As someone who firmly believes that we live in the best country in the world, I still feel, quite simply, that our health care system is a joke. We are the only first world country that does not provide any sort of universal health care, which in my opinion means we are not fulfilling our obligation to our citizens as a nation. The efforts by President Barack Obama to expand health care across our population are undoubtedly a positive thing, and as a nation we should do more to support them.
To steal phrases from economists (yes, Democrats can cite economists as well) there is a market failure in the current market for health care. As private companies, the primary incentive for insurance companies is to make as much money as possible. In a capitalist market, that’s exactly what they should be doing. However, this does not mean that actual health care will be distributed efficiently. It means that the people who get health care are those who can afford it, rather than those who actually need it. For example, most insurance companies will not cover people with pre-existing conditions. For the insurance companies, that makes complete sense. They don’t want to pay out more for treatment than they have to. But this doesn’t make for a good health care policy. The federal government should step in and create a public option for those who wouldn’t be covered under private insurance. This means that private insurance would still be there for those who wanted it, but there would also be an option for those who wouldn’t be covered.
In the long run, mandatory health insurance will result in lower costs for everybody. By having all of our citizens buy into health insurance, there will be a better balance. The healthy will balance out the sick, the young balance out the old, and those with pre-existing conditions will be balanced out by those without. I understand that this will be a sweeping change from our current system. But if we claim to be the best country in the world, then it is something that we must do.