Is Universal Healthcare the Answer?

Is Universal Healthcare the Answer?

( – Much of the criticism America faces, both internally and on the international stage, revolves around access to healthcare. Left-leaning pundits complain that basic medical treatment is unaffordable for low earners and those without insurance and that publicly-funded universal healthcare is a moral necessity in the 21st Century.

The countries of northern Europe are often touted as the standard-bearers when it comes to universal healthcare. In Sweden, for example, dental treatment for young people is free, as are care facilities for those over 65. Specialist treatments and operations are also state-subsidized and take place within 90 days of an initial assessment in most cases. “Why,” reform advocates might demand, “can we not have this system in America?”

The answer is just one word long; tax. This is the detail most critics of our healthcare system neglect to mention. Sweden’s tax-to-GDP ratio is 43.9%, compared to an American figure of 24.3%. Sweden’s social security contributions equal 10% of the country’s GDP, and the average Swede relinquishes a staggering 57.1% of their earnings to the government in the form of personal income tax. The freedom to work hard and reap the resulting benefits is one of the fundamental principles of life in America; a system that takes so much from ordinary people will simply never work here.

This isn’t to say America’s healthcare framework is above reproach. There are many issues around affordability and access to insurance, and fixing these will require a lot of hard work and innovation. Trump administration incentives, such as increases in the number of approved generic drugs and better management of Medicare premiums, are going a long way to addressing these problems. This is evidence that better healthcare outcomes for Americans do not require the imposition of crippling taxes.

So, is universal healthcare the answer? That would depend on what the question is. If we’re looking for a way to take hard-earned money from American citizens in the form of inflated taxes, it’s just what we need. However, if we want to incentivize healthy behavior and personal responsibility while leaving the average worker with as much take-home pay as possible, universal healthcare isn’t going to work for us.

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