What’s So Bad About Universal Health Care?

This was the question I confronted when I was interviewed by a delegation of reporters from a Danish television station’s New York bureau on May 7. But something different from the stereotypical “What’s so bad about universal health care?” question had been posed.  The questioners were different from anyone I had been confronted by before.  These people were themselves Europeans who actually wanted to know why America was so far behind when it comes to universal health care.  

The reporters I was speaking with were not the typical American agenda-driven liberals from the mainstream press engaging in “gotcha” journalism.  These reporters really wanted to know.  

Their want was also something personal.  As Europeans, and especially as Danes, universal health care is a common, prevalent, and often seen aspect of their daily lives.  These reporters honestly wanted to know why the most powerful country in the world is “behind the curve” of what seems to be the latest advancement in healthcare. These reporters seemed to be saying that if Europe does it, everyone should do it, and by saying this, they reflected a sentiment shared by many all over Europe.  

Why, they seemed to plead, is America not accepting the advice of Europe?  Why is the greatest country in the world not listening to her ally Great Britain, for example, who has enacted universal health care?  The beliefs, and emotions, of these reporters reflect the thoughts of many Europeans: that America’s policies are most successful when they meet up with the policies of Europe. The question now is whether or not the policies of American and Europe should be the same on health care.
The "What’s so bad about universal health care — Europe does it, why shouldn’t we?” is intended to be leading, almost rhetorical. The mainstream press, as well as many liberal politicians, would answer that there is no reason that we should not enact universal health care, if for no other reason except that it is normal in Europe.  They say that if it is good enough for a plurality of countries — Denmark, Sweden, Great Britain, just to name a few — then it should be good enough for America as well.  

But their argument is poorly constructed.  If, for example, Denmark, Sweden, Great Britain, and others instituted a law that said everyone must jump off a bridge, would we institute the law in America also? Europe is Europe; let it burn its health care system to the ground if it wants to, but as for America, let us make our own decisions.
America is constantly plagued by leaders and citizens of European countries who advocate America socializing its medical system.  Europeans say that it has worked for them.  The fact is many people who say this have either never experienced enough economic freedom to understand, or they have never been taught the difference between the value of a capitalist healthcare system and a governmentally-controlled socialized medical system.  

When a board of government officials runs the world of medicine — as President Obama’s proposal would have it — how can anyone who had studied history believe it will get better rather than worse?  When the government puts all other health care companies out of business, won’t there be a number of serious economic concerns, as well as a number of serious problems for the taxpayer’s pocket, not to mention the great many private sector jobs that will be lost because private health care institutions are unable to compete with the government?  Just because Europeans promote it, doesn’t mean that it is in America’s best economic interest.
Moreover, which country gets more immigrating persons annually, Denmark or the United States?  Hands down, the United States. Some estimate 12,000,000 people have crossed the border of the United States illegally, and the number continues to grow, because they want to experience things such as our health care system.  Can Denmark say that a similar number of people choose the same desperate measures to get across their border so that they can experience European countries?  

No. America is the nation people emigrate to, not from, because we have a great health care system, a great economy, and because we have a free and independent private sector.  Neither Denmark nor any of the other European universal healthcare nations is as vigorously sought after because none have any of these things.  

Europe’s government-dominated economies are suffering more in this recession because they choose to institute unnecessary, harmful, government programs; and America is successful, to be brutally honest, because it avoids doing almost everything that Europe wants it to.  
America is a nation that has a free economy, and, in turn, a private-sector health care system.  Many liberals, however, propose that we make America less unique among the nations of the world. They want to assimilate America into European styles and tone down health care. We fought a war in the 1770s and 1780s to rid ourselves of other countries determining our fate. Why should we do everything with the consultation of foreign power now? We shouldn’t. John Adams said it best, “I cannot express it better than in his [John Jay’s] own words: ‘to be honest and grateful to our allies, but to think for ourselves.’ ”

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HYEIIFEQV5DO3NSIFDYSU7ZZCU Gurinder Singh

