BUSINESS EXCHANGE: Why Not Universal Health Care?

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act hold up signs as the opinion for health care is reported outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, Thursday June 25, 2015. The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the nationwide tax subsidies under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, in a ruling that preserves health insurance for millions of Americans. The justices said in a 6-3 ruling that the subsidies that 8.7 million people currently receive to make insurance affordable do not depend on where they live, under the 2010 health care law. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Economically disadvantaged African-Americans experience poorer health care access and lower quality of care than whites. Blacks experience 30 to 40 percent poorer health outcomes. Yet, blacks stand steadfastly behind Obama and the failed Obamacare concept and legislation.

It’s apparent that the Republicans have failed to repeal and replace President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. But it’s not exactly time for black Americans to celebrate a plan and program that’s mediocre at best. Why can’t we opt for excellence? The U.S. spends more on health care than any other country. The U.S. spent $3.2 trillion on health care last year, and the average out-of-pocket cost for privately insured patients’ doctor visit is $49.

As a citizen of the world’s richest nation, if you believe that the Democratic or Republican health care plan is “the best we can do,” you’ve been hoodwinked. American leadership on this issue is lacking and you shouldn’t accept less than those in other rich countries. Universal health care exists in countries such as Denmark, Finland, Greece, Russia and the United Kingdom.

Universal health care refers to a system that provides health care and financial protection to all citizens. It’s organized around providing a specified package of benefits to all citizens with the end goal of providing financial risk protection, improved access to health services, and improved health outcomes. Universal health care can be determined by three critical dimensions: who is covered, what services are covered, and how much of the cost is covered. It’s described by the World Health Organization as a situation where citizens can access health services without incurring financial hardship.

Among the best health and health care systems in the world are:

1. Luxembourg — A wealthy country nestled between Belgium, France, and Germany, its average life expectancy is 82.
2. Singapore — A small city-state of 5.6 million citizens that have an average life expectancy of 83.1 years old.
3. Switzerland — Rich, beautiful and incredibly healthy, Switzerland’s health care service is universal based upon all citizen mandatory holding of health insurance.
4. Japan — The country’s life expectancy — 83.7 — is the highest on the planet. That is causing demographic issues as its population ages.
5. Netherlands — In 2015, the Netherlands gained the number one spot on the annual Euro health consumer index.
6. Sweden — Swedish men have the fourth-highest life expectancy of any nation, living to an average of 80.7 years.
7. Hong Kong — The tiny city-state has just over 7.2 million people. In 2012, women in Hong Kong had the longest average life expectancy of any demographic on earth.
8. Australia — The country is ranked as the healthiest nation in the southern hemisphere. Its average life expectancy is 82.8.
9. Israel — The highest ranked Middle Eastern state, Israel has the 8th highest life expectancy on the planet, 82.5 years.
10. Germany — Despite their love of beer and sausages, Germans are some of the world’s healthiest people with an average life expectancy of 81.
11. Belgium — The country has an average age of 81.1. It has universal health care and also mandates health insurance.
12. New Zealand has an average life expectancy of 81.6 years.
13. Norway — The country’s health care system is free for children under 16, but adults must pay for services. The country spends more per person on health care than any other country.
14. France — Famed for the quality of its health services, the country’s average life expectancy is 82.
15. Qatar — This Arab country has a universal health care system throughout.
16. Canada — The nation has a system of free at the point of access health care, known as Medicare.

Stop being punked! Enacting universal health care for Americans simply requires earnest and forthright efforts of Congress members. The first move towards a national health insurance system was launched in Germany in 1883, with the Sickness Insurance Law. Then the United Kingdom’s National Insurance Act 1911 provided primary coverage care. By the 1930s, similar systems existed across Western and Central Europe. Japan introduced its employee health insurance law in 1927. The Soviet Union established a fully public and centralized health care system in 1920. Call Congress and tell them that you want health care “just like theirs.”

William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via Busxchng@his.com.

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About William Reed 115 Articles
William Reed is President and Chief Executive Officer of Black Press International. He has been a Media Entrepreneur for over two decades. A well-trained marketing and communications professional, Reed has a national reputation for his expert writing, speaking, organizational, research, management and motivation abilities, along with strong managerial, presentation and sales skills.
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