Universal Health Care is a Fundamental Human Right That We Can Achieve By Removing Wasteful Private Profits From Our Healthcare System.
The mark of a civilized country is how it cares for its most vulnerable citizens. The United States has a moral and ethical obligation to provide full healthcare coverage to all of its 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.
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 two keys to correcting the broken healthcare system are universal coverage and cost control.
Universal coverage is vital because it brings healthy people into the risk pool, lowering the overall cost of health care. Under universal coverage, 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.
Once we have universal coverage, cost control can be engineered through a Unified Healthcare System (UHS) financed by a non-profit mechanism. It could be single-payer (like Canada or Great Britain) or multi-payer (like Germany and Japan), whereby government oversees the administration of health care so that every provider is under the same rules and regulations. Given our current infrastructure of multi-payers, the most efficient method of restructure would be to allow these private insurance companies to remain in the system if they re-organize as non-profit companies.
The first step to phase in UHS is to address the problem of prescription costs, which are currently out of control because the law prohibits Medicare from negotiating directly with pharmaceutical companies. Since only smaller, private companies can negotiate, each has less leverage than Medicare would have if it was allowed to directly negotiate down the prices. If elected, Chris Perri will introduce a bill authorizing Medicare to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies to reduce drug prices, saving an estimated $14 billion annually. The by-product of these Medicare savings will be that insurance companies will follow the lead of Medicare, lowering prescription costs for everyone.
Until UHS is implemented, Chris Perri supports the ACA due to its guaranteed coverage of pre-existing conditions, maternity, mental health services, and prescription costs. Fighting the health-insurance companies in order to reduce premiums is a short-term priority while we transition to a Unified Healthcare System.
Universal health care must include guaranteed coverage for all women’s health-related issues. 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.