Vote for candidates that clearly support Medicare for All. Let Massachusetts legislators know that you want everyone to have the healthcare they need
My conscience compels me to write this. For many years I have been outraged at our continuing healthcare crisis that causes people to suffer and die. It needs to finally end. I will show you how improved Medicare for All can stop this crisis and give everyone the healthcare they need.
I don’t think anyone can deny that healthcare is a basic human need. Healthcare is not a commodity, rather it is a basic human right. Article 25 of the United Nations Charter on Human Rights states this clearly. But in the United States many are denied this right. Medical care often seems like a privilege for those with a lot of money. We are not the healthiest country in the world. Poor people and those making low wages often can’t get healthcare and are forced to do without it to pay for rent and food.
We have a healthcare crisis because our healthcare is too expensive and complicated causing many people to have untreated conditions and illnesses. Cancers are often detected too late because some patients cannot get early diagnostic procedures. Our healthcare system is built on profit and this is wrong. I hear many stories of how people, even with insurance, can’t afford co-payments for important doctor visits, endure denials of care by their insurance companies, delay or put off preventative care and tests, and cannot afford to buy their prescriptions.
The United States has the most expensive, complicated, and fragmented system of healthcare in the world and sadly, poor outcomes. The Affordable Care Act has actually made healthcare more unaffordable and greatly increased the profits of the insurance companies. Patients face a nightmare of high premiums, co-payments, deductibles and out-of-pocket-costs. Dental care is usually not covered and people neglect their teeth, lose their teeth and suffer infections, because they can’t afford to see a dentist.
The insurance companies and hospitals continue to make enormous profits with an increasingly complex bureaucracy, thousands of billing clerks, mountains of paperwork and millions of dollars in salaries for their executives. Their aim is to avoid paying out on claims which they term a medical loss. Basically they deny care, people get sicker. Human lives have been lost because of the greed of the insurance companies.
Drug companies charge sky high prices. The cost of insulin, vitally necessary for diabetics, has multiplied. Diabetics have died because they have been unable to obtain their insulin or they take a lower dose because of the high cost or insurance complications about what brand of insulin they will or will not pay for. People sometimes cut pills in half to take a lower dose that is less costly.
Our healthcare costs are out of control despite the Affordable Care Act which cannot control high administrative costs and drug prices. Plain and simple, we need more healthcare, not more insurance, bureaucracy, and paperwork. Our current healthcare system cannot realistically provide universal and affordable healthcare coverage. Sadly our healthcare industrial complex puts profits before patients.
We must change this broken system and we can with improved Medicare for All, a single payer system of universal healthcare. Under Medicare for All in Massachusetts all residents would receive all necessary care for prevention and treatment of illness and injury as well as mental health services, nursing home care, rehabilitation, home care, eye care, dental care, medical devices and prescriptions.
Medicare for All is a streamlined health insurance system in which a single public payer organizes and finances healthcare. It will replace our current expensive system, excessively complicated with over 1,500 insurance companies, result in great cost savings and provide access to healthcare for everyone.
Having so many multiple private insurers and publicly funded agencies has resulted in the most complicated, fragmented and unorganized approach to healthcare. The costs are enormous. With private insurance 31% of every healthcare dollar goes to paperwork, CEO salaries in the millions, profits, billing, advertising, prior approval, claims adjusting and more. Compared to this mess, Medicare which covers 55 million residents operates with just 3% overhead. We can fix our broken healthcare system by expanding the existing Medicare program to cover everyone. We can keep things simple by having one single payer system, which would save billions of dollars by greatly reducing paperwork and administrative overhead. We would be able to use the power of bulk purchasing and negotiate for lower drug costs.
We can create Medicare for All by passing a bill that makes it law. In Massachusetts, the Medicare for All Act has been in the State House for many years. This bill would establish a trust fund, the Massachusetts Healthcare Trust, which would provide and pay for healthcare for all residents of Massachusetts, care that would be publicly funded but privately administered. This bill has been very carefully written with many details of exactly how Medicare for All would work.
Medicare for All would have no premiums, deductibles, co-payments and out of pocket expenses. It would be funded by an employer and employee payroll tax. State spending on healthcare would be consolidated into the healthcare trust, along with federal monies. Canada, European nations, and other capitalist countries have single payer healthcare. No one there is denied care because they don’t have insurance. There are no medical bankruptcies. People live longer and have longer life expectancies than those of us in the US.
We urgently need to get the profit-making insurance companies out of the healthcare equation. The insurance companies are the problem, not the solution. I see a clear conflict of interest in having the insurance companies providing healthcare. They are in it for making a profit which they increase by denying care. It’s also time to stop the runaway profits of the big drug companies and learn about offshore bank accounts of many Massachusetts hospitals in the Cayman Islands.
Please take the time to become educated about how Medicare for All can benefit all of us. Read: An Act Establishing Medicare for All in Massachusetts at: masscare.org/legislation. Organize and build grassroots support, talk to your family, friends and neighbors about how Medicare for All can provide quality affordable healthcare to all. Vote for candidates that clearly support Medicare for All. Let your legislators know very clearly that you want everyone to have the healthcare they need and that you want them to pass legislation for improved Medicare for All. In 20 House districts across Massachusetts, vote for Ballot Question #5 (#7 in Hingham).
We all need our health. Do not be complacent because you have a ton of insurance. You can still have unaffordable care with high premiums, copayments and deductibles. Or an astronomical bill because you had an accident and wound up in an out-of-network hospital and your insurance company won’t pay for it. You may have very well subsidized healthcare. But think of your neighbors, of other people. For many working people struggling to make ends meet, getting healthcare is very difficult and often impossible. We are all in this together and can help each other. Let’s work to make sure healthcare becomes a true human right able to be enjoyed by all. We will all feel better.
Maria Termini is a public speaker, artist and author. As an activist for health care as a human right, Maria Termini has focused on outreach and education to faith-based congregations about justice in health care.