With the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act now dead on arrival, the debate over how to fix health care in the U.S. is heating up again.
While partisan divides remain high, Dr. Glenn Pearson – former president of Physicians for a National Health Program – says the failure of the American Health Care Act presents a unique opportunity for President Donald Trump to make good on campaign promises for more coverage and better benefits by moving beyond for-profit models.
“America is the only wealthy country in the world that has a free market, for-profit system,” Pearson points out. “It treats health care as a commodity, like buying a TV. In every other country, health care is a human right.”
Pearson notes the Medicare for All Act – introduced by Rep. John Conyers of Michigan – would provide immediate and comprehensive coverage to all Americans by expanding Medicare, the popular single-payer program already in place for people age 65 and older.
Critics maintain the move would be too costly, but independent analysis of similar legislation found that 95 percent of U.S. households would pay less than the current system of insurance premiums, deductibles and co-pays.
Despite Trumpcare failure, support for change still there.
Pearson, while not a fan of the ill-fated Trumpcare proposal, notes the Affordable Care Act still leaves many without coverage and channels billions of taxpayer dollars to private insurance companies.
He says a majority of Americans, including Republicans, support a system where money currently going to administrative overhead and private profits is spent on patient care instead.
“There would be no deductibles, no co-insurance, there would be very small co-pays,” he explains. “And so nobody would ever go bankrupt because they became ill.”
Pearson says even though more people have insurance since the rollout of the ACA, nearly two million Americans go bankrupt each year because of health care expenses.
A National Day of Action calling for universal guaranteed health care is set for April 8, the first day of the congressional recess.