Healthcare will always be a major factor in the running of a country, Aretecracy gets an advantage as it encourages a healthier society anyway but that doesn’t mean accidents won’t happen, that people won’t get ill and that the old still won’t need a lot of attention from healthcare professionals.
The old way
We will use UK National Health Service as an example here as the US system is just atrocious. The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK is free at the point of use. This means that when you go to the hospital or doctors, you don’t need to pay for anything. Unless you get a prescription and then you pay a standard prescription charge (which is around £7 at the time of this writing). This system is funded by the UK tax system known as National Insurance which anyone who earns money is required to contribute to.
If you are unable to earn money then you are not required to pay National Insurance contributions and even your prescriptions a free.
The problem with this system is that it still operates in a world of financial greed, as it is modelled on a government system, it has a yearly budget, each department is assigned a slice of that budget and if they don’t use all of it, the next year they will be assigned a smaller slice. This means that regardless of need, departments in the NHS will haemorrhage money just to ensure they don’t lose out the following year, this artificially inflates the budget and makes the NHS a huge, bloated system full of pointless expenses.
Even worse, because a lot of the budget gets allocated to pointless endeavours in other departments, departments which DO need the high budget allocation lose out, so we end up with a situation where the NHS is both over-funded AND under-funded at the same time.
The new way
Under Aretecracy, producing unhealthy things will no longer be big-business, that’s not to say these things won’t exist (I for one, can’t imagine a world without cheeseburgers) but instead of them being everywhere, they will be reduced as producing this kind of food en masse will no longer be economically viable for most companies.
When healthcare is required, it will be completely free. Not just at the point of use but at every step of the way. Everyone under Aretecracy will have their medal records attached to their government ID, however only emergency services and healthcare professionals will be allowed to access other peoples records. As all records are centralised, it won’t matter where you are in the world (as long as you are in an Aretecractic country), you will be able to attend any Doctors office or Hospital and be seen as soon as possible.
Working as a doctor will make you a government employee, which comes with an increased allowance, a higher standard of living and a higher level of grace earning, therefore there should be no shortage of healthcare professionals. This should hopefully reduce waiting times considerably and ideally appointments will always be available within a few days at the most.
Medication will fall into two categories. Essential and non-essential. Essential medication is anything which is prescribed to you by a healthcare professional and will be completely free, it will not count towards the spend of any of your allowance categories. Non-essential medication (for example, Aspirin) will be able to be purchased using your living essentials credits.
Advanced medical care such as extended hospital stays or lengthy operations will also be completely free, also whilst you will not earn Grace when unable to work due to medical conditions any allowance increase you had due to your employment beforehand will continue until you are able to return to work.