America needs universal health care

By By Melissa Schack

By Melissa Schack

Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, and Sen. Ron Wynden, D-Ore., have co-sponsored a brilliant act that would create a universal health care system. The Healthy Americans Act would make health insurance required by law with the premiums being paid through income tax filings that would be on an income-based scale.

The universal health care idea usually isn’t supported by Republicans but it seems that Bennett is going in the right direction. Seeing Republicans change their minds about how the health of the people should be handled can be seen as a chance for the future of universal health care in our country. This is exactly what is needed to solve our health care problems.

Bennett claims that the act, if made law, would cover 45 million Americans who are uninsured, which includes 30,000 in Utah. Also, since those who are uninsured are usually those that cannot afford health insurance, with this system they would have lower premiums than normal. With more people insured, thousands of deaths could be prevented.

In addition, prevention would be emphasized more instead of just treatment. Normally, people without health insurance only seek medical care when they are very ill and they often go to an emergency room which costs much more than a family doctor. Since the system would focus on being affordable, people would be able go to annual checkups without the fear of cost, thus preventing or treating early the illnesses that put people in the emergency room.

Other areas that would improve by providing insurance universally would be the high infant mortality rate and an improvement in healthy life expectancy.

Year after year, our country continues to fall behind others when it comes to these factors. For a rich, industrialized nation that spends the most money on health care in the world, this shouldn’t happen.

It is easy to see how important legislation is with the health care system in the United States because we are considered one of the worst of all industrialized nations when it comes to the quality of our health care system.

Unfortunately, in an article in The Salt Lake Tribune, Bennett claimed that there is less than a 50/50 chance that the act will become federal law with the current Congress. But, the Healthy Americans Act shows a great start to making sure everyone has adequate health coverage.

Even if this act does not pass it is likely to spawn other acts that will ultimately improve the national health care system.

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