Millions in our nation have just lost their jobs and their family’s health insurance in the middle of a COVID-19 pandemic. These families not only face the prospect of illness, but enormous medical expenses if they cannot scramble in time to apply for COBRA or Obamacare, which may not be affordable without income.
The insured may face large bills as well. Knowing this, many people wait too long to access care. This pandemic magnifies the chronic shortcomings of our broken health insurance system. We can no longer ignore this.
Our Canadian neighbors and European allies share our burdens of reduced income and threat of disease, but are saved the anxiety regarding their health care as their coverage is universally provided, and not tied to employment.
It took an act of Congress to make COVID-19 testing, a basic public health necessity, free to the public. Readers, please ask Congress to pass another act, HR 1384, which frees our patients, our doctors, and our hospitals from the barriers of expensive middlemen, the for-profit insurers.
HR 1384 provides for annual government funding to our hospitals based on their actual budgets, and fee for service payment to our providers. This is delivered at a lower cost per person due to savings on drugs, advertising, and complex administrative systems and salaries.
Let’s recognize that healthcare, like elementary education, is a common good, and promotes the health and productivity of our nation.
Now is the time for single payer/Medicare for all. It works in Canada, it works in Europe, and it will work here.
Kathleen Healey, MD
Physicians for a National Health Program