The tremendous greed of the for-profit health insurance system even in the face of a pandemic highlights why we need Medicare for All
By Melinda St. Louis
The Trump administration’s flailing response to the coronavirus epidemic illustrates the need both for investments in public health and to establish health care as a right for all people living in the U.S.
Health care workers have said they lack adequate protective gear, test kits have been slow to reach health care providers and people who have come forward to be tested have received bills as high as several thousand dollars that their insurers initially refused to pay.
The last thing we need is for people to avoid visiting the doctor or getting tested if they think they’ve got this highly contagious and possibly deadly disease.
Coronavirus makes clear what has been true all along. Your health is as safe as that of the worst-insured, worst-cared-for person in your society. It will be decided by the height of the floor, not the ceiling.
— Anand Giridharadas (@AnandWrites) February 27, 2020
And Republicans, for once, seem open to the idea of reimbursing hospitals for coronavirus testing and making such tests and treatment free for uninsured patients.
But insurers have made it clear they plan to make money off this crisis. They are refusing to waive copays for coronavirus treatment even though they are waiving copays for testing. If costs are waived for tests, but not for treatment, people who test positive for the coronavirus may not be able to afford treatment and will continue to infect others.
Trump's claim tonight that health insurers "have agreed to waive all copayments for coronavirus treatments" seems to be news to them.
“For testing. Not for treatment.” a spokesperson for the major insurance lobby AHIP says.
— Sarah Owermohle (@owermohle) March 12, 2020
The tremendous greed of the for-profit health insurance system even in the face of a global pandemic highlights why we need a Medicare for All system, which would guarantee testing and health care to everyone living in the U.S.
Medicare for All would eliminate all premiums, copays and deductibles, and would allow everyone — no matter their age, race, zip code or employment status — to go to the doctor of their choice and get treated before they spread illnesses to others.