Beyond Obamacare: Why We Must Keep Demanding Universal Health Coverage

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Obama won the ACA. Columnist wants campaign for universal coverage. Photo-Flickr.

[Business Exchange Column]

Economically disadvantaged African-Americans experience poorer health care access and lower quality of care than whites. Blacks experience 30 to 40 percent poorer health outcomes. Yet, Blacks stand steadfastly behind Obama and the failed Obamacare concept and legislation.

It’s apparent that the Republicans have failed to repeal and replace President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. At the same time Black Americans shouldn't sit back and celebrate a plan and program that’s mediocre at best. Why can’t we fight for excellence? The U.S. spends more on health care than any other country. The average out-of-pocket cost for privately insured patients’ co-pay doctor visit was as high as $49. The U.S. spent $3.2 trillion on health care last year.

As a citizen of the world’s richest nation, if you believe that the Democratic or Republican healthcare plan is “the best we can do” you’ve been hoodwinked. American leadership on this issue is lacking and we shouldn’t accept less than those in other rich countries. Universal healthcare exists in countries such as Denmark, Finland, Greece, Russia and the United Kingdom.

It’s it time we focus on an issue that responds to what people urgently need and want? Universal health care refers to a system that provides health care and financial protection to all citizens. It’s organized around providing a specified package of benefits to all citizens with the end goal of providing financial risk protection, improved access to health services, and improved health outcomes. Universal health care can be determined by three critical dimensions: who is covered, what services are covered, and how much of the cost is covered. It’s as a situation where citizens can access health services without incurring financial hardship.

Among the best health and healthcare systems in the world are:

1. Luxembourg a wealthy country nestled between Belgium, France, and Germany. Its average life expectancy is 82.

2. Singapore — A small city-state of 5.6 million citizens that have an average life expectancy of 83.1 years old.

3. Switzerland’s healthcare service is universal based upon all citizen mandatory holding of health insurance.

4. Japan's life expectancy — 83.7 — is the highest on the planet. That is causing demographic issues as its population ages.

5.Netherlands — In 2015 the Netherlands gained the number one spot of the annual Euro health consumer index.

6. Sweden —Swedish men have the 4th highest life expectancy of any nation, living to an average of 80.7 years.

7. Hong Kong — The tiny city-state has just over 7.2 million people. In 2012, women in Hong Kong had the longest average life expectancy of any demographic on earth.

8. Australia is ranked as the healthiest nation in the southern hemisphere. Its average life expectancy is 82.8.

9. Israel is the highest ranked Middle Eastern state and has the 8th highest life expectancy on the planet, 82.5 years.

10. Germany — Despite their love of beer and sausages, Germans are some of the world's healthiest people with an average life expectancy of 81.

11. Belgium has an average age of 81.1. It has universal healthcare, also requires mandatory health insurance.

12. New Zealand has an average life expectancy of 81.6 years.

13. Norway —The country's healthcare system is free for children under 16, but adults must pay for services. The country spends more per person on healthcare than any other country.

14. France — famed for the quality of its health services; the country's average life expectancy is 82.

15. Qatar — This Arab country has a universal healthcare system throughout.

16. Canada has a system of free at the point of access healthcare, known as Medicare.

Let's stop being punked. Enacting universal health care for Americans simply requires earnest and forthright efforts of Congress members. The first move towards a national health insurance system was launched in Germany in 1883, with the Sickness Insurance Law. Then the United Kingdom’s National Insurance Act 1911 provided primary coverage care.

By the 1930s, similar systems existed across Western and Central Europe. Japan introduced its employee health insurance law in 1927. The Soviet Union established a fully public and centralized health care system in 1920. Call Congress and tell them that you want “healthcare just like theirs.”

William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via [email protected]

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