Elizabeth Owens, Reporter

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Universal health care versus private insurance healthcare has regularly been in the news lately as the government scrambles to provide a more affordable and effective solution to the United States healthcare crisis. There are Pros and Cons for each type of coverage, and it’s difficult to say which is better. Since universal healthcare systems don’t rely exclusively on government funding, it can provide better coverage for each individual. With a private insurance system, individual coverage is limited and most people have to pay to keep their insurance active. Although people commonly use them interchangeably, universal healthcare and single payer coverages are not the same thing.

One question we’ve all wondered is, do our private insurances make profit off of our illnesses and injuries in the United States? Olympia High School Freedom Farmers Teacher, Blue Peetz, says, “Private insurance companies have lobbied for federal subsidies for mega farms that produce corn for corn syrup.  And everyone knows that diets high in sugar are directly connected to diet related illness, like Type 2 Diabetes, Asthma, stunted cognitive development, etc..Seems like private insurance companies benefit from people staying sick.” In a competitive environment like the United States, healthcare providers focus on new technology. They offer expensive services and pay doctors more, they try to compete by targeting the wealthy, they charge more to get a higher profit, and it leads to higher costs. In 2014, a survey of the various healthcare systems from eleven different countries proved that the United States healthcare system is the most expensive and worst performing in terms of health access, efficiency, and equity.

Universal health care, also known as socialized healthcare, is a system that provides health care and protection to all citizens of a particular country.  It is described by the World Health Organization as, “a situation where citizens can access healthcare services without incurring financial hardship.” The cost of providing quality healthcare makes universal healthcare a huge expense to the government, but lowers costs for the economy. It forces hospitals and doctors to provide the same standard of service at a lower cost. In Canada, where citizens have a single-payer system, they provide free care to all residents regardless of their ability to pay and the government keeps hospitals on a set budget to control medical costs. In 2016, the cost for healthcare per Canadian was $4,752 USD, while here in the United States the cost for health care per American was a staggering $9,892 USD.

In the United States, precisely 44 million citizens don’t have healthcare coverage, while another 38 million have inadequate health care coverage. That means one third of our countries’ population wakes up every day without the security of knowing, if they need it, healthcare would be available to them and their families.

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