Our broken healthcare system prioritizes profits over people. That is fundamentally wrong and wholly immoral. I had a medically fragile son, and experienced first hand the horror of navigating a for profit health care system. Our medical insurance and children’s medicaid didn’t cover the medical equipment that his very life depended on. I had to get a part time job teaching at an alternative school and we sold the car my eldest son used to commute to and from work. Our system is broken. We saw that all too well this past year as millions were left vulnerable, without healthcare, during a pandemic. With Medicare for All, we can end the days when a family goes bankrupt because someone got sick and at long last we can put people at the center of our approach to healthcare.
Despite the progress made by Obamacare, 11% of North Carolinians remain uninsured (significantly above the national average). While we need the NCGA to approve the expansion of Medicaid which would immediately ensure coverage for 500k North Carolinians, we must embrace Medicare for All and ensure true universal healthcare.
Sometimes, tragedies grant us clarity and perspective, an ability to understand things we may have previously failed to grasp. The tragedy inflicted on us by the coronavirus has been no exception. One-third of COVID-19 related deaths have been connected to a lack of health coverage. COVID-19 has further laid bare the systemic racism that inflicts every aspect of our country. It’s revealed that despite what certain conservative pundits may want you to believe, we need government and that government matters. Most devastatingly, it’s exposed a healthcare system that is utterly inadequate, fueled by greed, morally bankrupt and in desperate need of change.
If there was ever any question as to whether our healthcare system needed more reforms or mass transformation, well, there shouldn’t be anymore. Over 500,000 and counting are dead. Hospitals have been overrun, nurses have been forced to work while lacking the proper protective gear and many who’ve been lucky enough to survive have been left with bills they cannot afford. The system currently in place, simply put, does not work.
The system we have is there for you least, just when you need it the most. Losing your job is hard enough, why should that struggle be further compounded by the loss of your health coverage? And even with the insurance coverage that people have, as Senator Warren pointed out last year, many people think that they like their health insurance until something actually goes wrong and then, they’re left with an untenable bill, a stack of paperwork and endless legal battles. Right now, we have a health INSURANCE system, what we need, is a health CARE system. Medicare for All moves us in that direction. Healthcare should be a human right, not a “benefit” that needs to be negotiated for and hard earned.
Reform is not enough when the entire system is centered around profits, not people.
When the wealthiest nation on the planet does not guarantee healthcare to its citizens, that’s a choice. An unconscionable choice. We as a nation deem poverty a death sentence. We, as the democratic party, have not done enough to change that. Obamacare was groundbreaking and it made a real palpable difference in the lives of millions of Americans. However, we can’t let the progress of the past keep us from fighting for the progress of the future.
Congressman Ro Khanna has called Medicare For All “the moral issue of our time.” He’s right. Let it be us who finally create a system of healthcare in which your zip code does not determine your quality of treatment, in which your life is prioritized over some corporation’s bottom line.
In his speech accepting the nomination, then Vice President Biden said that the best way to overcome tragedy is to derive purpose from it. Those were words of wisdom and a sentiment we should carry with us. As we continue to battle COVID, as we continue to wrestle with how we as a nation can possibly overcome this, let’s try, as hard as it may be, to find purpose. Let’s find purpose in ensuring that no more Americans die because we decided to line the pockets of corporations instead of saving the lives of our brothers and sisters. Let’s find purpose in allowing our legislation to match our rhetoric, and legislate a beloved community into existence by passing Medicare for All.