What Are Some Pros and Cons of Universal Health Care?


Quick Answer

Some of the benefits of universal health care are that it could improve public health, lower health care costs, and encourage greater economic productivity and entrepreneurship, according to ProCon.org. The disadvantages of universal health care are that it may lead to increased taxes, potential shortages and reduction in quality of medical services, rationing of medical services and overuse of medical services.

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Full Answer

The United States is one of the few developed nations that do not have universal health care, according to ProCon.org. In 2012, health care spending in the United States topped $2.8 trillion and health care costs rose at twice the rate of inflation. As of 2011, Americans pay more for health care than any other developed nation, spending more than two and a half times more than the average individual in other developed nations. Despite spending more than other nations on health care, as of 2013, Americans had a lower life expectancy than people in other developed nations and the third-highest rate of infant mortality.

On the other hand, Americans had much shorter wait times to receive medical care than individuals in countries with universal health care. As of 2012, fewer than 10 percent of Americans wait longer than two months to see a specialist, compared with 41 percent in Canada, notes ProCon.org. Americans also had the highest survival rates for cancer, and higher percentages of Americans received cancer screenings as of 2009. Further, Americans paid less than half the amount of taxes than their counterparts in European nations with universal health care.

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