A basic standard of health care for all American citizens is an idea that arose less than 100 years ago, but which today is a tenet that most people in the United States believe. Basic healthcare belongs, in my opinion, to the whole world simply due to them being world citizens, though this notion is beyond the scope of this simple essay. We have come to believe in the US that people that need health care and pay taxes receive said care and medical services. However, exposés like Mama Might Be Better off Dead: the Failure of Health Care in Urban America (University Press Books) show that for millions of Americans living at or near the poverty line, slipping through the cracks in government-funded health care is an everyday reality. These people represent the subset of America that stands the most to gain from more government involvement in health care and stands the most to lose if the government deregulates the health-care industry and personal health practices. For the majority of US citizens, state-mandated vaccinations, food additive restrictions, mental health evaluation and rehabilitation and HIV/AIDS testing and treatment supervision represent no significant infringement upon rights.
[...] Though systems that focus more on rewarding health-positive behaviors (HPB) should be encouraged, the state does have a right to disperse the financial burden it faces as a result of bad personal health towards the health consumers themselves. If an annual check-up reveals that someone is morbidly obese or a two-pack-per-day smoker, then their insurance company should charge them more. People respond well to financial incentives. According to the Opposing Viewpoints article by James Moore, personal responsibility should be included into premium structures, making people shareholders in their health care plan. [...]
[...] They will cite a recent report from the Journal of the American Medical Association that states a low-fat diet had no effect on incidence of breast cancer. However, the changes we will see from this change in our eating habits will take longer to cause the fruition of health gains than the mere 8-year scope of that study. If we are to make real progress America's personal health decisions, it will not happen within a single decade, but rather grow slowly within a generation, and then be passed to subsequent generations of Americans. [...]
[...] According to the Congressional Quarterly Researcher, every state allows exemptions from vaccinations in those who have shown weakened immune systems or allergic reactions and fifteen states allow exemption for philosophical reasons. Exemption for religious reasons is consistent with the Bill of Rights and should be protected. However, states in which people can claim exemption for themselves or their children because of philosophical reasons, sometimes simply by signing a form, need to have their vaccination requirements toughened. Vaccinations are used to prevent widespread outbreak of disease, which would create a health crisis. [...]
[...] Perhaps lowering his disability payments because he was a smoker would have encouraged him to quit, to which he often said, never really want Or even if such financial incentives to take better care of himself failed entirely, and he kept placing himself at high levels of risk, at least the monthly $100 fine he paid could go towards the substantial medical costs he incurred during his final months. People skirt the issue of health because it's easier to eat out everyday or to watch TV instead of exercise or to continue smoking, but they should be held financially accountable for eschewing responsibilities to themselves, their families and taxpayers. [...]
[...] Yes, the government obviously has and has always had the right to intervene in the health-related behaviors of US citizens in crisis or extreme situations. However, I argue that the government can and should take a stronger, more regulatory position on the public's day-to-day health care choices. According to Bodenheimer and Grumbach's Understanding Health Policy, an ounce of prevention in the American health care system is often forgotten. Our top-heavy health care system waits for minor health risks to become large problems, costing the American health care consumer and the US government an arm and a leg. [...]
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