Despite the best efforts to stay healthy, periodic problems with one’s health are an unavoidable part of life. While many of these injuries or illnesses will pass without problem even if untreated, every person will almost inevitably face the occasional health issue that demands attention. The appropriate response to this ailment may involve going to a hospital to consult a physician, and with this step, the situation can become very complicated, particularly for Americans.
Current Significance of Healthcare Issues in the United States
The significance of issues of healthcare in the minds of Americans was made especially clear this year with the recent presidential election. According to a survey taken between September 2003 and January 2004 by the nonprofit foundation The Commonwealth Fund, 57 percent of Americans classified the presidential candidates’ policies on reforming the healthcare system as “very important” in determining their vote for president (as cited in Mundell, 2004, para. 5). The large amount of concern regarding the issue of healthcare likely represents the widespread dissatisfaction with America’s current system. A 2004 Commonwealth Fund International survey indicates that citizens of the United States have significantly more negative feelings about their country’s healthcare system than any of the other industrialized nations that were surveyed, with one-third of adults in the U.S. calling for restructuring of the healthcare system (as cited in Gardner, 2004, para. 8). Since so many people are calling for change and demonstrating serious concern, the importance placed on the issue is logical.
Identified as the “single greatest problem confronting all Americans” on the cover of the Erik Eckholm’s analysis of former President Clinton’s Health Security Plan, Solving America’s Health-care Crisis (1993), it is obvious that politicians must address this serious public concern if they wish to retain support. The challenge for them, and for their supportive constituents, is to decide whether it is best to simply make minor adjustments in hopes of fixing the current system or to make significant changes and dramatically alter the face of healthcare in the United States. If politicians and citizens alike weigh their options thoughtfully, it should become clear that a socialized model is the best response to the widespread desire for quality healthcare because the current U.S. model is deeply flawed beyond repair, socialized models are very effective in other nations, and the socialized model would function efficiently in the United States.
Healthcare in the United States
Norma Raffel and Marshall Raffel’s The U.S. Health System: Origins and Functions presents a thorough history of healthcare in the United States and explains the present situation. The current U.S. system of federal healthcare came into being in 1965 through Congress’s amendment of the Social Security Act and the establishment of Medicare and Medicaid....