The United States Desperately Needs Medicare for All

  • January 22, 2021
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The United States Desperately Needs Medicare for All – Democratic Article

The United States desperately needs Medicare for all. Our healthcare system is broken and needs immediate fixing. Over two-thirds of all bankruptcies are due to medical debt. That’s over 530,000 families. Over 45,000 people die due to lack of access to healthcare in the US. Over 28 million people are uninsured. How is this possible in the wealthiest country in the world? The US spends an exorbitant $3.6 trillion, which is roughly 20% of GDP. It turns out that this one of the highest healthcare spending in the world. It’s evident we have the money for it. Given the current size and power of the Federal government, it must cover healthcare costs for all its citizens.

It’s time the US provided healthcare coverage for all Americans. People are suffering from a lack of national healthcare. Not only because they are not receiving the care they need, but also because the government has no vested interest in keeping people healthy, other than for military service. Many countries with nationalized healthcare systems have a much healthier population than the United States. The Canadian life expectancy is 82 years while in the US it’s only 78. Why is this when the two countries that have similar obesity rates, 64% and 71% respectively? It is because Canadians have better access to healthcare. It’s not that the level of care in Canada is superior to the American level of care. It’s just that all Canadians have access to it.

The Canadian government also has a plethora of nutrition and education programs. They clearly have a vested financial interest in the health of their population. In the US the incentive structure is totally backwards. Insurance companies and hospitals profit immensely off patients needing care. Their financial incentive is to keep the people unhealthy and constantly needing care so they can keep extracting profits from them. Some will defend this system by saying that it has the highest quality of care in the world, which might be true. However, there are too many people who simply can’t afford it and suffer because of that. We need a nationalized system that will care for all Americans.

Conservatives will state that care is rationed in countries that have a nationalized system. Well in America care is rationed too, but not for the same reasons. In the US it’s because people can’t afford the care they need. Plus, Canadians who need immediate care obtain it. If you need a heart surgery in Canada, you can get it within days. But if you have a non-life-threatening injury you may have to wait a bit. Which is what I had to do when I got my ankle surgery in 2017 in the US. I was misdiagnosed and because of that I had to wait 3 months to get surgery. But all turned out fine, my ankle is good as new. But what wasn’t fine was the outrageous medical bills; over $44,000 for the surgery. In a country like Canada, the UK, Australia, or France my surgery would have been free.

Conservatives will also state that a system like this would be too expensive and that people will be taxed to death. This is simply incorrect. In a nationalized system taxes would go up, but there would be zero out of pocket payments meaning no one would go bankrupt due to medical debt. Additionally, if a nationalized plan were adopted, it would use progressive taxation ensuring that working class families would not take on an outsized share of the burden. Finally, all Americans would finally have access to good quality healthcare. Making sure they get the treatments and medications they need to live a decent life with dignity.

It’s time the United States of America joined the rest of its allies in providing its citizens with Medicare for all. America must ensure there are no citizens left behind. What better time to implement it in than a pandemic that has killed over 400,000 Americans.

Written by Democratic Writer, Ali Lahrech

Point of Information

Ideology Impedes Progress: Medicare for all will not solve the problem – A Republican Response

My colleague Ali writes an excellent piece presenting his case for universal health care in the US. However, I think the main issue surrounding healthcare in the US is both parties obsession with ideology and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Republicans are hell bent on repealing and replacing it. On the other side, Democrats are obsessed with it and cannot seem to admit to the various faults the system clearly has. While politicians bicker over silly formalities, Americans are dying.

The Covid-19 pandemic has only further exacerbated these issues. As my colleague pointed out, this has lead to the death of over 400,000 Americans. Meanwhile, it appears that the Republicans have found a new muse to entertain themselves during this pandemic: overturning the results of the election. On the other hand, Democrats have resorted to their “Ol’ Reliable”: trying to get Trump removed from office. The two parties would rather attempt to tear down the other one before addressing the real issues this country faces.

