Daily Prompt: Right to Health

Is access to medical care something that governments should provide, or is it better left to the private sector? Are there drawbacks to your choice?

If there’s anything we’ve learned from the recent financial crises, it’s that you can’t entrust public welfare to the private sector.

Of course, if health isn’t a public concern, then the government has no say in the matter.

Imho, though, the government should at least take an interest in its citizens’ health. In Germany, every person’s health is protected by law. You are wondering how a law can protect anyone’s health, since pathogens don’t care about laws. The law is what compels everyone who works in Germany to pay into the health system, to finance the War on Pathogens, so to speak. What the government can do, which private health insurances are not at liberty to do, is to charge people according to income. It’s not exactly taxes, because there is a limit to what you have to pay, and if you have a private health insurance, you don’t need to pay the public health insurance. Well, there are different models; a particularly interesting one for people with increased health risks is the complimentary private health insurance.

Because here’s the drawback to the public health system: There are procedures which they don’t cover. Not many, mind you, but they are extremely expensive, and there are people who do need them. A debilitating disease that one in a million people contract – mostly genetically – still yields ~80 patients in Germany, and there are more than one such diseases. There are also numerous heart procedures that are only paid for by the public health system on rare occasions, but because our population is becoming fatter by the hour, the procedures are high in demand.

Another problem with a purely government funded health system is that the government can dictate the rates for medical professionals. Medical doctors study for years, and there are very high dropout ratios. Before they are granted their licenses, they are compelled to work for half a year in a hospital – for free. Medical equipment is expensive, so often they rent it instead of buying it. Just recently, there was an organ transplant scandal, in which rich people paid to advance in the list for rare organs. It would still happen if medical doctors were paid more money for their jobs, but the temptation would be lower.

There is no such thing as an ideal solution, but I believe the German solution is a good one. I’m not all too familiar with the USA’s solution, only that if you’re out of money, you’re out of luck.

11 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: Right to Health

  1. I come from a country with public healthcare system and I’m happy with it. When you’re healthy you pay for everybody else who is not, but one day you’ll need help and others will be there for you. There are, as you noted, some procedures not covered, but then we have public fundraisers by charities that are widely publicized by national media, and many people still chip in and help.
    About corruption among MD- it will happen one way or another. Either MD’s will charge you (or your insurance company) exorbitant sums legally or they will receive it under the table from those wanting to get ahead in waiting lists.

    We are our brother’s and sister’s keepers. IMO it all boils down to it. Anyone who would let their neighbor die because they (the neighbor) don’t have enough money might as well have beaten them to death with a rock.

      1. Because I’m one of thoooooooooose American’s that doesn’t really know much of anything, I don’t really know what Obamacare was supposed to do … all I know is I can’t get proper medical or dental care and that blows. I think I just need to marry a foreigner and be done with it HAH

  2. It is in the government’s interest to keep their constituents happy and educated, as that ensures a steady flow of taxes into their coffers. On the other side of the coin, people have a responsibility to themselves to keep healthy and fit for their own quality of life and peace of mind.

    Where I live, it seems that the population have been convinced that their taxes must be lowered on a regular basis, which was a kin to vote-buying in previous elections. How people believe the government needs less money when supporting a growing population boggles the mind sometimes, because more people would imply higher demand, which then increases prices unless supply matches it.

    It all seems to feed from the ideas that governments are inefficient in their spending by default, and the private sector is filled with greedy, lying corporations. While there is a kernel of truth to it, it has been the revered practice of painting the majority by the actions of a minority.

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