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Why Doesn’t the US Have Universal Healthcare?

Photo of stethoscope, pills, glasses, and medical chart
The United States does not provide universal health care to its citizens.

Here’s a table that outlines some of the key reasons why the US does not have universal healthcare:

CostImplementing a universal healthcare system would be expensive, and the US government is already heavily in debt. Some estimates suggest that universal healthcare could cost trillions of dollars over a ten-year period.
Political oppositionUniversal healthcare is a politically charged issue, with some people arguing that it would represent government overreach and lead to lower-quality care. This has made it difficult to gain support for universal healthcare legislation.
Insurance industryThe US has a large private insurance industry that is opposed to universal healthcare, as it could threaten their profits and market share. This has led to intense lobbying against universal healthcare proposals.
State-level controlThe US Constitution gives states considerable power to regulate healthcare, which has led to a fragmented and unequal healthcare system. Some states have expanded Medicaid and implemented other measures to increase access to healthcare, but others have not.
Cultural beliefsSome Americans are opposed to universal healthcare on philosophical grounds, arguing that it goes against the principles of individualism and free market capitalism that are deeply ingrained in American culture.
Lack of political willDespite widespread public support for universal healthcare, there has been the little political will to implement it. This may be due in part to the influence of special interest groups and the fact that healthcare is a complex and divisive issue.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, but it covers some of the main factors that have contributed to the lack of universal healthcare in the US.

What Is the Current State of US Healthcare?

Unlike most other developed countries, the United States does not provide universal health care free to its citizens.

While a lot of medical care is paid for by the federal government, many people still do not have health coverage.

Does the lack of universal health coverage have serious consequences, and can it be defended if so?

What does the United States have to gain by not providing universal health care?

The introduction of Obamacare saw health insurance coverage increase in the United States.

The United States does not have universal health care because no one has ever voted for a government willing to provide it.

While Obamacare did reduce the number of Americans without health insurance coverage from 40 million to less than 30 million, Obamacare is not universal healthcare.

There are many differences between the history and politics of the US and of Europe. The conditions that led to universal health care appearing in nations like the United Kingdom did not exist in the United States. 

Many Americans Won’t Vote for Universal Health Care

Many Americans dislike socialist policies and prefer paying lower taxes even if it means reduced government spending. They may point out that a free national health service is not truly free. Everyone has to pay for it because everyone has to pay taxes. 

Universal healthcare is tax-payer funded, which means increasing healthcare will increase taxes.

While a president can sometimes win an election by promising socialist policies, they might also lose an election this way – like Bernie Sanders.

The Democratic Party has never passed a universal health care bill while in power. Introducing a public health care system would be a dangerous political move that could threaten their sphere of power.

Why Did Universal Health Care Start in Europe but Not America?

Many European countries adopted universal health care after the Second World War. The war led to tens of millions of deaths and millions more people losing their homes and livelihoods, which meant great support for universal health care.

Photo of doctor
The conditions that led to the introduction of universal healthcare in Europe did not exist to the same extent in the US post-WWII. Probably because the war didn’t reach mainland America.

While many Americans (400,000) died in the war, no American cities were destroyed, and the death count was comparatively low.

Amazingly, the United States was twice as rich after the war as it had been before it. 

Other countries had lost their industries to the war, allowing Americans to increase their wealth.

It seemed fair to expect everyone to pay for their own family’s health care or find a job that paid for it. At the time, universal health care seemed unnecessary because good jobs were relatively easy to get.

American Health Care Is Already Expensive

The United States spends more money on health care in America than most other countries. In 2022, the government spent $12,318 on healthcare in America per person. This amount is the highest spending on healthcare per person in the world.

Dollar notes
The US spends more money on healthcare than most other countries, and definitely on a per-person basis.

While the United States does not offer medical care, there is a lot of federal government health care spending. It is hard to argue that spending should be even higher to cover all US citizens.

