Right-Wing Groups Oppose Health Care Expansion; 43 Million Could Lose Coverage; Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act Introduced; Resolution Efforts

Public Citizen Has You Covered

Welcome to this week’s edition of “We’ve Got You Covered,” a weekly tipsheet designed to highlight key news about Medicare for All and call out the biggest health care industry lies and falsehoods about universal health care. Please send tips, feedback and questions to Mike Stankiewicz at mstankiewicz@citizen.org or (202) 588-7779.

MORE THAN 27 MILLION UNINSURED; COULD REACH 43 MILLION

Americans are continuing to be kicked off their employer-based health insurance at the worst time imaginable.

About 27 million people have lost their insurance during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. But that might just be the tip of the iceberg. Up to 43 million Americans may lose their health insurance during the pandemic, according a study by the Urban Institute.

Tying health insurance to employment is dangerous, as the pandemic has demonstrated.

As a flow chart in the American Prospect’s “Guide to the Nightmare of Getting Health Insurance in a Pandemic” illustrates, the complexity of the current panorama facing those millions now uninsured would be laughable if it weren’t so deadly.

Medicare for All would cover every American, regardless of their employment status, and allow them to receive the care they need, including testing and treatment, with no out-of-pocket costs.

31 RIGHT-WING GROUPS OPPOSE HEALTH CARE DURING PANDEMIC

In what should not come as a shock to anyone, 31 right-wing groups, including the Galen Institute, Heritage Action and Americans for Prosperity, are actively opposing ensuring health care access for the millions of people who are losing their insurance during a pandemic.

The groups sent a letter opposing the Medicare Crisis Program Proposal, which would expand Medicare to Americans who lose their jobs due to the pandemic, saying it would rely on a “struggling federal health program” and would harm the economy.

Americans with government-sponsored health care plans, including Medicare, have consistently been the most satisfied with their coverage and rate Medicare as one of the most important programs. Medicare for All also would save the U.S. economy trillions over current health care spending, according to most research.

It’s distressing, but not shocking, that these organizations would prefer to leave tens of millions of Americans without health care just to defend their tired anti-government ideology at a time the private for-profit health care system is failing.

SENSIBLE REMEDIES

More than 36 million people have filed for unemployment since the coronavirus pandemic started, and because in the U.S., health care is tied to employment, millions have lost their coverage when they need it most. Thankfully there is a temporary remedy.

Last week, U.S. Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) unveiled the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act, which would eliminate all out-of-pocket health costs for every person during the COVID-19 crisis.

“It should be common sense that, amid the worst acute public health crisis in a century, everyone needs guaranteed access to health care,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “It is a stain on the country that so many Americans say they would avoid seeking care if they thought they had COVID-19 due to worries about financial burdens.”

At the same time, public health school deans also are calling on Congress to pass legislation that requires the Trump administration to use the Defense Production Act to produce coronavirus tests in mass amounts.

REMINDER:

As millions continue to lose their jobs – and their health care – Americans are realizing just how broken the health care system is – and they’re demanding action now.

Public Citizen is part of a coalition urging citizens to petition their local elected officials in cities, counties and towns from coast to coast to pass resolutions supporting Medicare for All. Such resolutions already have been passed in Los Angeles, Detroit, Philadelphia, New Orleans and dozens of other localities.

This grassroots mobilization community by community is how we’re going to win Medicare for All.

To speak with a Medicare for All policy expert, or if you have questions about Public Citizen’s work, please contact Mike Stankiewicz, mstankiewicz@citizen.org, (202) 588-7779.