Universal Health Care Would Help Families Build More Wealth

By Rachel Puryear

You probably already know that the United States is the only country in the world with such a high level of overall wealth and development, which still does not provide some form of guaranteed, universal health care for all our citizens.

Even many relatively poor and/or conservative countries provide universal health care – for example, Mexico, Brazil, Egypt, Thailand, China, Tunisia, Burkina Faso, Romania, Russia, Sri Lanka, and more.

In the USA, supporters of universal health care who are frustrated with the lack of greater public support for such cite widespread reluctance to pay increased taxes, and a prevalent false belief that only “lazy” people benefit from socialized anything.

For some reluctant to embrace universal health care, they might also be looking only at what they (assume they would) lose – but not at what they would gain.

It definitely doesn’t help that a certain very popular media channel in the US (we all know who that is) feeds mightily on widespread addiction to fear, fueling prejudices and overly simplified worldviews, and the erroneous belief that bad things only happen to people who deserved it anyway.

But what if people instead saw universal health care as a path to greater prosperity for themselves, their families, and their communities? That it would remove a major barrier to self-employment, starting a business, quitting a job you hate, to having any/having more children, to forming stronger partnerships, to traveling, and more?

Here are ways in which having universal health care (and more) could not only save lives and improve collective quality of life; but also help families build more wealth, enjoy a greater chance at upward mobility, and increase widespread prosperity:

Doctor hands holding a stethoscope to a globe.

Actually, Money Does Buy Greater Happiness

Okay, there are some things that money can’t buy. Nonetheless, the things money can buy are still pretty important. Furthermore, those things can give you a much better chance of getting those great things in life that money can’t buy directly – a better chance at falling in love, sustainable and happy and healthy relationships, good health, a longer life, freedom, stability, fulfilling dreams, pursuing passions, and more. There’s a reason why people who are hungry, homeless, and cold are much less likely to have those things.

In 2010, a Forbes study concluded that people’s happiness rose with income levels, until they reached about $75,000.00 a year, at which point happiness then leveled off (that’s about $103K a year, in 2023). However, Forbes also conducted a follow-up study in 2021, which showed that happiness levels continue to rise with higher incomes, even after the aforementioned threshold – the latter of which we could think of as being financially comfortable.

It seems reasonable to conclude from both these studies that a higher income does make people happier; as it meets their basic needs, gives them greater freedom and autonomy (including the ability to quit a job if they want), ability to pursue dreams and hobbies, greater security about the future, and also enables them to help loved ones in need.

In 2023, the median household income in the United States is $80,440.00.

This means that the average household feels significant financial strain, as they’re below the threshold at which people feel happier and more financially comfortable.

Means-Tested Benefits Can Be Poverty Traps

First and foremost, let me be very clear that I am all for public assistance programs, and that’s because they save lives (in so many ways), and are the right thing to do as a society.

This is not an argument against public assistance programs. However, it’s a reality check on the difference between means-tested assistance, versus universal programs.

In order to qualify for most federal public assistance programs – for food, health care, housing, and so forth – one must be very, very poor. At, or not far above, the federal poverty level. If a person at the poverty level lives in a relatively high-cost area, their standard of living is even lower than someone at the same level, but in a lower-cost area – but it doesn’t matter, for purposes of qualifying.

Note: Areas which are relatively high-cost tend to be the places with lots of good jobs, more opportunities, and a better overall quality of life – that’s why they cost more.

Anyway, in 2023, the federal poverty level for a family of four is $30,000.00 per year – that’s around $15 an hour for one person working full time, and $2,500.00 a month (1/3 of that is $834, which won’t pay rent for a 2-bedroom apartment in a safe neighborhood near work and transit options in a most cities).

That federal poverty level is a fraction of the threshold amount that most people need to become financially comfortable, and feel happier with their lives.

Furthermore, many people in poverty cannot afford to pursue opportunities available to them to make more money, because they would still not earn enough to comfortably pay for what they need, but they would lose benefits eligibility.

So they are trapped by the need to keep themselves artificially poor in order to continue to qualify for critically needed benefits.

Guaranteed Health Care Can Help Pave the Way to Greater Prosperity

One big factor in overall economic inequality, is unequal opportunities to build more wealth. One significant factor (of many) in those unequal opportunities, is the unequal ability to start and build profitable businesses, buy homes, and make other investments.

Guaranteed, universal health care – while it would not simply fix those unequal opportunities – would still remove an important barrier for many people in making important investments that help them build wealth.

We all have bills to pay, and health care is a big one for those who don’t have it either through their jobs, or who are not poor enough to qualify for public health care benefits (those who, as discussed in the previous section; are not poor enough to get help, but not financially comfortable either).

