On a recent vacation to Spain, I started thinking about their relatively new law that saw the return of a universal healthcare model. Politicians there believe that the law will make it easier for the country to control the spread of diseases, while also allowing them to avoid imbalances in access to quality care that leads to emergency treatments and hospitalization.
The country enjoys one of the best reputations in the world when it comes to healthcare. Funded by social security payments from its residents, most people in Spain do not have a need for private medical insurance. Despite its many positive attributes, Spain’s return to universal healthcare has not escaped criticism.
Universal healthcare is a globally advocated social issue requiring governments to provide free and quality medical services for all citizens. Despite the advocacy, the implementation of universal healthcare can be advantageous as well as disadvantageous in various ways. Here are some notable pros and cons of universal healthcare.
Firstly, the implementation of universal healthcare extends medical care services to the general public and ensures that everyone in the society, regardless of their social and economic status, has access to quality medical services. This is a good attribute, especially in a society where unemployment is quite high and thus people have limited access to medical services.
Secondly, the actualization of universal health care across the population comes in handy in helping ensure better management and administrative systems within the healthcare sector. It will eliminate the current system where administrative costs are quite high and where doctors have to juggle with different healthcare insurance policies’ terms and conditions.
Thirdly, universal healthcare comes in handy in helping ensure better population health. The provision of quality medical services starting from prenatal care ensure that children are born healthy and having access to the necessary basic medical services required for them to maintain a healthy life. This comes in handy at later life stages where such children will be free from certain conditions that are prevented as a result of the basic medical care.
Universal medical care is disadvantageous in various ways. Firstly, to cover the costs of medical care, the government needs to raise taxes as one of the measures of raising the required funds. Such raised taxes generally make life unbearable for many ordinary citizens.
Secondly, availing quality medical services to the general public generally diminishes the quality of healthcare service. The extended resources to facilitate the provision of medical care to citizens imply a major constraint on the medical personnel’s ability to serve patients well.
In addition, the provision of universal health care across the population eliminates competition in practice, thereby killing private practitioners’ ability to make a living out of their practice. This can have a detrimental effect on the economy, especially in countries where private practice is a major occupation. The elimination of competition also has a general negative long-term effect on the ability of medical facilities to provide competent services as a way of attracting more patients to their facilities.
Universal healthcare is a wildly popular topic at the moment, with views and opinions varying greatly. The topic is also incredibly political. When Spain reversed the previous administration’s ruling to rid the country of universal healthcare, the country’s conservative parties warned that immigrants to the country would also receive such benefits, creating a difficult situation to regulate health care. Such opposition is normal when it comes to the topic of healthcare. Political parties are often split down the middle on the issue.
Regardless of where you stand on the issue, there are notable pros and cons that must be considered when discussing the issue. Looking at Spain’s healthcare model serves as a good representation of what healthcare for all would look like.