We all need medical help at some time in our lives and we also want the security of knowing that our children will be cared for, should they fall ill or suffer an accident. In developing countries, a lot of people struggle to buy the drugs and medicines they need and have to rely on charity. There is a campaign in the West to persuade pharmaceutical companies to make their products available at prices people can pay in poverty stricken communities. Sometimes, these companies will only put the high cost branded drugs on the market. They have also been known to flood the market with past their sell date products. Affordable health care is out of reach for a lot of people.
It can also be difficult for developed countries, especially when someone has a long-term illness. Most people need to have some sort of private health insurance to meet their needs. The problem is that a lot of families prioritize their money to be spent on rent and food, leaving little left for anything else. Affordable health care often comes at the expense of something else.
In general, the population is living longer. This is putting enormous strain on every country’s health system. There are more people living into their eighties and nineties and they have several medical problems. At the same time, middle-aged people are falling victim to heart disease and strokes. The debate rages as to whether the state should provide health care or if it should be left to the responsibility of the individual. It might work better as a blending of the two.
The UK is lucky in having a welfare state. Medical care is free at source. There are exceptions to this, involving dental and ophthalmic charges. There is also a standard charge for prescriptions. This welfare system has to be paid for through direct and indirect tax. Americans don’t enjoy a welfare state but they pay less tax on gasoline etc. Affordable health care is swings and roundabouts.
Private health care is available in the UK as well, for those who wish to pay for it. This means you get treatment a lot quicker and can be admitted to a private hospital on a chosen date for operations. The divide between private and state provision causes a lot of argument, with some people believing that no one should be able to jump the queue because they can pay to do so. Private patients also take doctors away from National Health Service patients. Everyone is agreed that affordable health care for all is a desirable goal but no one seems sure on how to go about it.