Guaranteed, universal health care would also make it much more feasible for many people to have children – anyone concerned about declining birth rates might want to think about that. It would also make it more feasible for many to pursue more education, pursue dreams and passions, and more.

What About Paying for It?

Keep in mind that we collectively already pay a lot for health care right now, even if we have good insurance. There’s premiums, there’s co-pays, there’s medical care that’s not covered – and that’s before getting into dental, vision, reproductive, and mental health care that’s may or may not be covered, or be limited.

The majority of bankruptcies in the USA are filed due to overwhelming medical bills, typically following a major medical event – and many of these people had insurance, but it wasn’t enough to prevent financial disaster with all the co-pays and treatments that were not covered. Some of them also lost jobs, along with health insurance, because they got sick or injured.

For states, the cost of covering uninsured people who are unable to pay for their own treatment is also high – medical care provided to uninsured patients is much costlier than that provided to those who are insured. Hospitals must accordingly charge higher prices in order to stay financially afloat.

For small businesses, the cost of providing good insurance to employees is high, and can make it difficult for them to compete for workers. Universal health care would put small businesses on more equal footing with larger businesses in competing for good workers.

A streamlined, single-payer system would also be much more efficient than the current fragmented, sprawling system. Administrative costs, for one thing, could be significantly reduced as such services are merged into one system.

As an added bonus, a single-payer system would also mean you could have the same health care plan while traveling around the country. For those who love traveling, this removes one big headache of such – especially for people who have health problems.

Furthermore, according to Yale School of Public Health, Covid-19 would have been much less of a disaster in terms of deaths of Americans, and also costs, had a single-payer system been in place – especially for poor and rural Americans.

But What About the Taxes?

Okay, I get it – you’re still worried about the tax increases. And since most households are strained right now as it is, I get that. So let’s address that subject.

In the USA, we have a progressive system of taxation. Basically, that means that the more income a household makes, the higher marginal tax rates they pay.

So, for instance: Let’s say a nurse makes $75K a year, while a CEO makes a million dollars a year. Each of these people would pay the same tax rate on that first $75K – while the CEO pays increasingly large percentages as you go up those income brackets, all the way up to a million dollars.

And let’s say that they both receive health care benefits tied to their jobs, and each of their employers pays $20K a year towards those benefits. So their respective employers pay $100K a year in compensation for the nurse, and $1.02M for the CEO.

The latter is what’s known as a regressive system – where everyone pays the same amount for something, regardless of income. This means that the less someone makes, the larger a proportion of their income is paid towards their health care, instead of into their pockets.

Even with a tax increase reasonably projected to pay for health care; with that income redirected towards employees, they would still take home far more than the extra amount they would pay in taxes, for the most part (with only high earners above the financially comfortable threshold anyway possibly paying more).

Health care is something we all need, and there is no such thing as cheap health care. You can buy discount groceries instead of shopping at upscale stores, you can buy cheap clothing instead of designer brands, you can buy economy cars instead of luxury, you can live in a smaller home or even a mobile home instead of a big house.

But you cannot get cheap, discounted health care – although some plans do cost less in premiums, the reason they’re cheaper is because they provide less coverage with higher co-pays, and so they’re actually really expensive – especially for someone who needs a lot of medical care.

Love this blog, and want to help support it? Please check out the following products. We are Amazon affiliates, and earn a commission when you purchase through these links – this helps support the blog, so we thank you!

  • Do you love being outdoors, and have wide feet, but have trouble finding shoes that will fit your feet, and serve all your needs? Check out:
    • The Dr. Comfort Store on Amazon, with lots of athletic shoes (and more) to choose from which come in wide, extra-wide and beyond sizes – some styles go up to men’s size 15. This store also includes a lot of diabetic footwear (all genders).
    • The Comfortview Store on Amazon, with plenty of shoes to choose from that will fit up to 13 double wide, and which are comfortable, stylish, cute, and suitable for many occasions – including sneakers, sandals, boots, flats, and dress shoes (women’s/women-presenting styles).
    • The New Balance Store on Amazon, with plenty of shoes to choose from including athletic and sneakers. Most styles go up to at least 11 or 12, and many include wide sizes (all genders).

Thank you, dear readers, for reading, following, and sharing. Here’s to universal health care, and more wealth-building for all.

Check out my other blog, too – World Class Hugs, at https://worldclasshugs.com. It’s about celebrating empathic people, balanced relationships, spirituality with a curious mind and open heart, and visiting gorgeous natural places.

Got a question you want answered through this blog? Submit your question to me here – and if you don’t already, please request to subscribe to the Free Range Life newsletter while you’re there!

Note: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. We appreciate your support!

Uncategorized Wealth

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: