Universal Health Coverage in the US: Critical Analysis


In the article Universal health care coverage in the United States: Is it “slip sliding away”? Doherty (2010) reviews a number of problems that America’s healthcare system faces today. In particular, the author has reviewed political and social factors and hurdles that make it difficult for the country to achieve a universal healthcare coverage. The author’s research question is based on the title of the article; “are the attempts and efforts to provide universal healthcare in America sliding away?” In this case, the author’s research problem is related to the existing lack of the appropriate understanding of political, economic and social issues that affect the provision of universal health care in the country. Citing the current debate on healthcare reforms in the country, the author argues that achieving such a status will require additional efforts to restructure the current healthcare system. Although Doherty does not provide a clear thesis statement in this article, he has drawn information from a wide range of previous studies. He argues that lawmakers and political leaders in the country have caused the “slipping away” of universal healthcare in the country. According to Doherty, lawmakers and political leadership must work with physicians on restructuring the America’s healthcare system. In this way, they will be in a position to note that it is a moral and legal right for Americans to achieve universal healthcare.

Critical analysis of the author’s approach to article development

An abstract has been used to introduce the author’s work in the article. In this section, the author has successfully provided a quick overview of the research problem, research questions and the expected outcomes. However, it is clear that the author fails to show a quick view of how he conducted the research, especially in terms of methods used, data analysis and outcomes. Moreover, the article misses a crucial chapter- introduction- which must be present as the first chapter as per the conceptual format for research papers. A review of the current state of America’s healthcare system and the debate surrounding its reform is the main concept used by Doherty in this research article. This is to imply that the author’s main source of information for the research is based on a review of the existing research materials, drawn from a wide range of sources. Doherty fails to follow the conventional research protocol that requires him to provide a complete chapter for review of the literature. However, it is worth noting that he has reviewed several research articles by previous writers, which is equivalent to the review of literature needed in a scholarly article. Secondly, Doherty uses the review of literature as his preferred methodology for the study. In fact, the review of literature is based on a number of research articles that provide an in-depth analysis of healthcare problems facing American healthcare system, especially in terms of political and social aspect of the debate.

Doherty has also attempted to provide an in-depth analysis of the debate in a contemporary perspective. Moreover, the emergence of “Obamacare”, the government’s policy on healthcare reforms, is part of the critical debate related to the issue of provision of universal healthcare to Americans. Noteworthy, Doherty has attempted to choose a relatively recent issue of debate as the topic for the study.

By using a review of literature as his choice of research methods, Doherty has shown his ability to apply review study techniques that seek to describe a phenomenon based on the previous work by different entities. According to Creswell (2012), literature review is a study design by itself because it applies a systematic and reproducible way of identification, evaluation as well as interpretation of scholarly work on a given topic. In fact, the design is both descriptive and observational. In addition, Doherty has applied narrative review of literature because he does not follow a strict systematic method of locating and synthesising previous work.

It is necessary to examine the number and type of research articles reviewed in the study. In this case, it is clear that the author has drawn information from 22 articles. They were written and published between 2002 and 2010. By using 22 articles, Doherty has attempted to describe his ability to check on the sample size because a review of few articles would lead to bias while review of a large number of previous works may lead to redundancy. Therefore, it is convenient enough to argue that the sample size used in the article is not only adequate, but also appropriate for the research.

There is substantial evidence showing that Doherty’s work is applicable in solving the current issues facing healthcare reforms in the US. Doherty’s main argument is that the political divide is a principal cause of unwillingness to establish universal healthcare. In addition, the impact of immigrants on the debate was reviewed in the article. Another important area has attracted a lot of political debate. From the review of literature, Doherty suggests that healthcare workers should be allowed to work with lawmakers and other politicians in order to ensure that when laws are mad, patients’ diverse needs are addressed. In fact, the author has shown that provision of universal healthcare is a moral right that should be protected. I believe that the author’s findings should be applied in the national debate, especially in creating awareness that achieving a universal healthcare system is the right of every American citizen (Blendon & Benson, 2010). In this way, the public will have a greater role in reforming the national healthcare system.

A critical review of the Doherty’s article reveals a number of issues that were not addressed. For instance, it lacks a systematic review of literature. Secondly, Doherty failed to provide an in-depth data analysis section, which is supposed to show the reader how crucial information was obtained from the materials researched. Moreover, the article does not have a discussion section. It does not have a clear conclusion and recommendation section. Therefore, in order to improve the research, Doherty should consider applying a more aggressive way of examining past materials. In fact, he should have taken a systematic or meta-analysis review of literature in order to increase the degree of credibility of the article.

However, Doherty has not provided an ultimate answer to the search for literature as a research method. Therefore, further studies should consider using experimental or non-experimental study designs to examine the phenomenon and come up with additional information on how the problem of universal health could be solved.


Doherty’s work on the article shows a number of strengths and weaknesses in his research and article development procedures. For instance, he shows ability to research on a contemporary topic and issue facing the healthcare system. Moreover, he has shown that there is a need for different experts in legal and healthcare sectors to work together for the common benefit of the citizens. However, the research method is relatively weak because it lacks does not have a systematic way of analyzing and reviewing past materials. Doherty argues that achieving such a status will require additional efforts to restructure the current healthcare system. Doherty uses the review of literature as his preferred methodology for the study. The author finds out that lawmakers and political leadership must work with physicians in restructuring America’s healthcare system. In this way, they will understand that it is a moral right for Americans to achieve universal healthcare within their areas of residence. Therefore, universal healthcare remains to be a critical target for the US, but lack of political will and the debate surrounding the topic have created unnecessary delays in enacting new laws to ensure every person has an access to the appropriate medical services. Although the author has attempted to present his analysis in a scholarly manner, he has not provided an ultimate answer to the search for literature as a research method. Therefore, further studies are needed to expand knowledge on the topic. In addition, researchers should use experimental or non-experimental study designs to examine the phenomenon and come up with additional information on how the problem of universal health could be solved.


Blendon, R. J., & Benson, J. M. (2010). Health care in the 2010 congressional election. N Engl J Med, 363(4), 30-37.

Creswell, J.W. (2012). Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall

Doherty, R. B. (2011). Universal health care coverage in the United States: Is it “slip sliding away”? Annals of internal medicine, 154(2), 118-120.

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