Medicare for All provides healthcare as a human right

Every one deserves healthcare as a matter of right. Nobody should have to sacrifice their health because they can’t afford care. 

Medicare for All would end the era of predatory for-profit healthcare, and acknowledge the human right to healthcare already well-established across the rest of the world. By creating an equitable single-payer healthcare system funded through tax dollars, instead of a complex web of insurance co-pays, deductibles, and administrative bureaucracy, Medicare for All can fundamentally fix our failing healthcare system while saving $2 trillion dollars over the next ten years.

A fundamental conflict of interest

The current for-profit system harms patients and healthcare providers. Pharmaceutical and health insurance companies are making record profits, prioritizing lucrative drugs, hiking prices of critical life-saving treatment, and relentlessly pursuing higher premiums. [1][2][3] At the same time, more people are experiencing medical bankruptcy than ever before, the amount of money we spend on healthcare is 40% higher than the spend of any other country, and our healthcare outcomes are getting worse when compared to other countries.[4][5][6]

Spending on Healthcare, per capita, 2019 (OECD)

The pandemic threatens to make things even worse. Pharmaceutical companies are poised to prioritize profit on a vaccine even as they receive hundreds of millions in public funding. [7] Millions are losing their healthcare coverage as businesses lay off workers.[8] Far too many people already have to decide between basic medical needs, food, and rent, and removing healthcare coverage from millions more threatens to plunge us deeper into crisis.

It was brutal and vicious before the pandemic to deny care and medicine to people who couldn’t afford it. To maintain that commitment to capital before people during a pandemic, however, is senseless to the point of idiocy. We all share an interest in making sure that everyone can get the care and medicine they need. Public health is a public good, not a commodity.

Revitalizing American healthcare

Medicare for All would ensure that no American would ever go bankrupt or face homelessness due to illness. By expanding lower-cost preventive care,  reducing administrative waste, and leveraging the government’s purchasing power to drive down inflated profit margins, Medicare for All will reduce costs. [9]

During an economic decline and pandemic, as more Americans lose their jobs or become freelance contractors without access to employer benefits, it’s senseless to tie health coverage to employment. We need a change in leadership to put an end to insurance and pharmaceutical profiteering  to extract trillions from sick Americans.

Universal health care is a necessity both for public health and economic recovery.

Notes and further reading

  1. The Guardian, June 2019. Capitalism gone wrong: how big pharma created America's opioid carnage
  2. Politico, July 2020. Drug prices steadily rise amid pandemic, data showsCBS News, January 2020. 2020 is three days old and drug prices are already jumping
  3. Kaiser Family Foundation, September 2019. 2019 Employer Health Benefits Survey CNBC, September 2019. Health insurance premiums increased more than wages this year
  4. The Guardian, November 2019. 'I live on the street now': how Americans fall into medical bankruptcy American Journal of Public Health, November 2018. Medical Bankruptcy: Still Common Despite the Affordable Care Act (Paywall)
  5. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Data, 2019 Health spending: Total / Government/compulsory / Voluntary, US dollars/capita
  6. OECD Data, 2019 Life expectancy at 65Life expectancy at birth.Infant mortality.
  7. The New York Times, July 2020 Some Vaccine Makers Say They Plan to Profit From Coronavirus Vaccine
  8. Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), April 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and the loss of health insurance
  9. Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP). How can we afford it?