As we sit in our cushy armchairs and debate and complain about the problems with Obamacare, we are in fact sitting in the most privileged position of all. In the United States we actually get to complain (quite avidly) about our system, when in most of the world there isn’t such a system to speak of.
Most of us have our co-payments at the doctor’s office, some mess of confusing paperwork occurs, and voilà, medical transactions occur. For the insured bunch of us, we’re aware that we put up with monthly premiums in order to not pay full price of a medical service. We complain about what networks we’re in, which treatments are covered, and how high our payments are, but at the end of the day, I would say it’s safe to assume that we’re all pretty happy to not pay full sticker price.
That’s where the United States is shockingly different. Yes, the insurance system needs work, but even still, it works. And yet, it seems like nobody has anything positive to say about it – it seems that the more we have, the unhappier we become.
Now, what if I said that a majority of the world does not have this kind of system? Its instead citizens are forced to pay out-of-pocket for their medical services. That’s right. Sticker price. I bet those insurance rates don’t seem too bad now.
Obviously, I think it becomes quite clear why this is a major problem. The actual cost of health services is ridiculously high, and rightfully so; however, if we were to pay the full price of each visit and procedure, we would wind up bankrupting ourselves. If then we got sick, what could we do?
Access to adequate health care and services is a fundamental human right. In a system with very little government interaction, resulting in a dominantly out-of-pocket system, what are we saying? We are saying that only those with money can have access to treatment. We are saying that only those with money deserve this treatment. We are saying that only those with money deserve to live – their lives are worth more than others. Most of the developed world has moved away from this ideology. You would be hard pressed to find someone who thinks otherwise.
Now, while governments of developing nations are focused on building up a variety of other infrastructure, health should not be so neglected. A good health system that protects its citizens from bankrupting themselves from basic medical needs allows for a healthy working force, which turns into more prosperity for the country. Now who wouldn’t want that?