"It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver." ― Mahatma Gandhi
The United States must work toward the goal of access to healthcare for all its citizens. Unlike other industrialized countries, access to healthcare in the US is rationed according to a citizen’s ability to pay. This has led to great disparities in health outcomes between the poorest and the richest in our nation. As a primary care physician, I have seen first-hand the damaging effects that lack of access to care has had on those who cannot pay. The healthcare community is united in asserting that we must take steps to protect the vulnerable in their healthcare needs.
The GOP Congress, including the incumbent John Carter, has continued to attack the Affordable Care Act, leading to a weakening of its protections. In 2018, 1.1 million people lost their coverage. It is vital that we protect patients as soon as we take back the Senate and the Presidency in 2020.
We must enact legislation that will lead to Universal Coverage as quickly as possible. While there are many options to achieve this goal, including Single Payer and public-private hybrid plans, I have advocated for Single Payer since 2009. While other systems may sound attractive, Single Payer is the least expensive, most expansive option, and it removes the profit motive from healthcare. The public agrees: current polling shows that 82% of Democrats, 66% of Independents, and 50% of Republicans support Single Payer Healthcare.
Because the healthcare system encompasses one-sixth of our economy, I am in favor of a transitional approach that minimizes disruption to the economy and our work force, while rapidly bringing coverage to those most at risk. This would initially include lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 55 and automatically enrolling all newborns into this system. We will then lower Medicare eligibility in increments until all Americans are covered.
While we work to transform out healthcare system, we must take the following steps to protect patients:
Immediately expand Medicaid. We must provide access to healthcare to our most vulnerable citizens. This could be done under existing law.
Immediately provide a Public Option. We must improve access to all citizens immediately as we reconstruct the entire system.
Immediately make ACA subsidies more generous so enrollees can more easily afford their plans. Access to healthcare is a human right. It is our duty to create a system that supports our fellow citizens.