Coverage for All: Prioritizing Patients, Updating Standards, and Preventing Bankruptcy
The many aspects of our health are both wide-reaching and constantly changing: from birth to death, from a worldwide pandemic to tragic school shootings, from mental and emotional difficulties to physical disabilities, from broken bones and sprained ankles to preventable cancers and chronic illnesses. The past few months have shown us that our health is much more public than we may have otherwise thought. Some things are inevitable, some things will only come to a few, but there is one thing in common, our ability to access vital healthcare has life-altering effects.
The United States has the highest rated costs of service and medicine in the world. Doctors and nurses work daily in the shadows of overpaid administrators, having to work in less than ideal situations because their requests for supplies were denied in the name of shareholder returns. Corporate run hospitals keep the medical focus on money and administration instead of workers and patients, hyper-inflating the costs of medicinal manufacturing and simple services to compensate for quarterly predictions. Patients are often hit with the recoil, accruing mountains of debt to pay for life-saving treatments and circumstantial stabilizing medicine. I’ve had to face the difficult question, do I schedule this surgery or that treatment and pay the financial price, or do I risk potentially permanent isolation or even death to be able to pay for next month’s bills? I know I am not alone in this experience. Too many of our citizens are faced with this same, unnecessary dilemma and too many of them risk potentially fatal outcomes because they simply cannot afford food, rent, AND their medication. Sadly, these choices leave more and more people with no other choice than to turn to bankruptcy.
Many contribute to religious and charitable organizations that help the sick and the afflicted, and they demonstrate their desire to help those who are less fortunate and unable to provide for themselves. However, when asked if they would love and care for their neighbors they regurgitate unverified propaganda and site an infringement of their personal or religious freedoms. When we look at other countries, many of them have thrived with more general access to healthcare and medicine but when elements of that success are mentioned or incorporated into policy, those suggesting the alterations are labeled traitorous socialists for seeing that the grass is greener on the other side and fighting to make ours as green.
The fact of the matter is this: As it is currently constituted, our healthcare is insufficient, not universally accessible, and in many cases too expensive for essential treatments.
Severe structural alterations will take time but there is something we can start to change now: our mentality. Understanding that our health concerns more than just us, we can start to see that we are all connected. We are family. If we can see each other in this way, we can build the courage it takes to stand up for the changes we would want to see help the ones we love. If someone in your family breaks a limb just before a trip to Disneyland, do you tell them, “Good luck! Stay hydrated and sleep because we will be doing a lot of walking.”? No. We care for them. It is our responsibility to take care of our people, our family. Not only will it improve the lives of those we’re caring for, but this care will protect us all from public health issues and the naturally unexpected.
Healthcare goes beyond physical ailments. Regular preventative checkups, proper mental health understanding and care, accessible treatment, procedures, and services can catch and more quickly and effectively treat developing issues and greatly increase the base standard of living across the board. Healthcare for all is more than a convenience, it is a demonstration of our understanding that our moral obligation is to strengthen the health of our people.
There must be an option, affordable and wide-reaching, ever present for those who want it. My support for universally accessible healthcare does not remove the ability to maintain private insurance that could better suit your needs, instead, it creates a safety net that ensures focus stays where it needs to, on the people. Building a nationwide healthcare coverage plan brings private health care systems up to federal standards with equipment and facilities, it decreases prices on medication and services, and policies enacted alongside the coverage plans can keep corporations from raising prices to suit their own interests. Most importantly, it creates life-saving backup plans that keep every citizen from losing their physical and financial futures.