For Or Against Universal Healthcare? People Tell Us Why.

I was on vacation last week in Scotland with my wife. They have universal healthcare over there, and this was our experience. I was sitting in bed when I heard a scream. my wife had failed down in the shower and was bleeding everywhere. I called the front desk at the hotel. 

Within 10 minutes, we were in an ambulance and off to the ER. The ambulance called up a few hospitals and took us to the least busy one in the area. After about two hours (they had to check for a concussion) we were on our way.

The good: The healthcare was free. We explained we were American but they didn't care and the reception woman said, "Don't worry, Scotland has you covered. The reality is that there was no one to take payment, because you don't need to give one. 

In the US, as long as youre not about to die, I feel like they worry more about who is paying than what is wrong with you. This also sped things up considerably.

The Bad: There was no privacy. The nurses were interviewing people in the waiting area. For example, there was someone there who got slipped a mickey at a party. Her father was telling the crying girl, "Youre classy, not trashy, over and over again.

The doctor was also kind of grumpy!

Overall my experience with socialized medicine was pretty good - no death squads, fast service. Lets hear some other stories of socialized healthcare, and after experiencing it I have no idea how anyone in their right mind would not want it.


I think a lot of people are afraid the government will screw it up like it screws everything else up. The DMV is a mess. The VA is a mess. Our infrastructure is crumbling. Our military can't even win a war against a small rebel group in the desert after 16+ years.

These people think the government will screw up healthcare too. And, frankly, so far they have been.

For the record, I support single-payer healthcare. It's just important to see things from the oppositions side.


You will be hard-pressed to find an American who actually opposes the idea of "universal healthcare" in the US and has a reason for it. (Universal =/= single-payer. Universal simply means that everyone has it.)

The disagreement primarily comes over how to achieve said universal healthcare. What most of us are opposing is government run healthcare.

I oppose the government too willingly stepping in because:

1) I've used government healthcare before and its inefficiency is why I'm still living in constant pain.

2) Our country has 330,000,000 people. Larger than the next first world country by something like 100,000,000. Yet ~40% pay net-negative taxes. How do you plan to pay for this?

3) Obamacare has been a complete disaster for my family. Why would I ever trust the government managing my healthcare again?

Those are the major reasons. Most people who disagree with government-run healthcare will probably cite one of those four reasons as why.

I would love a system like Canadas, but the fact is that America is simply too big to do it that way. Not unless you jack up taxes, which will mostly affect the people who can already afford their own healthcare. So that kind violates the whole idea of capitalism and freedom. 

If you simplified the tax code and actually got people off of the government's welfare system and into the workforce and paying taxes, maybe we can make government healthcare work.

In the meantime, I would prefer we strip away limitations on insurers competing across the country and eliminate the stupid ban on buying drugs from Canada.


Our country spends so much on healthcare, and we have worse results than other countries with universal healthcare who spend less, where the government doesn't actively punish people for being sick.


Healthcare can't be a right because someone has to provide it to you. If someone has to provide it to you, it by definition cannot be a right. This means that it is a service.

The government isn't supposed to provide services. It is supposed to protect our rights. That's it, and nothing more.


Im in favor of change because of the sheer complexity of the private market. How am I supposed to make sure that the in-network hospital is using an in-network anesthesiologist? I just switched jobs - do I have to switch doctors? What is and isn't covered? That's only going to get more complex when I get older. I'd rather have a system I know that doesn't change when my boss wants to spend less money.


Healthcare is a service, not a right. When you make healthcare a right, premiums and deductibles increase annually to subsidize the people who abuse the system. An example is complications related to obesity. People who are not obese have to foot the bill for the infrastructure and the care for someone who literally has no self-control when eating. Healthcare would be in a much better state if it modelled itself after car insurance.


Why is this still a debate? Do some research on how this works literally all over Europe and Canada and Australia. The U.S. is just way too full of greedy hateful people who don't care if you die.


Im against universal healthcare because I think many healthcare-related issues are entirely preventable and shouldn't be my responsibility.

Getting lung cancer because you smoke. Liver failure from alcoholism. A fractured skull from not wearing a seatbelt.

Skin cancer from tanning beds. Two-thirds of our country is overweight guaranteeing heart problems among a huge variety of other health issues.

I took care of my body, I didn't destroy and abuse it with cigarettes, drugs, or fast food. Why should a massive chunk of my pay-check be given to enable the already unhealthy to continue their decline? Complications can require expensive medication for decades, complications that could be resolved if the person just took some responsibility for themselves. 

I like the idea of helping out the unlucky people who did nothing wrong and got screwed over anyways. But a huge amount of money goes toward treating entirely avoidable medical problems, and I don't think it's fair that I'm obligated to keep cleaning up after and enabling people who rely on others.


I have no insurance because I cant afford it through my work, and the state sees me as just over the line for any kind of aid whatsoever. To top it all off, I get to see maybe 10 percent of my tax return, the rest covering the stupid fine for not having any insurance. Inflation rates in every sector are out of control, and in the decade since I turned 18, my rent in any area within hundreds of miles is close to double what it was when I started out. Meanwhile, my wages are lower. This is nearly unsustainable, and will be soon. I need healthcare for the simple reason that I need to be able to work.

I dont care about being healthy; I need someone to keep me tuned up just enough so I can keep a roof over my wife and kids. I want to be healthy, but at leI ast need an oil change every now and then\, or the whole system will break down.


