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Argument: Universal health care makes a centralized national database possible

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"Should the Government Provide Free Universal Health Care for All Americans?". Balanced - "We can develop a centralized national database which makes diagnosis and treatment easier for doctors. Most doctor's offices maintain a separate record-keeping system. This is why you always have to fill out a lengthy health history whenever you go to a new physician. This is a problem for several reasons. First of all, it's wasteful of both time and money. Second of all, patients may lie, forget, or do a poor job of explaining past medical problems. Doctors need accurate information to make a proper diagnosis. Last of all, separate systems means we have a tougher time analyzing data at a national level. For example, are incidents of a certain disease dropping? How often is a certain illness associated with a specific set of symptoms? A centralized national system would allow us to do data analysis that we never dreamed possible, leading to medical advances and increased diagnosis efficiency. The main argument against a centralized database is that certain insurance providers may deny coverage if they find certain past medical problems. However, if the government is paying for everything, that should never be a problem."

Paul Krugman, Robin Wells. "The Health Care Crisis and What to Do About It". New York Times Review of Books. Volume 53, Number 5 ยท March 23, 2006 - "For example, the VA has taken the lead in introducing electronic medical records, which it can do far more easily than a private hospital chain because its patients stay with it for decades."

Jonathan Cohn. "Creative Destruction. The best case against universal health care." The New Republic. November 12, 2007 - "The government, by contrast, has plenty of incentive to prioritize these sorts of investments. And, in more centralized systems, it can do just that. Several European countries are way ahead of us when it comes to establishing electronic medical records. When fully implemented, these systems will allow any doctor, nurse, or hospital seeing a patient for the first time to discover instantly what drugs that person has taken. It's the single easiest way to prevent medication errors--a true innovation. Thousands of Americans die because of such errors every year, yet the private sector has neither the will nor, really, the way to fix this problem."

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