The health care in California is definitely in need of reform to provide assistance to the millions of people currently either without health insurance or without a very efficacious one; in my opinion, the best approach to this overarching problem lies with SB 840, namely state funded universal health care. This particular proposal would, in effect, overhaul the broken health care system in California, providing efficiency, convenience, and statewide assistance for everyone despite each individual’s socioeconomic status.
First, it is important to note that regardless of the kind of health care system, all citizens should be ensured health care as health continues to be one of the most fundamental issues on not only an individual interest but of also state interest. From a moral standpoint, it is unacceptable that so many citizens are denied health care and their government, has failed to change this yet, despite having the ability to do so. From an economic standpoint, people should be kept healthy so that they may remain productive citizens and continue contributing to the economy through their active participation in the civilian work force. If people with illnesses could not see a doctor because they lacked the proper health insurance either because they could not afford it or their insurance policies do not cover their illness, then their inability to work would adversely affect economic productivity. Essentially, it is not really a question of whether the current healthcare system should be changed to ensure that more Californians are insured, but how California should go about doing so.
With regards on how to reform California’s health care, it would not be wise to leave citizens’ well-being to the discretion of private health insurance companies. The main concern is the “private” aspect: when given the chance to privately own a company, profit incentive hinders the effectiveness of the system. The drive of private health insurance companies to make money, then, shall always precede the interests of those they are supposed to serve. The goal of private companies becomes that of making money, and no matter how one could look at it, private health insurance companies would ensure a profit at the expense of the people’s health, whether by continuing to raise premiums to unaffordable prices for the people, minimizing the benefits that the people can receive, etc. On the contrary, if the task of providing citizens with health care fell in the hands of the government, as an entity elected by the people and meant to protect the people, the health insurance industry becomes less a means of profiting and more so to provide for the people’s well-being.
Furthermore, by having the state provide universal health care, the task of paying for the people’s medical expenses becomes further simplified in that sense that all matters are delegated to a single bureaucracy rather than the many of thousands bureaucracies within thousands of private health insurance industries. It would therefore eliminate the bulk of paperwork that has to be processed between patients, doctors, insurance companies, etc., thus creating a more efficient process, linking medical billing and expenses directly between the doctor and the government without the need for continuous relays between several individuals and organizations.
The single-payer health insurance would also help ensure that money is properly spent for the overall benefit of the citizens, instead of having money go into the pockets of private individuals. Because all transactions will be overseen by a single entity, the allocation of funds can efficiently be spent on specific needs. For example, this money can be used on bulk items in terms of medicine and other medical supplies that can be used statewide, thus reducing unit costs and saving money that would otherwise have been spent on more expensive items bought on an individual basis under private health insurance companies.
Ultimately, a single-payer health care system is the best long term goal because the nature of the system ensures economic equity in terms of guaranteeing universal and, more importantly, accessible health care to all Californians. People would no longer need to worry about whether or not their health insurance would cover their medical conditions; instead they will receive the medical care that they need from the government without the personal economic repercussions.