Medical/ health insurance denotes a kind of insurance that partially or entirely compensates for an individual’s healthcare expenses in the event of an occurrence. There are numerous benefits associated with health insurance for individuals and societies, leading to widespread calls for mandatory health insurance for all Americans. Despite the enormous benefits, some remain skeptical of compulsory health insurance coverage. A critical analysis of the advantages and limitations of mandatory health insurance reveals that the benefits outweigh the negatives, even though there is a need to limit the valid disadvantages for enhanced agreeability.
Arguments in Favor
Mandatory medical insurance will go a long way in alleviating financial bankruptcy often associated with specific disorders. There are numerous instances where individuals sold their life investments, including lands, businesses, and homes, to treat their loved ones and still lost them. According to Siongco et al., a single chronic disease can leave home destitute and squander the inheritance of future generations, perpetuating desperation, suicide, drug abuse, robbery with violence, and prostitution (2020). Mandatory health insurance shields people from such calamities that are commonplace in life. Such is the mandate of any government to ensure the well-being of its citizens. Health insurance coverage protects people from constantly worrying about care expenses that can arise at any moment.
There should be mandatory health insurance for Americans since the nation’s founding documents support a right to care for all. The Declaration of Independence notes that all Americans have inalienable rights to life and pursuit of happiness. Thus, the government has the legitimate function of promoting the general welfare of the people through such schemes aimed at enhancing the quality of life of the people. Moreover, evidence powerfully suggests that instating mandatory insurance schemes would effectively reduce healthcare costs. Research from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst reckoned that compulsory health insurance could lower healthcare spending by a whopping 1.8 trillion dollars over a decade owing to the reduced prescription drug and administrative costs (Schussele et al., 2021). Furthermore, data from the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) indicate that nations like the UK and Canada with universal health coverage spend 42% and 47% less on healthcare than the US, respectively. Such information provides a compelling testament to the need for health insurance to become more financially prudent as a nation. Mandatory insurance could enhance economic productivity considerably.
A right to healthcare (compulsory care schemes) is a critical foundation for a just society. The US continues to offer free public services, education, road maintenance, and law enforcement across all areas to ensure justice and fairness for all citizens (Wendt, 2019). Inevitably, health insurance coverage would aid the quest for equality and fair opportunity for all Americans, rich or poor. Proper healthcare sustains the people and enables them to thrive.
Apart from boosting productivity amongst the citizens, such mandatory health insurance promotes the US’ standing among the nations since healthcare is a globally recognized human right. The US and other countries signed the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, stating that all persons have a right to quality living standards and medical care for themselves and their families (Siongco et al., 2020). The WHO says that no person should suffer financial hardship when obtaining care services. Thus, universal care coverage is an obligation under human rights law.
Mandatory health insurance provides numerous logistical benefits for care providers and patients. It offers a cashless treatment system that reduces patient waiting times and saves lives. Insurance companies have links with networked hospitals where patients can get treatment for all their maladies without paying a cent. Such reduces the hassles associated with hospitalization and improves public perceptions of care centers. Moreover, portability benefits ensure that insurance companies do not take customers for granted since users can quickly transfer their insurance policies to other health insurance providers (Wendt, 2019). Hence, citizens enjoy the flexibility and more options when dissatisfied with current insurance plans.
Despite the powerful arguments in favor of mandatory health insurance, some reckon that such a move would increase taxes on an already overtaxed population. Studies show that payroll taxes for nations with universal healthcare coverage are significantly higher than in the US. Hence, many assert that financing universal care coverage and insurance schemes would lead to higher taxes. Moreover, there are fears that such extensive covers would worsen physician shortages in a nation already struggling with deficiencies in staffing numbers for healthcare workers (Schussele et al., 2021). The quality of care would diminish even as the government rations medical services for practicality. The rationing would become necessary when citizens overuse medical assistance due to insurance schemes, overstretching the care system. There is the fear of hurtling toward socialism. The government controls the distribution of healthcare goods and services, eventually eroding fundamental freedoms and liberties.
For any debate, such as the one on mandatory insurance for citizens, it is essential to weigh the benefits against the limitations to note which outweighs the other. Experiences indicate that citizens suffer poor health due to financial restraints. Some lost all investments due to a sudden disease, leaving them perpetually destitute. The government should move to cushion its citizens and provide equal platforms via enhanced access to care. It is critical to have checks and balances to ensure governments do not overstep their mandate and act unconstitutionally, as feared by many who oppose compulsory health insurance. There is a need to address their valid concerns while implementing universal coverage, such as training more medical personnel.
The benefits associated with health insurance schemes are massive and outweigh the limitations. Health insurance offers an opportunity to solve critical challenges related to healthcare acquisition since time immemorial. It creates an equal society and enhances economic productivity. Nevertheless, there remains a need to avoid government excesses and prevent any action resembling the denial of basic liberties in all spheres of life, including healthcare.
Schussele F., S., Berchtold, P., Koch, U., & Peytremann-Bridevaux, I. (2021). Integrated. care in Switzerland: Strengths and weaknesses of a federal system. International Journal of Integrated Care (IJIC), 21(4), 1–8.
Siongco, K. L. L., Nakamura, K., & Seino, K. (2020). Reduction in inequalities in health insurance coverage and healthcare utilization among older adults in the Philippines after mandatory national health insurance coverage: Trend analysis for 2003-2017. Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine, 25(1), 17.
Wendt, C. (2019). Social health insurance in Europe: Basic concepts and new principles. Journal of Health Politics, Policy & Law, 44(4), 665–677.