In any form of government, democracies or theocracies, authoritarian regimes or military dispensations, the responsibility of the state and personal responsibilities are always debatable. There are countries that have ensured right to food, right to education and right to free healthcare in addition to the basic rights to life, religion, equality, freedom of expression and others. Some countries in the world do not have a universal healthcare policy. Socialized medicine has its proponents and critics. Many believe that it is quintessential while others think that healthcare should be a personal responsibility and not that of the state of the government. Let us explore the socialized medicine pros and cons.
Socialized Medicine Pros
1. Can Save Lives
There are many people who don’t get access to basic healthcare. From lack of sufficient medical facilities or doctors to lack of money, there are many reasons why many people are insulated from healthcare. This leads to premature deaths. All such deaths can be successfully averted if there is universal healthcare.
2. Ensures Stability In The Healthcare Industry
The healthcare and pharmaceutical industry, like any other vertical, undergoes substantial transformation from time to time. The prices of medicines go up and down. The costs of treatments fluctuate as you move from one city to another. All such fluctuations or volatility can be controlled if socialized medicine is made available to any and sundry.
3. Prevent Financial Meltdowns
There are millions of families that struggle to meet the medical expenses. Innumerable families have gone bankrupt and their way of life has been ruined due to the financial meltdown caused by medical expenses. These untoward consequences can be easily prevented with socialized medicine.
4. Can Improve the Economy
The country would spend less on avoidable healthcare needs which wouldn’t even arise as people will get basic healthcare and would be able to remain healthy. This would also ensure more people getting to work because on an average, an otherwise healthy person misses five days of work in a year due to lack of adequate health insurance. When you factor in the population of the country, this leads to a loss of billions of hours.
5. Foster Equality
Everyone is equal in the eyes of the law. Likewise, everyone should be equal in terms of getting medical attention. Socialized medicine will ensure that people are not discriminated on the basis of their health insurance or financial leverage. Everyone should be cared for, equally.
Socialized Medicine Cons
1. Medicine is Costly
When the state takes up the onus of funding the needs of those who cannot take care of themselves, it is basically taking up the challenge of trying to meet the needs of the majority with the provisions of the minority. In other words, people paying for healthcare may be less than those who would get free healthcare or subsidized medical intervention, including medicines. This will have a massive impact on the economy. The country will have to spend much more money, which would have to be raised from somewhere. This may lead to much higher taxes than what one pays today. This would be an additional burden on everyone and especially on those who are already reeling under the heavy taxes right now. Should the country fail to fund socialized medicine, there would be deficits and the GDP will dwindle. Eventually, the country could be staring at another recession. In other words, welfare schemes like socialized medicine are the antithesis of growth, economic progress and prosperity for people at large.
2. There Aren’t Enough Doctors
There’s already a scarcity of doctors. With socialized medicine, the country would need thousands of more doctors. There is no data that indicates we would have so many doctors in the upcoming years. This can lead to a massive problem. While medical care would be legally available, there wouldn’t be resources to deliver.
3. Can Be Some Unforeseen Adverse Consequences
The entire healthcare and pharmaceutical industry will come under stringent regulation. Drugs that cost a tad fair or unfair may be taken off the shelves, even if they are life saving. Only those drugs that adhere to the stringent requirements will be approved, and they may not be the very best. This will be detrimental to research and development as well as the progress in medical sciences achieved over the years.
4. Specialized Healthcare Will Take a Backseat
Many doctors opt for specializations or sign up for niche training because they wish to further their career. In any case, there is a dearth of specialists. With socialized medicine, there would be further scarcity of specialized healthcare.
5. Healthcare Professionals Will Earn Less
While there are doctors or medical professionals that earn a fortune in just a year, the healthcare professionals don’t make a lot of money. They are paid standard wages which are just about or a tad more than enough. Socialized medicine might lower these wages or it would at least stunt the possible growth in incomes.