Medicare For All
A government that is “for the people, and by the people” should certainly be one that cares for and addresses the fundamental needs of human life–at the bare minimum this should mean access to affordable health care as a fundamental right, as in all other advanced democracies. Those who promote the idea that market forces alone should govern our society have promulgated propagandistic memes to dissuade the American people from claiming their right to universal health care. Phrases like, “that’s socialist,” and “that’s expensive, where do we have the money” are used to distract us from realizing that with a government “of, by and for the people,” universal health care should be seen as the most natural thing in the world. Our government choosing to frivolously spend $800 Billion on a military budget and then saying that it doesn’t have any money to pay for and provide basic health care for its citizens is similar to giving $100 to a child, the child spending all of it on candy, and the child saying that he/she has no money to buy bandaids. It’s ridiculous, I know. It happened again in the corporate bailout that Congress approved with the recent COVID19 quarantine as well.
Why We Need It
Healthcare coverage should never be tied to one’s job or economic work value—it’s inhumane. Period. Today, more than 40 million Americans don’t have health insurance, as 10 more million people lost their healthcare coverage in the recent COVID19 pandemic, and even more are under-insured. And even for those with insurance, costs are so high that medical bills have become the leading cause of bankruptcy filings in our country. Our country spends more of our national GDP on our inadequate health care system, per person, than any other major country does. Yet, we have worse health outcomes and a higher infant mortality rate than countries that spend less on health care.
And it’s unfortunate that our current healthcare system has become a sickness care system that reflects an outdated perspective on health and healing; far too little attention is given to the cultivation of a healthy lifestyle, and to both mental and physical disease-prevention. Moreover, with environmental, food, chemical and agricultural policies that harm our people and get us sick, we must also act in conjunction to restore power to the Environmental Protection Agency to protect our environment and thus our health; restore the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act in full; ban dangerous pesticides; label genetically engineered food; and restore power to the Food and Drug Administration so it can once again guard the American people from toxic substances that should not be on our shelves.
Until America comes to terms with how much we have acquiesced to the many unhealthy practices that should be considered unlawful—but which are currently allowed in order to increase corporate profits—we will continue to have a less-than-meaningful discussion about how as a society we provide health care.
Pharmaceutical companies, healthcare insurance companies, and their lobbies have spent billions of dollars over the past decades to ensure that their profits come before the health of the American people, and are paying the incumbent, and my opponent, thousands more to keep him in office to protect them.
All of this must stop here.
Half of Americans now have at least one chronic disease, while four in ten have multiple diseases. From heart disease, to diabetes, to cancer, to auto-immune diseases, to asthma, many chronic conditions are preventable. Even when they have already manifested, if treated at their root cause, they are far more manageable to deal with and often even reversible.
And denying our people the right to affordable healthcare coverage only makes things worse.
What We Are Fighting For
In order to care for our people, we must create a Medicare For All, single-payer, national health insurance program to provide everyone in America with comprehensive health coverage, free at the point of service, with no networks, no premiums, no deductibles, no copays, and no surprise bills. Further, coverage will need to be expanded and improved to include: dental, hearing, vision, home and community based long-term care, in-patient and out-patient services, mental health and substance abuse treatment, reproductive and maternity care, prescription drugs, other preventive care services like mindfulness clinics, trauma counseling services and marriage counseling, and more.
And to lower the prices of prescription drugs now, we need to:
- Allow Medicare to negotiate with the big drug companies to lower prescription drug prices with the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act.
- Allow patients, pharmacists, and wholesalers to buy low-cost prescription drugs from Canada and other industrialized countries with the Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act.
- Cut prescription drug prices in half, with the Prescription Drug Price Relief Act, by pegging prices to the median drug price in five major countries: Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Japan.
What It Will Do
By stepping up and really caring for our people in the most basic areas, like health, we unleash the power and spirit of the American people again, from their daily fervor of anxiety, sickness and scare, and economic debt related to medical bills. Additionally, our people will take less time off work, and have more money in their pockets. Other issues— like mass incarceration, homelessness and more—will also be alleviated once an increasing number of people are getting the mental and physical health care they need.
We would also be spending money on doctors, nurses, mental health specialists, dentists, and other professionals who provide services to people and improve their lives, along with investing in the development of new drugs and technologies that cure disease and alleviate pain—and not wasting hundreds of billions of dollars a year on profiteering, huge executive compensation packages, and outrageous administrative costs.