impoverished people when they have to seek care without being covered by a social health protection system or scheme.

One might object and see this issue from an imperialistic view stating that universal healthcare will create an increase in the US debt and deficit, increases wait time for medical services and potentially convert the country into a socialistic economy. Everything about the US is greed-driven, with money being the overall goal over both morals and ethics. The rich get richer while the middle class and lower class are left to fend and fight for resources that should be a constitutional right. Simply saying that implementing universal healthcare will increase the wait time for medical services is absolutely absurd. It is absolutely unethical and inhumane to deny a citizen the right to be seen by a healthcare professional when they are clearly in need of medical attention. The balance of what the government has control over should also not be a concern for the opposing party, as there are already certain limitations and restrictions on how much the government can control and levy. It’s time to stop procrastinating on implementing change around our country, we are considered to be one of the most powerful and reputable countries in the world, keeping our citizens healthy and stable is key to maintaining our status as a country. 

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