What Is Universal Health Care Insurance?

Universal Health Care Definition

According to MedicineNet.com, universal health care is also known as single-payer health care. The system is defined as a type of health care coverage that provides total coverage for all medical and health services. Although the definition can vary depending on the country and government regulations, universal health care is typically provided by private doctors and medical institutions who are paid with governments funds established from taxpayer money.

Universal Health Care Coverage

The universal health care or single-payer health care system is designed to cover all required medical services without creating a financial burden for citizens struggling to meet the cost of insurance premiums and deductibles. The organization Physicians for a National Health Program indicates that universal health care insurance in America ideally provides coverage for doctors visits, long-term care and hospital stays as well as preventive care, dental and vision care, and coverage for prescription drugs and medical supplies.

Medical Payments

According to Physicians for a National Health Program, doctors and hospitals get paid a fee based on the services provided under most universal health care insurance models. Typically, the governing authorities in charge of managing the universal health care system set limits on operating expenses and fees that may be charged. As is the case with private insurance models like the health management organization, or HMO, specific doctors and hospitals may enter into government-sponsored contracts to provide certain medical services at specified rates.

The Purpose

The purpose of establishing a universal health care insurance system is to guarantee affordable health care coverage to every citizen. HealthPAConline.net reports that roughly half of the bankruptcy cases in the United States can be attributed to overwhelming medical expenses. In addition, lack of adequate health insurance can lead to escalated illness and premature death, because citizens cannot afford to see a doctor for care.

Universal Health Care Insurance Concerns

Some critics raise concerns that universal health care may put an increased burden on the health care system and drive down the quality of care. BalancedPolitics.org also notes that there is a possibility that medical supplies and equipment may be rationed due to budget concerns, and taxpayers may be burdened by increasing health care costs. Although universal health care is a common system in countries like Germany, Sweden and Canada, it has not been the norm in the United States. In the U.S., health care and health care coverage is largely privatized, with some government programs providing for those who cannot afford traditional health insurance.