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Political Project - Rebekah Unruh 1 Health Care Systems of...

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Rebekah Unruh 1  Health Care: Systems of the Past, Faults of the Present, Options for the Future While I was in high school, my father lost his high-paying job at a respectable company  and was looking for work for almost two years. During this time, our family had no employer- provided health insurance and did not qualify for Medicaid. I had just gotten braces before my  dad lost his job, and so not only did my parents have to figure out how to make ends meet, they  had to deal with the added expenses of my orthodontic work. Life was very difficult and the  added trouble of medical expenses just made matters worse. The government does not have an  adequate plan to help families with situations like mine beyond emergency medical care, which  leaves many people without the help they need and deserve. Another concern is the high cost  of insurance, even with employer benefits. The issue of health care and insurance is a hot one  in America right now, so we need to know what options are being presented to solve the  problem and which of those options is the best. Exploration of the Problem and Possible Solutions To begin looking at the problems with health care today, it would be beneficial to take a  look at the history of health care in the United States. Up until the 1940s, medical care was paid  for mostly out-of-pocket. Even though there were major concerns for the system, the  government mostly agreed that reform was not a high priority and left it alone. Then during  World War II, the National War Labor Board (NWLB), in an effort to minimize disruption of  production of weapons and supplies, decided to establish price controls and freeze wages.  Because of this, employers did not have a good way to attract employees. The NWLB  recognized what was happening and ruled that the controls did not apply to fringe benefits. This  gave employers the means to attract and retain employees and most began offering health care  benefits. An added bonus was that the cost of care was cheap at that time and it was supported  by labor unions. This system stuck, and most Americans still receive their health care from  employer-provided benefits. To better understand the problems with health care, we must look at the statistics  surrounding our current system. The United States is the only industrialized nation in the world  that does not offer some form of universal health care, and yet the United States spends more  of its Gross Domestic Product on health care than any other developed nation. With so much  being spent on health care, it would seem natural that we would have higher quality health care. 
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