As of 2016, twenty-eight million Americans were uninsured. While the rate of the uninsured has fallen under the affordable care act, the ACA has a host of problems that in many cases make things worse for Americans. For example, insurance rates have continued to rise. This year, they are expected to rise by twenty-two percent. This is an economic burden on those who can least afford it, that is those suffering from serious medical conditions. Another economic burden the so-called Affordable Care Act imposes upon Americans is the Personal Mandate.

The Personal Mandate forces people to buy health insurance or face a fine. If an individual is too poor to buy health insurance, how can they afford to pay a fine? This is nothing more than a regressive taxation upon the poorest and most vulnerable among us. The only people who benefit from the Personal Mandate is the heads of the health insurance companies. Indeed, the so-called Affordable Care Act mostly benefits insurance agencies at the expense of the American people. What if there was a better way?

Public healthcare: a better way

In most Western, industrialized countries the state insures healthcare for all its citizens. There are several objections raised to a Public Healthcare system. The arguments against this system fall into two categories.

The biggest argument is that public healthcare is too expensive. Nonpartisan researchers have looked into this. After careful study, the researchers concluded that the opposite is true. Private healthcare is more expensive as it encourages doctors to run tests that are medically unnecessary. Public healthcare removes the profit motive which tempts doctors to overcharge their patients.

A second argument which may hold more weight is that the public healthcare system discourages innovation. The American healthcare system does produce a large number of innovations from magnetic resonance imaging to computed tomography (CT scans). Twelve winners of the Nobel Prize in medicine in the last ten years come from the United States compared to seven outside the country.

It should be remembered that the United States has a long history of innovation. We were the first successful republic since the ancient Roman Republic. To date, the United States has produced a large number of inventions which include the car, the light bulb and the computer. It should not come as a surprise that the United States also excels at innovations in medical technology. The United States has a forward thinking culture that prizes and rewards innovation and progress over tradition. In addition, innovation can be encouraged through government grants and other incentives.

A moral argument for public healthcare

It is possible to argue for public healthcare from a purely economic position.

That is, a public healthcare system is less expensive for the consumer as well as providing the greatest good for the greatest number. I could also point out how Americans have a lower life expectancy than citizens of other Western, industrialized countries that do have public healthcare. However, it is possible to argue for a public healthcare system from a purely moral perspective. When people talk about public healthcare what is being discussed is a system in which healthcare is provided for by the state and paid for by tax dollars. Tax dollars, of course, come from the people. Therefore, taxes should benefit the people. Otherwise, taxation is simply robbery.

Since the state is funded by the public and, indeed, owes its very existence to the consent of the people then the state's highest duty is to provide for the welfare of the people.

Otherwise, why does the state exist? It is more moral for a society to care for its weakest members than it is for society to let its weakest members die. Ultimately, public healthcare is the best option. It is more affordable for the consumer. It provides care for all citizens. Perhaps most importantly it is an affirmation of our values as a civilized society.