Should universal healthcare be put in place?

Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act has rekindled the debate on the US healthcare crisis and put the issue of the need for a better healthcare system to the fore, leading some to wonder about the benefits of having universal healthcare

Rise of the Issue

Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act is being called the most significant piece of legislation in the healthcare realm since the Affordable Care Act – commonly referred to as Obamacare. With the cost of living on the rise, the debate on whether healthcare should be a private expenditure or a guaranteed right has re-arisen.

The debate around universal healthcare is one that revolves around whether putting such a system in place is fair. It opposes those who believe no one should ever be left without access to affordable, quality healthcare, to those who argue that it would force all taxpayers to finance a healthcare system for everyone, regardless of how much they need it, want it, or have actively contributed to it.

Issue Timeline


Congress Passes Social Security Act

It is a part of Roosevelt’s New Deal, and includes the granting of federal funding states to provide financial assistance to seniors. This initiated the creation of the private nursing home industry.


Medicare and Medicaid Are Created

Social Security Amendments under president Johnson include the establishment of Medicare – for people over 65 and younger disabled and dialysis patients – and Medicaid – for low-income patients.


Medicaid is No Longer Linked to Welfare

People were now able to have access to Medicaid, even if they were not receiving cash assistance.


Congress Passes Affordable Care Act

Commonly known as “Obamacare”, this legislation granted consumers protection in healthcare coverage – such as guaranteed issuance of health insurance – and expanded Medicaid and Medicare.


Supreme Court Rules on Affordable Care Act

The ruling upholds Congress’ power to enact the act, but declares that mandatory Medicaid expansion is unconstitutional. It leaves decisions on the latter up to the states.


Biden Champions Further Medicaid and ACA Expansion

In two separate executive orders, president Biden applauds efforts made and suggests additional proposals to further expand Medicaid coverage and the provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

Micro Issues



One side points out that it is unfair that the least privileged cannot afford necessary health care and treatment, whereas the other side argues that it is unfair for everyone to contribute proportionally to their means instead of their actual needs.



Opponents believe the costs to put such a system in place and maintain it properly would be too costly to the taxpayer, while proponents believe it is a necessary cost that balances itself out because the collectivity pays for it, as opposed to only a part of the population.



Those in favor argue that not having healthcare for all has led to a healthcare crisis in the US that needs to be addressed. Those against say that the US isn’t ready to provide universal healthcare to all, and that doing so risks causing shortages and abuses in the healthcare system.

Pro Arguments


Everyone would have access to the care they need.

Without universal healthcare, some people cannot access care because they cannot afford it, even if it prevents them from getting better or saving their life.


It would lower the overall cost of healthcare in the United States.

Some research has shown that the total public and private healthcare spending would significantly decrease if everyone has a guaranteed right to healthcare.


Universal healthcare could save lives.

Lack of health insurance is associated with up to 44,789 deaths a year, according to a Harvard study .


Access to healthcare boosts economic productivity.

If people have access to healthcare, they are generally healthier, miss less work and contribute more to the economy.


Universal healthcare could benefit private businesses.

Expanding healthcare access for everyone, means businesses could take on less of the burden of providing coverage for their employees.

Con Arguments


Universal healthcare costs taxpayers money.

Ensuring access to healthcare for everyone would be paid for by taxpayer money – potentially leading to a need to raise taxes.


Universal healthcare could increase wait times for medical services.

Countries with universal right to health generally have longer wait times, because more people can access health services.


Universal healthcare could exacerbate the doctor shortage.

The United States already does not have enough doctors to cover current needs. This problem will only grow if everyone has a right to healthcare.


A right to healthcare could lead to people overusing medical services.

When people are not directly personally responsible for the cost of their healthcare, they are more likely to use services they may not necessarily need – leaving them in shorter supply for those that do.


Universal healthcare could increase the US debt.

Additional spending to cover healthcare costs for all Americans could lead the government to go into higher debt.