    You didn’t answer the question. What is so bad about universal healthcare? Corporation and health care companies are pushing this anti-European motion that is spreading throughout conservatism ; however, with universal healthcare the skyrocketing profits of these companies may be reduced. Many more lives could be saved as well. I’m a seventeen year old that can understand this…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Aaron-Warren/100000072316829 Aaron Warren

    I am trying to write a paper and I am searching for an educated view from an opponent of Universal Healthcare. It seems that my search must go on. Can one person give me one good reason that does not go back to our doctors want to make money. We lag so far behind the rest of the world in healthcare and we are so ignorant as to believe that one day our system will start to work. If the rest of the world is doing it and it works then does it take a rocket scientist to figure it out. What kind of ignoramus uses that stupid if Europe jumped of a bridge analogy? So I guess to answer the question if Europe jumped off a bridge would I do it? I guess if they jumped off a bridge and every one lived a longer happier life then yes I would do it as well!

  • nicolasue1 .

    As someone who has lived in a country with Universal Healthcare for her entire life, I am honestly confused as to why America does not want it. In New Zealand, whenever I have been sick I have been able to see a doctor straight away. I personally would have no idea which “specialists” I would need, so I think that having a general doctor is brilliant, as they then refer me to the correct specialist if needed. The waiting lists for specialists and hospital treatments is only slightly long depending on the urgency of your condition, but if you are diagnosed with something potentially fatal, you are placed on the top of the list and can quite often expect to have things all dong (for free) within the week. Hospital care is also really good from what I can see. When I was a child, I only ever got the best care and was never rushed out of hospital, and when people have children, they too are not rushed out and are given nurses who teach them how to look after the babies and will then set them up with a family service known as “Plunket” which will have appointments with you to keep track of the childs progress healthwise and mentally and will help you to provide the best parenting possible. I am honestly very confused here. Please, someone educated provide me with a reason why America does not want Universal Healthcare, a system which will freely/cheaply provide for quality healthcare.

  • Jake Ryan

    I’ve lived and worked in the United States (Alabama, Idaho, California, and Texas), Germany, United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden, Japan, and South Korea. I’ve received medical care in each of these countries and had the pleasure to be part of their communities. I’ve had both positive and negative experiences with each system of healthcare. No system is perfect and no system is ever going to make everyone happy. But I have found that Europeans tend to be more accepting of their healthcare system and generally live happier lives than their American rivals. Maybe they might not have as many freedoms as Americans or live in as much excess prosperity as your average American, but they seem HAPPIER. I know I was always less stressed and even felt more free, during the years I lived in Europe. Life was simpler and because of their social healthcare systems I felt less worried when medical problems arose. Granted my living quarters were smaller, my cars weren’t as flashy, and I prayed for air conditioning and a place to eat at 2:00 AM, but all-in-all I truly enjoyed the community spirit and cultural aspects of my experience in those countries. The European life isn’t for everyone, but this American truly valued it. I have recently moved back to the U.S to be closer to family, but I hope to return to a happier life in Europe one day. Just one opinion of someone that has lived in both world’s.

  • Mike

    From what I have read both universal health care and private health care have extremely compelling arguments. However there are a lot more cons for universal health care, social/communist polices do not work as well as capitalist policies (that’s why we won the Cold War).

    We have the best medical system in world. It is commonly said that we have the 37 best system in the world by the WHO. However the WHO based that criteria on things like life expectancy and equality among services.

    The USA has a lower than average life expectancy because of fire arm accidents and drunk car crashes. In fact if you make it to 75 year are more likely to make it to 90 than in any other country. Also the USA has the highest percent of cancer survivors.
    Since we have a capitalist system there is no equality among services as such we got a low score for that too,
    Our healthcare is the best in the world, it was just rated against European socialist standards, so obviously we look bad by their failing standards.

    Europe is a mess and we definitely should not be taking their advice, they think they are all great/arrogant because they ruled the world a 100 years ago. Well Europe is falling apart as multiple countries go into default,

    Capitalism has allowed the USA to dominate the global economy and while its not perfect it works very well compared to other systems.