Sunday, March 28, 2010

Universal Health Care: Why Stop at the Border?

Passage of Obamacare, even if it evolves no further, brings U.S. health insurance closer to the Canadian model of universal coverage (even if benefits in the U.S. will be reduced on an individual basis).

NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, is an economic arrangement that enables freer trade between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. Perhaps a NAFTA-like arrangement should be extended to health care by bringing Mexico into the ambit of universal health insurance.

Admittedly Mexico cannot afford to provide the same level and quality of health care available in the U.S. and Canada. But it is conceptually difficult to say that individuals living north of a political boundary should have some minimum level of health insurance while those living just south should not. Isn’t the value of a human life the same regardless of its geographical location? Or, does universal health care apply only to those fortunate enough to live north of the Mexican border due to the chance of birth or having previously immigrated into the U.S. or Canada?

Sure, sovereignty limits what can be done politically. Mexicans cannot vote in U.S. elections and vice-versa. But the question of who is deserving and who is not is worth considering. If the U.S. had seized Mexico the way it seized Texas, the southwest, California, and the northwest up to 49 degrees parallel, Obamacare would apply to current-day Mexican nationals.

1 comment :

Thoughtful Living said...

Shifting the burden of financial responsibility does not make health care more affordable. Reduce the exorbitant health care worker salaries and then you would be addressing one big item which makes health care unaffordable.