The Healthcare Sector must cater to all sections instead of only for those who can pay
The Fight over Healthcare in the United States
The passage of the Affordable Healthcare Act or the Obamacare as it is also known as widely greeted by many underprivileged Americans who finally had the opportunity to access quality Healthcare at minimal cost. The provisions of this act meant that Employers had to mandatorily cover their employees under Health Insurance and the coverage had to include dependents of the employees. However, despite this overwhelming support from liberals and Democrats, the conservatives and the Republicans have literally tried a hundred times to block this Act from being implemented. Their latest move to link the budget deal that would shutdown the government with the plan to defund Obamacare is indeed retrograde and regressive.
What is the point of denying healthcare that until now were unable to afford quality care because the Republicans and the conservatives insist that the businesses would be hit.
In other words, the fight and the debate over Obamacare have turned nasty, as the denial of healthcare access to the underprivileged is an assault on the fundamental rights of the citizens. Indeed, if anything else, this represents the fight over whether the healthcare sector must cater to only those can pay and deny access to those who cannot afford it.
Why there is a need for Healthcare for All
Continuing the last point of the previous section, this ideological debate over whether healthcare is part of the welfare state and forms the core of the welfare agenda is going on in other countries as well. though there are many countries in the world that profess to have universal healthcare subsidized by the state, the reality is that this subsidized healthcare is often so awful and lacking in quality that the poor are also forced to pay through their nose for healthcare.
Indeed, the primary cause of bankruptcies in the United States (according to data and research) is that the individuals were unable to pay for expensive treatments. As data is not available for many developing countries, one can only surmise how the poor and the marginalized in the developing and the Third World countries are suffering because they cannot afford quality healthcare.
As the case of countries like India shows, healthcare sectors in these countries are again functioning based on extending the best possible treatment for those who can pay instead of including everyone in the ambit of the healthcare system.
Investments in Healthcare Lead to the Development of Human Capital
It has often been said that along with the education sector, the healthcare sector does not provide any returns to the governments for their investments as these are not revenue generating sectors. This does not mean that the governments of the developing countries abandon these sectors because they view these sectors as being a drain on their resources instead of providing revenues. However, this is what is happening in practice around the world where the government runs hospitals and primary healthcare centers are poorly funded and lack adequate facilities.
What the governments of the developing countries have to realize is that spending on education and healthcare sectors contributes to the development of human capital and social capital, which is so essential to the development of their countries.
Indeed, Nobel Laureates like Amartya Sen have exhorted the governments of the developing countries to invest in these sectors as the precondition or the prerequisite for development. They have pointed to the success of countries like South Korea that have invested in their citizens starting from the 1960s and are now reaping the rewards of enhanced human and social capital that have powered their economic growth. This is the crux of the argument that is being made in this article and that is to do with ensuring access to healthcare for all and not only to those who can pay.
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