Other Countries’ Health Care Systems Are Imperfect

Just because health care is available to everyone in a country doesn’t mean the standard of the healthcare system is of a high standard. The Canadian system, for example, has many problems.

Emergency room sign
Universal healthcare systems can often be inefficient, as few checks and balances exist.

Patients might be on a waiting list for a doctor for years. They might also lack access to new medical technology or have to wait for services.

For this reason, many people defend the American system as less flawed than what many other countries offer.

People are not necessarily right to defend American health care.

It is both more expensive and provides worse care than the systems of many other countries. However, so many voters still oppose universal health care that it does not yet exist in the United States.

What Are the Consequences of Not Having Universal Health Care in America?

Many people end up bankrupt after a trip to the hospital in the United States. Without health insurance coverage, Americans have to pay the total medical care cost of whatever medical treatment they receive. 

Bankruptcy petition
Medical bills in the United States can bankrupt an individual due to the high cost of healthcare.

Why healthcare should be free

It’s not unusual for patients to be financially devastated by their medical bills in America. This differs from other developed countries, where the government covers most or all medical expenses. 

The financial devastation that is caused due to medical reasons could be enough reason in itself why healthcare should be free.

How Can American Health Care Be Reformed?

American health care is inefficient, with much money being spent on a complex bureaucracy. Far too much of the total cost is spent on administration.

The costs of many procedures are also far higher in the United States than in many other countries.

Files on shelves
The bureaucracy of the healthcare system can be burdensome and is part of the reason for high health costs.

The United States would be better off if it created a health care system similar to France or another country where universal health coverage works properly.

Will US Healthcare Ever Be Free?

Most countries that offer universal health care do not have nearly as many problems with their health care coverage as the US does.

However, numerous interests make massive money from the flawed American healthcare system, which makes it difficult to reform.

A strong, determined government would have to pass a large healthcare reform bill and would likely lose the next election due to how many people would oppose it. 


4 Responses

  1. Our country has by far the Worst Health Care for its Citizens.

    A young Jewish lady stayed at my house two months ago. She flew over from Paris, France, to attend a “Jewish Chuppah Wedding” of her cousin.
    I asked her a few questions–
    About Health Care–Single Payer Excellent
    Education —ALL FREE
    Rents Cannot be raised by more than 3%.
    Yana told me she has lived in her apartment 6 years in Paris, and her Rent has NOT been raised in the six years she has lived in Paris, France

    I told her, we Americans call this Socialism
    ALL is Paid for from the TAXES these people PAY.
    We Americans Pay a lot of Taxes.

    And what do we get for our TAXES–NEVER ENDING WARS
    I am a Capitalist, but now we are in a Complete Capitalistic Society—With NO SAFETY NET for the Middle Class.
    On top, ALL Politicians in Washington are ONLY working for the Lobbyists.

    Our Government just hands over/gives Billions, even Trillions of our Tax Dollars to Foreign Countries.
    Yet, for our homeless, we let them die on the Streets.
    I am a direct descendant of the French Huguenots. One of my Ancestors by the name of Welton Croissant.
    He settled in Hollowayville, IL
    Welton Croissant became a very Wealthy man, and he also was a very Frugal man.
    But he shared his Wealth with his Community.
    With his own money, he had a College Built.
    With his own money, he had a Church Built.
    He also helped Citizens in Need.
    In the Middle of the “Hollowayville, Il Cemetery Stands a Huge Monument, Honoring my Ancestor Welton Croissant.

  2. I would be more than willing to pay higher taxes for free healthcare. Get the people off of the streets. My biggest issue is greed. All of the celebrities and millionaires who don’t do anything for anyone but themselves. Believe me if I had the kardshsian money-I would have opened a dozen shelters and given free healthcare.

  3. Insurance, Pharma and Lobbyists should be REGULATED. Profits are one thing and should be reasonable but GREED and Power should be controlled and with Financial Penalties so we hit them where it hurts.
    The American people should vote on changes to our Constitution not Congress who only votes to obey their Doner’s wishes and to hold POWER.

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