CSM Faculty Excellence Lecture Series: “Provocations”

"Is Universal Healthcare Cover Possible in a Capitalistic Society?"

Presented by Naila Russell

Naila Russell

November 8, 2018, 7 p.m.
La Plata Campus 
Learning Resource Center (LR Building), Room 102

The lectures are free, but tickets are required and can be obtained at the CSM Box Office at

Healthcare in the United States is fragmented and broken in many ways. Some even argue that to call healthcare in the United States a system is a misnomer. The guiding principles of medicine often conflict with political agendas and the very economic fiber of the United States. As a nation our economy is based on the premise of capitalism. The healthcare system that does exist is costly, nearing upward of 17% of the gross domestic product (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 2016). This American investment has not resulted in a positive return, rather quite the opposite. Healthcare indicators and outcomes in the United States are lower than other developed nations year after year.

In response to this President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law in March of 2010. Through an individual mandate citizens would be compelled to purchase healthcare insurance. This would decrease the rates of uninsured and offset costs to those with costly chronic or pre-existing conditions by increasing the number of young and healthy individuals entering the insurance markets. The ACA also allowed for Medicaid expansion. Essentially providing federal funds to states to allow them to offer Medicaid coverage to an expanded number of people based on income. While the ACA did decrease the number of uninsured it inadvertently increased disparities between states which expanded Medicaid and those that did not. The ACA was also criticized for not decreasing costs in the United States.

Throughout the past ten years the ACA has been challenged in court. Legislatures have called to repeal the ACA without offering solvent alternatives. Earlier this year the ACA was effectively weakened through tax legislation resulting in the effective elimination of the individual mandate. Through this all more and more Americans are beginning to consider universal healthcare coverage. Some polls report a 60% rate of support among Americans for Medicare for all (, 2018). The question that the United States is grappling with is whether healthcare is a right or a privilege? Essentially, can universal healthcare coverage exist in a capitalistic society? This presentation will attempt to answer these questions.

About the Lecturer:

Naila Russell DNP, FNP-BC is an Assistant Professor of Nursing at the College of Southern Maryland. She has been practicing as a family nurse practitioner since 2014. In providing primary care, Dr. Russell has seen first-hand how Medicaid expansion has increased access to care and also the negative consequences of inadequate healthcare coverage. Dr. Russell is also the course lead for a healthcare systems course offered through Nursing@Simmons. In this role she teaches future nurse practitioners about the healthcare system in the United States. Through discussion Dr. Russell and her students consider healthcare policies and how best to meet the needs of all Americans. Dr. Russell believes that healthcare is a right, not a privilege, and advocates for quality healthcare for all Americans.

About the Series:

The CSM Faculty Excellence Lecture Series was established to highlight and share the scholarly work and interests of our faculty with their colleagues, students, and community members. The lectures are free, but tickets are required and can be obtained at the CSM Box Office at For more on the series, call 301-934-7578 or e-mail Stephen Johnson at