I'm upper middle class and have good, free (for me) health insurance through my work. I would gladly pay an extra 7% in taxes to allow people less privileged than me to have an opportunity to go to the doctor when they are sick without worrying about bankruptcy. It's just about empathy, really.


I'm for universal healthcare in the abstract sense. I consider it a basic right for all to have. But it's an entirely separate issue when it comes to putting it into practice, and I honestly don't think we will ever be able to get it right.


I do not believe that healthcare is a power given to the federal government by the Constitution, seeing as my personal health is not interstate commerce.

I'm not opposed to it at the state level, nor would I be opposed if two-thirds of the states ratified an amendment giving the power to the federal government.


To be clear, I dislike Obamacare. I think it's a problematic system and I used it for 3 years. As a young, healthy individual, before Obamacare I could afford to pay $200 to see a doctor for sick visits sometimes. After, that $200 was going towards my health insurance each month, and I couldn't afford to see my doctor at all (you pay full price until you reach your cap). 

In the 2 years I had Obamacare, I didn't see a doctor once. In my third year, a simple mixup with my state caused a huge problem, and I was left with no insurance at all until I found a job that offered private insurance.

With all that said, I do support a universal health care system, and would prefer it to be more like Canada where I pay higher taxes, but my coverage is unconditional. Everyone deserves good quality care.

It really didn't make sense to me why Obamacare was setup the way it was. Requiring everyone without health care to sign up manually just cost tons in extra cash.


$249,000. That is how much it cost my friend's wife to die before Obamacare. She had a heart attack. She received one ambulance ride, and went straight into the operating room. She was in the morgue within 2 hours of entering the hospital, and they sent my friend a bill for $249,000.

It should not cost a quarter of a million dollars to die. Obamacare helped with getting more people on insurance, but the prices are still extreme. Single-payer is the only way to give patients an advocate against big pharmaceutical companies. Single-payer will be able to bargain and set prices much lower than they are now.

Besides, doesn't it just make sense? If I am going to pay 30% of my wages in taxes, shouldn't healthcare be included in that price? If my parents, grandparents, and children will ALL be paying 30% of their wages in taxes, they shouldnt be put in the poorhouse simply because they get sick.


Im in favor of changing the healthcare system because we need to cut out the middle-man entirely. Clearly, the insurance industry wouldn't like this, but let's be honest here: they're one of the biggest reasons prices and service are so messed up.

Also, if you're in medicine to get rich, maybe you're in the wrong field of work.


Healthcare and college are the two industries whose costs have skyrocketed and quality has gone down. They are also the two industries with heavy government subsidies, regulation, and a third party in between the consumer and the provider (insurance, student loans). We need less of these things if we want cheaper, better healthcare, not more.


I should not be forced to pay for something if I can either A) find better, cheaper service elsewhere, or B) not buy it in the first place.

I am a young adult male. I eat healthy. I exercise regularly. I haven't been to the doctor, not even for a physical check-up in over 10 years. 

With universal healthcare comes a price. A price that I cannot negotiate or shop around for. I have one option. No. Absolutely not.

I have catastrophic insurance. I am liable for anything short of me breaking every bone in my body, which is fine by me. It is a risk I choose to take. In the mean time, I am putting away the couple hundred dollars per month that I dont being spent into a retirement account.


I have an American friend who is HIV positive. It costs him $2,500 a month to stay alive. He actually has to make sure that he doesn't accept a job which would pay him over the welfare cut-off, because then he wouldnt be able to afford to stay alive. What kind of country stands by and lets their people die slow, miserable deaths for being poor?


The NY Times has an interesting piece on doctors from Cuba who compare their condition to slavery. I think many people see a universal healthcare system as unfair to most participants. Healthy people who take care of their bodies are paying for people who freely choose to destroy it. Doctors are forced to treat people at standard rates. Hospitals, without the hope of better funding/name recognition/profits, will lose the incentive to provide better service. It is successful in some countries, but our country is vast, populous, and diverse.

Last but not least, in principle, there's nothing stopping states from creating their own universal healthcare system. Ask yourself, if universal healthcare is truly the better answer, then why does the federal government need to force it on every state? States are free to pass universal healthcare systems, free to tax their constituents as they see fit, and individuals will have a greater say in their own healthcare system. Why are people intent on forcing something on people that they don't want?

If universal healthcare is so great, let California pass legislation and show how effective it is. Show in practice how everyone benefits. Don't tell. If it's as good and as cheap as everyone says it'll be, other states would be stupid not to follow suit. The laboratories of democracy and all that jazz.


Any system that lets an insurance company decide whether I live or die, then makes money from that decision, is a corrupt and broken system.


I'm a doctor. I've worked in so-called developing nations which provided total and full care to patients admitted in their government hospitals, even covering medications like chemotherapy. There would perhaps be added costs for certain investigations, but there would also be ways to reduce the price, or perhaps even get it free in certain cases.

It boggles my mind that in my own country, this shining landmark of freedom and prosperity, I'd often have to simply stabilize a patient and tell them they had to be discharged as their insurance either no longer could cover them or they were uninsured. 

I know so many people who don't go to the hospital when they need to for fear of costs. Some go abroad. Many patients buy their medicines from Canada. I didn't become a doctor to not help others. It physically pains me not to be able to treat and cure as many people as I possibly can.


Sources: 1, 2

Answers edited for clarity.

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