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Health care helps the sick?

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To the editor:

Health care in America has gone from a state of concern to a crisis. Universal health care is the solution. Jonathan Cohn states it best in his book "Sick" (2007) when he says, "To believe in universal health care is to believe that we can do more and do better, all at once."

Because the current health care system is no longer efficient, it must be altered or replaced altogether. Currently, the United States is the only industrialized nation that does not guarantee access to health care to its citizens. Drs. John Battista and Justine McCabe have proven that the universal system can solve many of America's economic problems. While some think that it would be more expensive to adopt a universal health care system, studies have shown that single-payer universal health care could possibly save up to $1 billion to $2 billion per year without depriving citizens of their needed services. It has also been shown that citizens under universal health care attend more doctor visits and are therefore living longer than American residents. America's life expectancy figures have now slipped to 42nd in the world, down from 11th just 20 years ago. Socialized medicine also covers all citizens, regardless of pre-existing conditions, age, race or gender: Everyone has access to health care.

With all this evidence showing the benefits of universal health care, why hasn't America adopted the system? It is because the leaders of today feel that such a drastic move will diminish their chances within elections. It is "baby steps" that they feel they must take because the thought of socialized medicine scares Americans. While neither 2008 presidential candidate is advocating overall universal health care, Barack Obama proposes the best health care plan that possesses similar concepts to that of socialized medicine. In a recent debate, he said that "health care should be a right for every American." Obama has also proposed a plan that will be accessible to all Americans, not only those who can afford it. Universal health care insures all citizens, regardless of financial status, race, etc. Obama's plan states, "Patients will be able to make health care decisions with their doctors, instead of being blocked by insurance bureaucrats." Those in nations with socialized medicine can see whatever doctor and go to any hospital that they see fit.

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Obama has several ideas that are directly related to those of socialized medicine, but he also proposes other good ideas within his plan. While he is trying to help those without health insurance, he is also lowering the costs by up to $2,500 for those who are happy with their current insurance. This includes lowering the cost of drugs by importing safe medications from other countries, lowering the cost of tragic illnesses for employers and their employees, and requiring hospitals to keep records of costs and important data: "lowering the risk of medical errors and reducing costs." He also intends to require health insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions so all Americans can benefit from fair premiums: a common concern amongst many citizens.

Even though many Americans are happy with today's health care system, Obama has new ideas -- new ideas that lean toward universal health care and better overall wellness of the American people. Barack Obama is the best option that voters have within this election. When comparing his thoughts to those of John McCain, they can't be any more diverse. In a recent debate, Obama revealed how John McCain's proposal would give families a $5,000 tax credit to pay for their health insurance. Unfortunately it takes taxing employer health benefits for the first time in history in order to work. Obama stated that "he gives you a tax credit with one hand and raises your taxes with the other." McCain believes that $5,000 will help Americans with their health insurance, when in reality, a one-night stay in a hospital is $1,240 on average. What about those who are seriously ill and need days or weeks of treatment? It is apparent that John McCain's health care plan is not substantial to the medical needs of the American people.


It is simple. Although neither 2008 presidential candidate is advocating overall universal health care, Barack Obama poses the best plan. His beliefs and proposals come closer to the concepts of universal health, and universal health care is what America needs. Barack Obama is the best alternative to socialized medicine that the American people have within the 2008 presidential election.

Jessica Owen
Honors Composition and Language student
Eastern Illinois University

[Posted October 28, 2008]

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