Sunday, February 8, 2009

Socialized medicine (video fixed)

The issue of socialized medicine is one with many shades of grey. I am in favor of socialized medicine for overall coverage for a number of reasons however many aspects are highly debatable. For that reason I will present my views on the matter with little prejudice towards the other side.
The key consideration for a number of people when it comes to socialized medicine is the amount of time it takes to receive surgery. In many countries with socialized medicine the waiting list for necessary surgeries can vary from weeks to months and even years. In certain circumstances however this is true of America’s health care systems as well. Try walking into a waiting room with kidney failure and acquiring a life saving kidney. A cousin of mine was on dialysis for a number of years, some of them spent at the top of the waiting list, because kidneys were unavailable. That is not to say that in every circumstance the two systems are equivalent in waiting time but often we can see that major surgeries require a long wait. Sources on both sides of this argument look at this idea with extreme prejudice. Washington Post
Another argument for keeping off of socialized medicine is that many people would be able to take advantage of health care without earning it. It seems that this point of view is in conflict with a general principle the country was founded on which is right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If people are refused general health care services for whatever reason they may not be allowed the ability to have a “normal life” or be able to pursue happiness. The argument is that the American tax payer would be paying into a system supporting people who have not worked their way into a position to pay for themselves. There would not be much of a difference in the long term though because instead of having money taken out of a pay check for the health care of the family a pay check would now have money taken out for the greater good of all the people.
Doctors in a socialized medical system would likely have a shortened list of clientele. Patients living in a certain area would be required to visit certain doctors based solely on proximity. This is something that makes sense in general principle but is one point that has become a prominent issue in the argument for socialized medicine. The reasons for this are that doctors and possible patients often see this as a negative. Patients believe that often times the closest doctor is incompetent and so they would rather travel the extra distance to see a better doctor. Doctors see this as a negative because the free market system would be ruined for them and the clientele would not be based on skill but proximity to patients. That means that doctors’ skill may deplete as they realize it is less important in the system. Patients may then receive worse treatment and the vicious cycle may spiral out of control. The question then becomes whether or not the system really serves the greater good or not.
The most important area, and the reason I believe that socialized medicine serves the greater good, is prescription drugs. If the government regulates the cost of prescriptions the American consumer/patient will pay less for necessary drugs. As far as health care goes the focal point should not be the “what if one day…?” but the fact that all people in America will likely need prescription drugs at some point in their life. Sometimes these people will need to be on drugs continuously and be unable to afford them. The free market system in health care has allowed for drug companies to essentially build a monopoly as they set minimum prices on different types of drugs. Cold and flu medications may only cost ten dollars but liver medication can run near fifty or more dollars for ten pills. The system at the very least needs more government regulations and could use full control from a government agency. The people need to be able to rely on their government to be able to give them the ability to pursue their inalienable rights; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

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