Up to 126,000 Could Lose Contraceptive Coverage; Pandemic Racial Disparities; Medicare for All Resolution Passes in New Hampshire

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, mstankiewicz@citizen.org, (202) 588-7779.

BIRTH CONTROL FOR 126,000 COULD BE ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK

One of last week’s U.S. Supreme Court rulings has proved just how dangerous tying health care to employment is.

The court’s decision to let stand the Trump administration’s attack on reproductive justice by allowing more employers to opt out of providing free birth control could cause up to 126,000 Americans to lose contraceptive coverage from their employers.

“The fact that employers have any say over any aspect of access to basic health care for employees is preposterous,” said Melinda St. Louis, director of Public Citizen’s Medicare for All campaign. “What treatments should be affordable and accessible should never be determined by one’s employer or employment status.”

Medicare for All would unshackle health care coverage from employment, meaning workers would no longer be at the mercy of their bosses for their medical needs. It would guarantee that everyone in the U.S. could get the treatment and care they need, including birth control, with no out-of-pocket costs.

THE RACIAL INEQUITY OF CORONAVIRUS

It’s been well documented that communities of color are being disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but a New York Times analysis shows just how stark these disparities are.

Latino and Black residents in the U.S. are up to three times more likely to become infected compared to white residents, according to the Times. Nationally, Black and Latino people are also twice as likely to die from the disease, and these disparities persist across state and regional boundaries.

For example, 40% of those infected with the disease in Kansas are Black or Latino, despite making up just 16% of the state’s population. In Tennessee, Black residents make up 12% of the population, but account for 33% of coronavirus deaths. And in Fairfax County, Va., one of the wealthiest counties in the U.S., Latinos are four times as likely to test positive for the disease than white residents.

Medicare for All would not end the systemic racism in our health care system, but it is a crucial step to improve efforts to address the racial health disparities that plague the U.S. by ensuring no American goes without health care coverage or treatment because of their income, location or race.

HANOVER, N.H. DEMANDS MEDICARE FOR ALL

In response to the pandemic that’s already killed 130,000 Americans, yet another city has officially signaled its support for a guaranteed health care system.

Last week, residents of Hanover, N.H. voted in favor of a resolution supporting Medicare for All during its annual town meeting, joining a growing list of localities that have passed resolutions in support of Medicare for All. Public Citizen is part of a coalition urging citizens to petition their local governments to pass these resolutions to signal to Congress the strength of this growing movement. In recent months the coronavirus pandemic has galvanized city councils from New Orleans to Knoxville, Tenn. to South Bend, Ind. to pass Medicare for All resolutions,.

“Local governments are bearing the brunt of the failures of our for-profit health care system and the lack of national leadership during this unprecedented pandemic,” said Melinda St. Louis, director of Public Citizen’s Medicare for All campaign. “They are taking a stand to say, ‘enough is enough: it’s time to make health care a right for everyone.’”

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

REMINDER:

During the worst pandemic in a century, right-wing groups are actively opposing health care access for the millions of people who have lost their jobs and insurance.

Recently 31 groups, including the Galen Institute, Heritage Action and Americans for Prosperity, 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 prefer to leave tens of millions of Americans without health care just to defend their tired anti-government ideology at a time when the private for-profit health care system is failing.

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.