While many political issues are controversial and emotional for voters in America, few issues have created an outcry in recent years like the debate over health care reform. The arguments for and against such a comprehensive overhaul of the United States health care system are numerous and wide-ranging, as demonstrated by the scores of showings of support and protest against it. While it seems unlikely that few in the country could understand all of the ramifications of such a large bill, virtually everyone could find something they liked or did not like in the bill. Indeed, the one unifying aspect of all of the debate over the reform was the fact that everyone acknowledged that reform was needed, but as to what that alteration should be was the contentious part of the debate. While multiple arguments exist against the bill and numerous arguments exist in favor of the bill, in the end it seems evident that while the bill may not be popular among the entire American population, it is a necessary step in the right direction.
One of the most common arguments against this type of health care reform was the claim that it would permit too much intrusion into our lives by the government. Many, rallying to the same cry that Henry David Thoreau issued a century and a half ago, “I heartily accept the motto,—"That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically” (Thoreau, 1849), have expressed their complete opposition to increased government intervention into American lives. This basic idea is a fundamental component of our American system, although debate exists over the level to which it should be implemented. Many believe that the government is less efficient than the free market, since it operates outside of the typical financial boundaries that a system of supply and demand provides. This argument has little room for a counter-argument, since it is based upon an interpretation of basic American ideals and economics, rather than a more debatable topic. However, given the vast quantity of economic theories that abound, agreement on any economic matter is uncertain at best.
Critics have also pointed out the fact that other countries with similar or more drastic health care programs are doing poorly or failing. Indeed, one study found that:
“The findings suggest that universal health care systems such as Australia's, with mixed public/private funding and delivery allowing for 'choice' in heath care, may actually perpetuate health inequity. While such systems might ensure equity for patients with AMI, where guidelines for treatment are relatively well established, this is not the case for care of patients with angina, where high technology health care may be less urgent and more discretionary.” (Clements, Kelman, & Korda, 2009)
While comparing countries is invariably a difficult task given the wide varience in governments, cultural tendencies and economic realities, the...