Without President Barack Obama’s health care reform last year, I would be removed from my parents’ health care in four years. I am one of the faces of those people who are helped by Obama’s health care reform. I know that with the current system, I would be denied coverage by the majority of insurance companies because of a pre-existing condition I have.
So when I heard how Congressional Republicans sent their plan in January to slash the federal deficit by cutting funds to such things as health care reform, I was angered and shocked by these actions. Our health care system needs desperate reform, and the only way to do it is to keep the bill signed into law last year and begin the actions that it has set in place.
Each year, more than 45,000 people die from lack of health insurance in the U.S., according to a September 2009 CBS News article. This is completely unacceptable in a developed society like ours.
These people are dying because they cannot get basic treatments to treat diseases like diabetes. These treatments would allow patients to live longer, but they cannot get these treatments if they cannot afford to go to the doctor.
Health insurance is not inexpensive, as the average cost of health care per person was $7,681 in 2008. One must remember the median household income is $52,000 per year for the average American family, and then it is clear how health insurance can quickly become unaffordable. The health care reform will allow for tax cuts for these middle class Americans to help make health care affordable.
Also, there is something desperately wrong with our current health care system when we have the second worst infant mortality rate among developed countries, according to a 2006 CNN article. This basically means our mothers are not getting the care they need, because it certainly does not reflect the quality of the country’s doctors, as the U.S. has some of the top doctors in the world.
When considering these things, one must not be surprised by our health care system’s low ranking. The World Health Organization ranks the U.S. health care system at No. 37. Besides being behind such countries as Colombia and Chile in terms of health care, America also is behind most Western European countries with national health care systems. These countries have systems that are much more nationalized than what Obama’s reform enacts.
One of these countries that has a nationalized health care system is Great Britain. Many opponents of the current health care reform bill bring up how awful the British health care system is and how the U.S. reform is a stepping stone to such a system.They will say how the system is inferior to our current one, but this is untrue. The British health care system is ranked No. 18 in the world by the World Health Organization. Its health care system is characterized by all prescriptions, treatments and visits to a physician being fully paid for by the government.
According to an August 2009 Time article, British citizens “have a longer life expectancy and lower infant mortality, and the country has more acute-care hospital beds per capita and fewer deaths related to surgical or medical mishaps” as compared to the American health care system.
The British also spend significantly less per citizen on health care, according to the Time article. Spending per British citizen for health care is $2,500 while American citizens spend $6,000 per citizen.
Does the British system have its problems? Yes. They do have high cancer mortality rates compared to the United States. However, this is more of an issue with early detection than of the health care system as a whole.
For such a highly industrialized country such as America, it is a travesty to have a health care system such as ours. A global leader in the world should not be ranked so low among the most basic of needs. We must be first when it comes to care, and that must come through change.
Drew Curd is a freshman mathematics major from Atlanta.