Health care

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Health care is the prevention, treatment, and management of illness and the preservation of mental and physical well being. It usually involves preventive medicine as well as drugs and surgery.

In the United States of America, people pay for health care using insurance. In other countries throughout the world, the governments use tax revenue as a method of providing insurance (socialized medicine). This has the effect of generally less efficient health care, as well as providing a disincentive to work.

Here are remarkable government statistics on health care:

  • As the largest industry in 2006, health care provided 14 million jobs—13.6 million jobs for wage and salary workers and about 438,000 jobs for the self-employed.
  • 7 of the 20 fastest growing occupations are health care related.
  • Health care will generate 3 million new wage and salary jobs between 2006 and 2016, more than any other industry.[1]
  • In 2005, health care spending was 4.3 times the amount spent on national defense.[2]
  • The annual healthcare costs of obesity could be as high as 147 billion dollars for 2008. The medical costs for an obese person are 42 per cent higher than for a person of normal weight.[3]
  • With 19 million sexually transmitted diseases in the United States — almost half occur among the 14-to-25 age group — the cost to the health care system in 2008 was $15 billion a year.[4]
  • The monthly medical cost for people with HIV from diagnosis until death in optimal HIV care averages to be $2,100. The lifetime (now 24.2 years avg.) HIV care cost per persons is now $618,900 per person.[5]
  • Federal budget funding for AIDS treatment and care in America in 2009 totaled 24.8 billion. Medicare spending on HIV totaled $4.5 billion in 2008, with four in ten people living with HIV and who were receiving care being covered by Medicaid.[6] The numbers of people living with HIV grows by around 56,000 every year.[7][8]

Politics of health care

Heritage Foundation expert Robert Moffitt observed:

  • Liberal candidates generally embrace expanding government programs. Expanding government control over the financing and delivery of medical services will guarantee even bigger bureaucracy, higher taxes, and increasingly detailed regulations governing the delivery of care. Conservative candidates generally emphasize the need to re-energize the market and make individuals and families the key decision-makers in the system. [2]

Universal health care

On the morning of March 23, 2010, President Obama signed America's first universal health care bill into law, after it was passed, 220 to 212, by the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives. The bill is expected to extend coverage to 32 million Americans, and will ban insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions.

Congress has never required Americans to purchase anything before, and most conservatives see this as a violation of the Constitution. Heritage Institute scholars Randy Barnett, Nathaniel Stewart, and Todd F. Gaziano state,

Nowhere in the Constitution is Congress given the power to mandate that an individual enter into a contract with a private party or purchase a good or service...Therefore, because this claim of power by Congress would literally be without precedent, it could only be upheld if the Supreme Court is willing to create a new constitutional doctrine.[9]

See also


  2. California Health Care Foundation. Health Care Costs 101
  4. Dr. Kevin Fenton of the CDC
  5. [1]
  6. Kaiser Family Foundation (2009, February) Medicaid and HIV/AIDS Fact sheet
  7. Hall, H.I. et al (2008, 6th August) 'Estimation of HIV incidence in the United States' JAMA 300(5)
  9. Why the Personal Mandate to Buy Health Insurance Is Unprecedented and Unconstitutional, December 9, 2009