Respond to each of the discussion posts
“Healthcare is a right” means that as a member of a country you can have an expectation that your healthcare and that of the people around you will be provided. As a “right” you can depend on this and know that it’s accessible regardless of your status in the community or your ability to pay for it; understanding that you will be able to reasonably receive care that you’re entitled to and understanding that this care is not something that will be denied to you.
If you ask a dozen people on the streets what the responsibility of government is I’m sure most of the answers you’d receive would sound something like “to protect it’s people” or to “work in the best interest of their people” and I firmly believe healthcare falls into both of those answers quite well. It is proven repeatedly in statistic after statistic that countries with greater access to healthcare have longer life expectancies (Niles, 2021). While we know that correlation does not equal causation it’s also evident in many studies that countries, such as the United States, where healthcare is not equally accessible (or even close in many areas) the instances of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, and lung disease are consistently some of the worst in the world (American Public Health Association, 2021). We perform poorly in numerous health measures, including overall birth outcome (American Public Health Association, 2021), which includes high infant mortality rates, low birth weights, and high instances of death during childbirth. Yet we spend more money on healthcare than any other developed country in the world (Niles, 2021). If you were to ask me “what is the responsibility of the government?” I would answer “to ensure the people it serves live safe, healthy, and productive lives.” This definition summarizes the point of healthcare almost exactly.
If I was in charge of creating the next American healthcare system, I would choose a single payer system. I would ensure that each working American contributed by way of taxes towards a government run program or a program selected by the government with the government being the one “single payer” for healthcare services. This puts everyone on an even playing field. My access to wealth or my lack thereof makes no difference in the care I receive or the places I can receive care in. I wait in a line for services if needed but have the piece of mind of knowing that I won’t be surprised afterwards by a large out of pocket bill that has the power to ruin my finances or drain my savings.
One of the many arguments I hear often about single payer systems is ‘but tax increases”. This is a valid concern. Getting personal here for a moment I’d like to share some information from my own life. My husband and I live in Washington state. We do alright financially but our healthcare costs have the potential each year to bankrupt us.
I’ve attached some photographs to illustrate the math on this, but I make a salary of $92,000 per year. I pay, in health insurance premiums $6,436.56 each year. Each year I also pay taxes for a government funded healthcare program that already exists- $1,254.76 for Medicare. I’ve done the math, and if you’re interested, I sincerely hope you’ll dig in, but each year I spend $17,786.32 in health care for bare minimums. This is just for two of my three children and myself. My husband and one of my other children are not included in this figure.
Last year one of my children broke their leg – the doctor that casted them was out-of-network and in my absolute panic and plotting to remove our trampoline permanently I never once thought to ask.
Last year one of my autistic children required anesthesia for a cavity filling – anesthesia is not covered by my insurance for cavity fillings.
These two things alone cost me $7,000 additional dollars towards hitting my out-of-pocket maximum for the year.
On a good year, when I’m doing bare minimum health-wise I am paying 19.33% of my wages for healthcare related costs. I’m not going to bother doing the math for a bad year because quite honestly I don’t have the stomach for it. Looking at our closest neighbor, Canada, who has a single-payer healthcare system, their taxes are higher than ours (Ross University, 2021). Technically, of my $17k spent only $1.2k of that was “taxes”. But the average Canadian paid in 2019 a total of $7,000 for healthcare (Ross University, 2021). This would be less than 8% of my income.
Many of the OECD tables and text included in our book, for this exact reason I have discussed above didn’t surprise me in the slightest. Our system is broken. The fact that the average American pays almost double average to receive healthcare yet does not show a life expectancy on par with that is exactly what I would have expected (Niles, 2021). I did find the hospital beds per 1,000 statistics to be quite interesting, however, and as we quickly learned during the pandemic this is a very real problem when care is expensive, and access is limited.
American Public Health Association. (2021). Health Rankings.American Public Health Association. https:
Niles, N. (2021). Current Operations of the U.S. Healthcare System. Basics of the U.S. Health Care System
(4th ed.) (pp. 38-49). Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Ross University. (2021, May 11). US vs. Canadian Healthcare: What is the Difference? Ross University
School of Medicine.
