Universal health care and prevention

 

A brief note on a somewhat peripheral, but important, topic….

There are many arguments for universal healthcare, and one is that the health care system tends to become more efficient and less expensive.

A less obvious reason for this is an emphasis on prevention. In a society with universal healthcare, where we all pay for our collective health care expenses, there is a much stronger incentive to work on prevention. We all benefit, we all pay, we all benefit from all of us being more healthy. And although those connections will always be there, they tend to be more obvious to us when we live in a society with universal health care.

Prevention through education and aimed at lifestyle, as it has traditionally been done, is at best moderately effective. There is far more impact from looking at how we organize ourselves at all levels, and reorganize ourselves to provide the circumstances for increasing health and quality of life.

A footnote: Another perhaps less obvious reason is trust. In a society with a weaker or non-existing social safety net, there will be more fear and more fear-based interactions and actions, as the US is an example of.  (Lack of universal health care may be one reason, but probably not the only.) In societies with a better safety net, there is less fear and more trust, which in turn benefits all of us.

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– universal health care (we take care of each other)
– incentive for prevention at social level (provide circumstances to increase health and well-being, quality of life) – good for all of us

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