Obamacare, despite claims from its critics that it is a federal-government annexation of the American health care system, is evolutionary, not revolutionary. It maintains and expands the American system of Medicaid by expanding its current system of delivering health care through private insurance companies. There is still no public option for health care in the United States.
The New York Times recently released an opinion series on Obamacare. In it, nine pieces were published on various aspects of the law. The majority of these were supportive of Obamacare. However, Professor David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler argued that public health care is more effective than private health care as it reduces overhead costs, removes middlemen from the medical supply chain, and would result in more equitable coverage.
Whether or not Americans actually want universal health care is an entirely other matter. Studies have shown that Americans either support or oppose universal health care depending on how the questions are phrased. At the moment the majority of Americans do not support Obamacare. This number should be taken with a grain of salt, however, as over a quarter of these respondents who opposed Obamacare viewed it as insufficient.
Questions remain about the law's deficiencies. Thirty million Americans will remain uninsured in 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Despite this, the CBO also reported that Obamacare will decrease Medicare spending both presently and in the future.
Those who question Obamacare are right to be concerned. Despite its stated goals there is a better system available to Americans. The Canadian system, a public universal health care system, has been shown to be a better way forward. Canada pays less per capita on health care than United States. Canada’s health care has been shown by the World Health Organization to be a more effective system.
It is worth noting that the underlying methods of this study have been criticized by the Congressional Research Service. Despite this the Canadian system has been shown to grant greater medical access to all Canadians than the American system. Additionally outcomes in the Canadian medical system scored slightly better than their American counterparts, though not enough for researchers to declare the findings consistent.
Around the world, people in lower socioeconomic brackets are less able to get the health care they need and consequently suffer more health problems. This problem is more pronounced in the U.S., where more Americans remain uninsured and unable to receive the medical treatment they need. The majority of Americans do not favor a single-payer system. Again, this is unfortunate as the system would solve the country's health care needs.
Between the cries of liberty and socialism, those who most often oppose universal health care are the very same people the system would benefit the most. In this case we have voters in Mississippi and Tennessee voting against their own socio-economic interests. Therefore an equitable system remains a flight of fancy at best. Obamacare, under the present circumstances, might be viewed as the next best thing. This is a shame, as Americans deserve better than a flawed and overly complicated band-aid solution. Whether they will get it remains to be seen.