The ACA is a flawed system. However, rather than rollback the progress made with it, I believe the way forward is to address the major problems with the ACA. We should supplement this with free market options as well rather than introduce some monolithic universal healthcare system. Joe Biden’s plan to protect and build on the ACA is a strong plan in my opinion, and will hopefully help address some of the flaws in the ACA. The public option, Medicare, should be able to compete in terms of quality and pricing with private options, whether they be bought individually or provided through an employer. As long as this remains an option rather than an obligation, the expansion of the ACA should in turn become a great feat of the Biden administration.

I’m hoping Biden and his Democratic colleagues in Congress prioritize the American people in his first 100 days in office. The country is being pushed to the brink due to the pandemic, and it is in the people’s best interest that the Democrats now focus on Covid-19 Relief and addressing the ACA, not impeaching Trump. This is the best way moving forward to ensure Joe Biden has a successful four years in office. The first 100 days will be make or break.

Written by Republican Writer, Sebastian Calcopietro

Scrapping the Affordable Care Act would be careless – A Foreign Perspective

Ali has raised some interesting to points that must be taken into account. However, the people must be put first due to the scale of the COVID-19 outbreak. The Biden administration has been reactive thus far by signing an executive order calling for everyone to wear face masks in federal departments and buildings. Biden is also looking to implement a new economic stimulus package to reinforce the response to COVID-19.

Biden’s administration must remember not to do too much too soon by focusing on Medicare. The pandemic is far too important and extra efforts must be made in the vaccination programme to bring the virus under control. If Biden’s message is to focus on uniting the country, then Medicare should wait. The Republicans are still sore that Donald Trump was not re-elected. It is evident that they desire unity, especially with Mike Pence and Mitch McConnell snubbing Donald Trump’s farewell event, but the Republicans will only help up until a certain point. Biden must focus on the bigger task at hand and put Medicare to the side for the time being.

It would be counter-productive to just roll back the ACA and as Sebastian has mentioned. Instead, the major flaws and issues must be identified, rectified and improved. I agree with Sebastian whereby the COVID-19 response is more important than focusing on driving Biden’s agenda forward. Of course, that should happen, but right now, there is a greater task to overcome.

Written by Foreign Perspective Writer, Max Jablonowski

Ali Lahrech
Democratic Writer | Website

Hi, I’m Ali and I’m in my third year at the University of Toronto. I’m studying International Relations as my major and Spanish as my minor.

 

I was born and raised in Washington DC to Moroccan parents. This gave me a unique lens with which to observe the country I was raised in. While I am an American citizen, I often have a different perspective than my friends and peers whose families have been in the United States for much longer than mine. Growing up in around DC also gave the unique opportunity of being at the heart of American politics. Ever since President Barrack Obama’s first inauguration in 2009 I was hooked.

 

I have always been left of the American center and most closely aligned myself with the Democratic party. While I vote for the Democratic party, like many Americans I’m starting to feel more and more disillusioned with them and the two-party system. The 2016 election is was the catalyst for my dissatisfaction with the American political parties. I had seen the Republican party move further and further right while the Democrats hadn’t really moved left. They had essentially implemented a policy of appeasement towards the Republicans. In summation I was disappointed that the Democrats had bent the knee to Republicans rather than proposing and implementing bold and forward-thinking policies that would help Americans.

 

This disappointment and disillusionment started to transform into optimism after the 2018 midterms. I saw that there was still hope for a bright future for America. The Democratic party had started to shift leftwards, albeit at a snail’s pace. After the 2018 midterms I became a man possessed by American politics. As I dove deeper and deeper into American politics, I realized that we don’t know enough about it. This fact is why I think it is key for all of us, no matter our perspectives, to have a conversation with each other and most importantly listen to one another; so, we better understand one another and where we’re coming from.

 

Therefore, I look forward to sharing my perspective with POI and reading others’ with great enthusiasm.

 

 

Max Jablonowski
Max Jablonowski
Conservative Writer at | Website

I am Max Jablonowski, a second year student studying French and Politics at the University of Exeter, and I am about to go on my year abroad to Paris to complete two internships. I was Academic Events Manager of the Politics Society in Exeter and I was privileged enough to organize events such as Question Time, co-host the 2019 General Election Hustings with MWEXE and host the Rt. Hon. James Brokenshire MP, the current Minister of State for Security.

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