Improving Health Care in America Through Medicare-for-All
To understand why we need Medicare-for-All, we must take stock of where we stand. Even with the successes of the ACA, nearly thirty million Americans remain uninsured. This varies significantly by state (as the map below shows), with many Medicaid expansion states having greatly reduced their uninsured rates.
Despite these improvements in coverage, tens of thousands of Americans still die each year because they lack access to quality health care. In addition, over half of uninsured Americans reported difficulty paying medical bills, while one out of five Americans with insurance also reported difficulties paying their bills. Those with difficulty paying medical bills cited the need to make hard choices, as they pitted the need for health care against the need for food, basic items, and preserving any semblance of savings.
The U.S. spends more on health care per capita than any other country—even countries with universal coverage— though our system covers far fewer people. This highlights vast inefficiencies. Americans also have worse health outcomes, including lower life-expectancy and higher infant mortality, despite how much more we spend than other rich countries.
Nearly 60 countries have some sort of universal health coverage, though many of these countries are far less wealthy. Even though these countries still make tweaks to their health care systems over time, none of these countries would ever seek to create a system where they would pay more, cover fewer people, and deliver worse health outcomes.
Medicare-for-All is the only way we can cover all Americans and end medical bankruptcy once and for all. If countries with less wealth can make universal coverage work, surely the wealthiest nation in the world can also do so. In fact, we have an example of our ability to do this in our system right now, as we already provide universal coverage for our seniors through Medicare. It is time to take that success and apply it to the rest of the population through a true Medicare-for-All system.
If you are interested in joining the fight for Medicare for all, please check out the Campaign For Guaranteed Healthcare at https://campaignforguaranteedhealthcare.org/ or @Campaign4Health on Twitter.
Photo courtesy Molly Adams/Flickr/CC By 2.0