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Free Health Care or Not?

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Free Health Care or Not?

Kelvin Cooley

PHI103: Informal Logic

Instructor: Aaron Dukette

January 23, 2017

Free Health Care or Not?

        One of the most valuable marvels of modern science is the advancements made in the medical field.  These improvements have increased life expectancy by over 30 years over the last 200 years.  We’ve learned to treat all sorts of issues from trauma to other chronic illnesses.  We all know that health care is a fundamental part of society but over the last decade, a vigorous debate has arisen over who has the responsibility to pay for it.  Should the government provide free Universal Health Care or should the private individual be required to purchase their own?

        This paper will present a logical argument on one side of that debate, consider objections from the other side, and ultimately defend the position that Universal Health Care should be free in America.

My argument for this thesis goes as follows:

P. Free Universal Healthcare will save lives

P. Free Universal Health Care would create jobs and grow the economy

P. Free Universal Health Care would stop medical bankruptcies

C. Therefore, Universal Health Care should be free in America

        The argument above is inductive. Although the conclusion is derived from the premises, it is still possible to reach another conclusion, and if one of these premises were proven false, it is still possible to reach the stated conclusion.  The first premise lays out the most important factor and the primary reason for health care in the first place; which is to save lives.  The last two premises focus on the economic benefits of free universal health care.

          For the first premise, we all know that health care can save lives, so It’s not a difficult to imagine that more access to health care would save more lives.  People without health insurance are more likely to be delayed in seeking care, which means they will probably miss preventive screenings for deadly but treatable diseases such as cancer, HIV, hepatitis, etc.  Uninsured people will also not be treated for chronic illnesses that are easily curable.  All of this presents uninsured individuals with a much higher risk of death. More insured people means more lives saved.  (Ayanian -Weissman,-Schneider-Ginsburg- Zaslavsky, 2000)

             The second premise is an excellent premise. The primary factor of any country's economy is the success of business. In America, the heart of our economy is small businesses. Most small businesses are having one of two issues.  One is that most small businesses cannot afford to provide health insurance for their employees due to how expensive health care is, which results in quality employees leaving small businesses for large corporate companies who can provide. The second problem is that if small businesses provide health insurance for their employees, they can only afford to have a few employees, which equates to fewer jobs. Even the large companies who can afford health insurance spend a lot of money on the health care plans which mean less hourly wages for the employees.  If America had free Universal healthcare, Small Businesses would be able to hire more workers, which would mean more jobs.  Larger corporations wouldn’t have to spend money on healthcare, in which they would be able to pay higher wages.  Higher wages would enable Americans to spend more money which would, in turn, grow the economy.

        My final premises states that free universal healthcare would eliminate bankruptcies due to medical circumstances. No one should ever have to file bankruptcy due to a medical illness. It ruins your life.  You get sick and can’t afford to pay your medical bills, so you have to file bankruptcy, which ruins your credit. Now you can’t get a loan for anything including a house or car. You can’t lease an apartment. In some cases, you can’t even get a job. According to Himmelstein, Warren, Thorne, & Woolhandler, (2005) “between 1.8 million and 2.2. million Americans experienced medical bankruptcy. Among individuals who illness led to bankruptcy, out-of-pocket costs averaged $11,854 since the start of the illness. 75.7% had insurance at the onset of the illness” (abstract).

        The popular counterargument to this position is that a universal healthcare system will raise taxes. The current system under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is mainly employer insurance based and is financed through employers and is incentivized by tax credits to the individual and the company (Gruber, 2011). A single payer system would eliminate all tax incentives and require an increase in taxes to cover.  Looking at the European models of health care, most European middle-class citizens pay between 30-45% of their income in taxes.  The average American family pays on average 20% of their earnings in taxes, and Americans regularly complain currently about paying too much money in taxes.


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