The Washington Post has reported that there's a new health care system in town. President Obama signed an executive order formally creating the new White House Office of Health Reform yesterday. The office will work with government officials and agencies to provide high-quality, affordable, and accessible health care to U.S. citizens.
As someone who's currently paying COBRA fees, I was ecstatic when Obama enacted the stimulus package, which guarantees the government will cover 65% of COBRA costs for those eligible to receive the benefit. I'm one of those people who goes to the doctor a lot and has prescriptions to worry about, so I have to pay for health insurance. But many people I know, either out of work or freelancing, choose to live without health coverage, keeping their fingers crossed that they don't get into a serious accident.
I recently discussed the pros and cons of universal health care coverage with a friend of mine from Canada who's now living and working in the U.S. She said the main benefit to having universal health care in Canada is not having to worry about co-pays -- you will be taken care of no matter what. The down side, in her opinion, is that doctors don't do as much testing. She finds the doctors in the U.S. to be extremely thorough and focused on prevention. In Canada, doctors usually tackle problems when they arise. For example, she had a sty on her eye that her doctor in Canada told her to treat with warm compresses. In the U.S., a doctor recommended surgically removing that same sty. Though the thoroughness made her feel better at first, the more she experienced health care in the U.S., the more she started to feel like she was at a car dealership every time she went for a check-up -- doctors tried to sell her the necessity and importance of expensive tests that she had to decide if she really needed or not. After all, the costs of tests brings in money. She has started to question whether doctors are really looking out for her best interest or if they're being overly cautious.
Do you think we should have universal health care? Why or why not?