Universal healthcare has always been a hot button topic in our country. However, the last few years have seen many arguments over how we should handle the current health care crisis. As healthcare costs rise and the economy worsens the threat of large medical bills has loomed over almost every American citizen. While some politicians have been proponents of Universal Healthcare or a single payer insurance system, many more are convinced it will be the ruin of the country’s health industry. The health care industry is a big part of the high cost of care in our country. Politicians need to take an active role in either taking control of the abuse perpetrated by this industry, or give citizens an alternative. Americans currently live in fear of their insurance provider. In 2010, the CDC reported in its National Health Interview Survey that 18% of our population under 65 is uninsured (1). However, about 43% of poor and near poor adults under 65 are uninsured (3).
The inequality in healthcare access to Americans is almost as wide as the gap between the rich and the poor. This lack of coverage seriously affects the mental health of almost every American, but particularly affects those with no health care coverage. For these citizens, there is an overwhelming fear of the next illness. It may bring a small bill from their doctor, or could result in a diagnosis that could result astronomical costs. Many times medical bills lead to financial ruin. The mental toll this apprehension takes on one’s wellbeing is small but persistent. It leads many to avoid preventive care. This results in a less productive life for the person, and in the end, it often causes high costs. The United States is the only industrialized nation that lacks some form of universal health coverage for its citizens. It also has the highest health costs of any nation.
Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs states immediate physiological needs at the bottom of its pyramid. Immediately after that is self-protection (Waterstone). While the traditional thought of immediate physiological needs involves food, shelter, and clothing, maintaining health certainly plays a big roll in feeling secure. If it’s not an immediate need, it definitely falls under self protection. We do not live in a world where we may be attacked by wild cats or tribal enemies, but we do live in a world where we are highly likely to contract a life threatening disease or break a limb.
Having access to treat these risks in life is not a privilege. It is a necessary right. To be denied access, or forced to wait until you are at death’s door for help is a seriously blow to not only health but self worth. When you do not have healthcare coverage, it can eat away at ones sense of worth and well being like a disease, a completely preventable state of anxiety about life.