Doctors and Hospitals in Mexico

Friday, September 5, 2014

Why Are Many Americans Afraid of a Universal Healthcare System?

The American healthcare system is by far the most expensive one
To many non-Americans, it is puzzling that the US has a system that's so different and that results in terribly expensive healthcare in a country that produces so much wealth. While many Americans want to change the system, many others resist the change and are even afraid of it.

As a result of the system that it's in place now, profits are the only motivator behind healthcare services and because the demand is very inelastic (everybody falls sick and everybody wants to get better), the prices keep rising. In fact, this is the number one reason why the medical tourism industry exists. People just can't go without healthcare, especially if their loved ones are the ones who need it.

Yet, the American healthcare system doesn't seem like it's going to change anytime soon. Here are some reasons why many Americans don't want it to change.

1.- An assumption that a system based on universal coverage is the same thing as a single payer system.  It is not, but many politicians claim it is and many Americans believe it.

2.- A fear of rationing. That is, the idea that there will not be enough resources for taking care of everyone, and thus only the ones who can pay it should have it. However, since no country has limited resources, the truth is that all healthcare is rationed and under the current system, the incentive is for healthcare companies and pharmaceutical companies to use the limited resources there are to make the biggest possible profit.

3.- A fear of "sharing" the burden. Employers who give health benefits to their employees get a tax cut from that and like to take care of their own employees, but not of other employees, which they think it happens in an universal system, where employers contribute to the system, not to the companies that give healthcare to their employmees. However, even in an universal system, employers typically contribute according to the number of employees they have.

4.- A "We're number 1" mentality. Many Americans do believe that the US is the best in every single aspect, and they think that changing to a "foreign" system means going backwards or doing something wrong.

5.- The dark side of the American Dream. One of the most important beliefs of American culture is the American Dream, the concept that everyone, even the lowest of the low, can make it to the top as long as he has a vision and is willing to work hard for it. It is not a bad concept, in fact, it's great. However, the other side of the coin is that if someone didn't make it and is poor, is because he deserved it because he's lazy. And why should we pay for the healthcare of some lazy bum? In reality, poverty has little to do with unwillingness to work hard, and it's a very complex problem with roots that are outside the scope of this article.

Want to know more? Read about how every middle class woman in Mexico hires a maid and how this has impacted the Mexican culture.


Robert Ervin is a freelancer who writes about healthcare, medical tourism, and living in Mexico.

If you're considering traveling to Mexico for healthcare or retiring in Mexico, you may want to  get yourself a copy of The English's Speaker's Guide to Doctors and Hospitals in Mexico in order to find a good doctor or hospital in the main towns and cities of Mexico, or The English Speaker's Guide to Medical Care in Mexico, to understand how the Mexican healthcare system works.  

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