We Need Medicare for All Now More Than Ever
NEW HOPE, PA, April 10, 2020 - On Friday, April 3rd, President Trump announced his administration would consider reimbursing hospitals for treating uninsured COVID-19 patients.
In other words, President Trump is looking at experimenting with a single-payer system that covers uninsured Americans for all costs related to treatment for the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
This move has freed many Americans from the anxiety of being unable to seek treatment, yet single-payer Medicare for All is often framed as "limiting freedom of choice" by preventing people from having options for their health coverage.
The truth is that single-payer Medicare for All is real freedom - it eliminates the insurance middlemen, allowing you to see any doctors you want and the government to make direct payments to them.
Assuming he does not take advantage of loopholes, President Trump will now be giving Americans a small taste of what a single-payer healthcare system could be like, but only those afflicted with coronavirus who do not have insurance will see this benefit. The problem?
For uninsured people who test negative for coronavirus, they have received bills of anywhere from $1000-3000. Fears of these bills have prevented many from getting tested. Even people with insurance who have required treatment have come out with bills in excess of $30,000. On top of all this:
10 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the past two weeks.
Even before that, 27 million Americans were uninsured and millions more live with lackluster policies that can leave their families riddled with debt.
66.5% of personal bankruptcies in the United States were medically related prior to coronavirus.
We have a problem. The vast majority of other countries pay half of what we do per person, provide comprehensive care to all people, and yet medical debt does not exist.
It is time to put the politics aside and look at what makes sense. We can and must do better.
You just want good doctors, no debt, and to keep your family healthy at all times, not just during a pandemic. We should simply cut out the insurance middlemen and their bureaucracy, end out of network costs and allow everyone to visit the doctors they want to. All it takes is allowing the government to make direct payments to providers for all medical conditions, including those requiring dental, hearing, eye care, and in-home care.
This is essentially what Medicare for All would do - and research in the esteemed Lancet Medical Journal, as well as at least 22 other studies, have shown it would cost significantly less than our current system over a 10-year period. The savings could be used to guarantee 12-weeks paid sick leave to all Americans so everyone would have the economic security to wait out this lockdown, as well as any other illness, with peace of mind.
It is time to think big and save millions of lives every year. We can cut medical expenditures per person and end medical debt. We can end copays, deductibles, premiums, and out of pocket expenses.
Let's pass Medicare for All and declare healthcare a human right in the United States of America.
Skylar D. Hurwitz
Independent Democratic Candidate for U.S. Congress in Pennsylvania's 1st District