In the United States especially, anything that references “socialism” in any way is often considered a bad thing. It’s even considered “unpatriotic” to some, amounting to treason in the eyes of a few. Yet with socialized medicine, there is the possibility that the system of health care could be advantageous when compared to a free market health care system. Is socialized medicine something that every society should implement? Here are some pros and cons to consider on the subject.
The Pros of Socialized Medicine
1. It allows for equal opportunity care.
One of the primary reasons why people in a free market system of health care don’t go to the doctor is because they can’t afford to do so. Those without health insurance typically avoid a doctor’s visit, even if they are feeling sick, because they are worried about the monetary complications of their choice. Socialized medicine eliminates this.
2. It redistributes the health care costs in the GDP.
The costs of health care in the United States have hovered around 20% for close to a generation. By switching to a socialized style of health care, the overall costs of care are reduced so that income can go toward something more important than a doctor’s salary.
3. It makes accessing health care an easier proposition.
There is a lot of red tape in a free market health care system. From insurance cards to treatment authorizations to the fact that hospitals give patients about two dozen new billing accounts with every visit, there’s enough paperwork to give anyone a headache. Socialized medicine reduces this problem immensely.
The Cons of Socialized Medicine
1. It may create long delays in care.
Because everyone would have access to health care in a socialized medicine setup, it could create long waits to receive treatment. This would mean patients would wind up clogging emergency rooms or other urgent care facilities so that they could be seen with a health malady.
2. It could reduce the standard of care.
Under a free market system of health care, people can vote on who the best doctors are with their dollars. In socialized medicine, that isn’t always the case. Many patients are stuck visiting the available doctor, not their preferred doctor, and that creates the potential for misdiagnosis.
3. It increases the tax burdens of the working class.
Medical care has to be paid for in some way. In socialized medicine, it is paid for through taxation that occurs on a worker’s income. Although everyone receives medical benefits, those who don’t earn as much will invariably pay less for care than those who make more money.
Socialized medicine opens up the door for everyone to receive medical care, but there are some advantages and disadvantages that come with such a system. By evaluating all of the pros and cons of this subject, we can all decide if there are elements we would like to see incorporated into our community’s health care structures.