Posted on Feb 02, 2009 by Sergio Ulloa
With the emergence of the modern global financial crisis, a number of issues previously relegated to the sidelines of the political agenda have started to present increased challenges to individuals and the world. One of the major problems facing government and citizens alike are ever increasing healthcare costs. Medical inflation
is currently growing at record levels, approximately 12-20% a year. One of the potential answers being posed by many governments worldwide is to create a comprehensive universal healthcare system. Universal healthcare, however, presents its own unique problems. While for some it can be viewed as a road to equality in many modern health care systems, others are of the opinion that the institution of such a system would stifle individual rights and liberties.
the government goes to the extremes of measuring citizens' waistlines once they are over 40, so as to make sure they are within their waistline limit. The penalty of being outside this limit is compulsory "re-education" dietary
advisement classes, in which you are told how to eat and what times to exercise. To some this would seem discriminatory, even reminiscent of an Orwellian 1984 society. However as the recession sets in, modern countries such as Germany, the U.K, Australia and New Zealand are looking at similar measures. Furthermore with the U.S looking at a possible universal healthcare system, under the new administration of Obama, it might not be long before Uncle Sam too is infringing his citizens' rights and individual liberties, in attempts to cut costs.
There are those who argue it is necessary for the government to regulate its citizen's diets and health when it operates a universal healthcare as it is the one who pays for the healthcare provided to these citizens. This seems to be the growing trend. In November 2007, in New Zealand a welsh marine cable specialist, Richard Trezise
, was denied entry into the country as his high BMI
was considered a possible future financial strain on the New Zealand healthcare system. This continued until his BMI was considered of "acceptable" standard. After returning home and slimming down to a more acceptable BMI, Richard returned and was granted entry. In Germany the government's new, aggressive, anti obesity initiative labels those who do not cooperate with the campaign as "antisocial". This is for their costing the government millions of extra euros in extra medical bills needed to service those individuals who are perceived to lead healthy lifestyles. In addition to this you can be denied access to medical facilities if you are not covered by a health insurance policy. Is sectioning off parts of the community not discriminatory?
If a universal healthcare came into action you would not be given a choice of plan; you are locked into the same plan as everybody else, regardless of your medical needs. Unlike in private insurance where you are given the choice of whether you want comprehensive health insurance or not. If a universal health insurance was initiated, you will, like every other citizen in your country, most likely have to wait for enormous periods of time to receive treatment. This is in part due to the heavy burden placed on upon public infrastructure that is based around universal healthcare, as there is only a finite amount of public doctors who can service the needs of all a country's citizens. Unlike private health insurance where you need to wait minimal time to see a doctor, as you are treated to the best medical facilities on offer. A universal healthcare system also requires mountains if paperwork to be filled out every time you get sick. Imagine taxation form statements every time you got sick. Unlike private health insurance where in most circumstances all you need is your receipt form the medical institution where you received medical treatment. So that you get what you pay for? So it is provided at great ease?
It is not debatable that of course healthy living and eating is good. Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and a little nudge in the right direction never hurt anyone. However, isn't personal health a concern of the individual? Free citizens should have the right to eat, drink and live how they want. It is when these little "nudges", like in Japan, lead to the "re-education
" of citizens in that country, that this crosses a line. What are we really getting when we are covered medically by our government? Shouldn't we have the right to choose what to eat and how to live?
In the U.S there is no fear of a restriction of rights due to a universal healthcare system, as the majority of health insurance is from private insurers. However with the new Obama era beginning, Promises have been made to provide a significantly cheaper national health insurance
for the average citizen. Sounds great, but how is Obama going to provide healthcare significantly cheaper than the current price? Instead of tackling the medical insurance situation, the Obama campaign should attempt to strike at the core of the problem, the actual healthcare facilities, and the ever growing problem, medical inflation. If the Obama campaign could accomplish slowing medical inflation and actually lower medical costs this would allow insurance, to have lower fees and premiums therefore lower health costs for all Americans.
Attempts by the government to regulate citizen's health, based upon the fact they are trying to limit costs, leads us more down the path to a nanny state, in which the government has control over our lives. However this path of loss of health rights is only applicable to those who are covered by universal healthcare. Those who are covered by private insurance will have the freedom to do what they want when they want, fully aware that in the event of the unexpected they will be medically safe. Freedom and sense of security may come at a higher price. However, this price guarantees us our rights. This price guarantees no discrimination. This price is guarantees fairness in price ensuring you only pay for what you use; and this price guarantees no dictation on how to live your life.