Health Care For ALL
The mark of greatness is how one cares for others. There is a reason why Abraham Lincoln -- the man with charity for all and malice for none -- is so highly regarded across the entire world. The simple fact of the matter is this: health is a human right, health is freedom. The United States of America, a nation that must recommit to becoming a shining city upon a hill, has the moral obligation to ensure health care to all people.
Despite this moral imperative, the United States ranks 24th on the scale of Quality of Life Expectancy. This is unacceptable for the wealthiest country in the world.
Let me be clear: Universal coverage is necessary to deliver the quality, affordable health care that America deserves. By bringing healthy people into the risk pool, universal coverage lowers the overall cost of health care, as everyone has access to diagnostic and preventative services so that people are treated before they need costly life-saving operations. It is far more expensive to treat a sick patient than to keep a healthy one from becoming sick.
Healthcare costs are rising because private health insurance companies’ main goal is profit, rather than providing quality care at the lowest cost. These for-profit insurance companies waste $350 billion annually in the form of administrative costs and corporate profits. Although the ACA (Obamacare) limits profit margins of health insurance companies (around 15% of the amount spent on patient care), these companies have responded by increasing overall healthcare costs in order to increase their profits. Our premiums continue to rise because of this immoral, fraudulent practice.
Every other country in the developed world has found a way to finance healthcare through non-profit mechanisms. The United States is the only developed country where the healthcare system is administered by for-profit companies, and that’s the core problem.
The only viable solution is to provide a public option that guarantees universal, affordable health coverage to all Americans. Single-Payer, Medicare-for-All would accomplish this goal.
To ensure that a single-payer solution is cost efficient, we must implement a unified system whereby the federal government oversees the administration of health care instead of leaving each state to develop its own standards of care. A unified system can enforce quality measures, such as compatible electronic medical records that reduce medical errors and costly duplication of tests and services, as well as measure outcomes and mandate processes that are evidence-based rather than anecdotal.
As for lowering prescription costs, it is time to follow in the (relative) footsteps of Theodore Roosevelt by using antitrust laws against all monopolistic pharmaceutical corporations. It’s Time To Break Up Big Pharma. It is because of their domineering force that prescription drugs cost 2-10 times more in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world. They are the Robber Barons of our age. We must pass legislation that permits Medicare to directly negotiate prices. Big Pharma has lobbied against such legislation because they know that Medicare has enough negotiating clout to lower prescription drug prices.
Universal coverage solves the crisis of Women’s Health. Our maternal death rate is one of the highest of any developed nation (and Texas has the highest rate in the country!), with the rate increasing over the last decade. We must address this horrific situation, in part by supporting the organizations that help women the most, such as Planned Parenthood. Furthermore, let me be clear: we also must ensure that the only people making a choice about a woman’s health and her body are the individual woman and her doctor -- the anti-choicers in the Federal and state government shall not deny the right of choice. I firmly stand with Texas women and the right to choose.