In an address to Congress on August 12, 1974, former president Gerald R. Ford stated, a government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take from you everything you have. Implementing universal health care modeled after the French system, would be a measure of unconstitutionally increasing the size of the federal government intended by the founders of our nation. Like many propositions that would increase the size of our government, this plan for universal health care has some major problems, three of which are:
2. Health care quality
3. The fact that better options exist
Universal health care, which the general public would see as “free health care” isn’t necessarily free. If we were to implement a health care system that spends exactly as much as France per capita on healthcare, which is about $3400 a year according to CBS News, more than 1 trillion per year would be needed to put a plan in place for the current population of the United States, which is almost 306 million people. Based on a spending report from the official Budget of the United States Government, this is more than $300 billion more than the federal government currently spends on health care. There must be a source of money to fund a health care plan such as that. This would mean that expenses for health care would have to be paid for with higher taxes for citizens and/or spending cuts in other important service areas such as defense, education, and domestic protection, which are without doubt needed to run this nation, a characteristic that universal health care does not encompass.
Another problem with implementing health care modeled after the French system would be the quality of healthcare. In France, the average physician makes about $55,000 per year. There are many other occupations that pay more.
Therefore, the educated would be more inclined to choose a profession other than medicine. If universal health care were to be introduced in the United States, the level of reimbursement to physicians would be lower than it currently is by private health care companies. This would lead to a breakdown of the current very high-paying profession. Lower pay means a lower amount of intelligent people interested in the field. This would lead to poorer patient care (because the well-educated would be working in fields in which getting a degree is easier and the work is more rewarding).
It would also lead to increased wait times due to a shortage of qualified physicians, which would furthermore lead to unnecessary deaths. The French also encourage the use of dangerous prescription drugs. The average general practitioner prescribes 260,000 Euros worth of drugs each year. However, other patients do not receive the medicine they need. One study found that almost 90 percent of asthma patients are not prescribed medicine that could improve their condition.
My third argument in negation of implementing a health care system modeled on that of France is that better options exist. For example, the healthcare system in Japan provides its citizens with the longest life expectancy on the planet while costing much less than the United States
system. The Australian system also merits study when considering healthcare reform. It has similar infant mortality rates and is less expensive than the healthcare system in France. Another better alternative is Denmark, where 90 percent of citizens are satisfied with their healthcare services. This system also does fairly well in expenditure, productivty, and waiting times.
For these reasons of cost and health care quality, and also the fact that better options do exist, I am in negation of this plan for the United States government to implement universal health care.