1) To me, the phrase “Healthcare is a right” means that everyone should have access to the health services they need regardless of their situation. No one should have to suffer from their illness and potentially die from it simply because they don’t have the money for insurance or to pay for their medical bills. Every person should have the right to healthcare without worrying about if they are able to afford it or not. A right to healthcare could save lives, which is why it is important to put this right to use.
2) I believe that healthcare should be provided by the government. The government should ensure health care coverage because we all have a right to healthcare. As of today, approximately 27.5 million people living in the United States do not have health insurance (ProCon.org, 2022). That is 8.5% of the US population who are unable to seek the medical treatment they need simply because they don’t have the money for it. No one can control whether they get sick or not and shouldn’t have to worry about paying for treatments.
3) The U.S. is currently facing major healthcare problems, with a lack of insurance coverage remaining at the top three of the chart. Healthcare costs are high, even though the United States pays way more for medical taxes than any other country. The U.S. currently spends about 18% of its gross domestic product on healthcare costs in return for no healthcare coverage (Vlogbrothers, 2013). If I were in charge of creating the “next” American healthcare system, I would choose a system in which not a single person living in the United States would have to worry about paying a penny on medical bills. A system in which the government pays for healthcare would be implemented, making it easier on the lives of Americans. Under the United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS), there is no co-pay, no fee, and not a single medical bill that patients have to pay, everything is covered. In the video Sick Around The World,Jeremy Cadle has a son Tom who is being treated for leukemia at the Whittington Hospital in London. Treatments for leukemia are costly in the United States, but luckily under the NHS, Jeremy doesn’t have to worry about paying a single penny for his son’s treatments (Palfreman, 2008). If Americans didn’t have to worry about paying for their treatments, they would seek the medical attention they need without worrying about going broke.
4) The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is a group of 37 member countries that develop economic and social policies (U.S. Dep. Of State, 2021). It provides a setting where governments can compare experiences and find solutions to common challenges, specifically healthcare. The OECD table that surprised me the most about the United States is the Life Expectancy Rate. The average life expectancy in OECD countries is 80.6 years, whereas the average life expectancy in the United States is 78.8 years (Niles, 2020). This surprised me the most because people all over the world believe that the U.S. has the best healthcare treatments and the best doctors, but unfortunately, this is not always the case, and many Americans are unable to afford health insurance. In other countries, the cost of healthcare is low unlike the U.S. This is most likely the top factor as to why the expectancy rate is lower. The second leading factor is most likely because of the foods we eat. In other countries, everything is organic and natural, whereas in the U.S., most people rely on fast foods such as McDonald’s and pizza. The life expectancy can be increased by having a healthy diet, exercising every day, staying away from tobacco and smoking, and keeping up to date with medical checkups.
ReferencesNiles, N. (2020).Basics of the U.S. Health Care System. (4thed.).Burlington, MA. Jones & Bartlett Learning
Palfreman, Jon. (2008). Sick Around The World. PBS. Retrieved July 7, 2022, from https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/sickaroundtheworld/.
ProCon.org. (2022, February 17). Universal Healthcare Pros and Cons – Is it a human right? Right to Health Care. Retrieved July 7, 2022, from
U.S. Department of State. (2021, June 28). The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) – United States Department of State. U.S. Department of State. Retrieved July 7, 2022, from
Vlogbrothers. (2013). Why Are American Health Care Costs So High?YouTube. Retrieved July 7, 2022, from
Here are the origninal questions: In your own words, what does the phrase, “Healthcare is a right” mean?Using (and citing) information you learned from from this module, discuss if you believe healthcare should or should not be provided by the government.If you were in charge of creating the “next” American healthcare system, what system of healthcare would you choose and why? Please cite and reference information from (or related to) the materials in this module, and features of the system of at least one other country to support your discussion. Review the OECD tables and text in your textbook which show statistics for the US and other OECD nations. Which OECD table has information about the United States surprised you? Why does it surprise you?Why do you think the United States has that OECD statistic?Alternative question. (You may substitute this question for Question #3.)How has the current COVID-19 pandemic impacted you personally?In your opinion, how has COVID-19 identified gaps in our current healthcare system?Do any of the other countries discussed in this module have a health care system in place that addresses that gap? If so, how is it addressed there?