I wrote and sent this to Bernie Sanders through the Contacts page on his official website. I encourage everyone who cares about Universal Healthcare for all to write to Bernie Sanders. Since Trumpcare failed and not likely to be resurrected any time soon. Now is an opening for Congress to draft the real alternative to Obamacare.
The link to his Contacts page is here: https://www.sanders.senate.gov/contact
Dear Senator Sanders:
Now that Trumpcare has failed spectacularly with no hope of it ever resurrecting itself, I implore you to introduce legislation which provides Medicare for all. The time is now. The time has come. There will be no time other than now where this legislation is the most necessary, most imperative when compared with other legislations. None.
Access to good healthcare is a universal human right. It should be freely given on demand, no questions asked. Lifesaving medications should be dispensed on demand, not after checking with the insurance company and collecting a copayment.
Families are choosing whether to put food on the table or visit the doctor or to fill that prescription, this is unacceptable. Senior citizens are choosing whether to eat or pay for their medication, this is disservice to them. Healthcare and pharmaceuticals for profit is an abomination. For publicly traded corporations to profit from the illnesses of their customers is an abomination. To put a price on a person’s health and deciding whether that person deserves to live or die based on how much money they have or don’t have is an abomination. People filing bankruptcies because they’ve had an unfortunate medical emergency and are uninsured and do not qualify for state Medicaid is an abomination. Young people crowdfunding on social media to pay for their medical costs should cause an outrage of biblical proportions.
Access to quality healthcare is an inalienable human right. It is a feminist issue, it is a child advocacy issue, it is a family advocacy issue, it is a senior citizen issue, it is a civil rights issue and it is a LGBTQ issue (this group receives some of the shoddiest medical care when they do get access to healthcare). It is lifesaving for the most vulnerable and marginalized people. Access to healthcare and medicines on demand is a non-negotiable inalienable human right. What use is all of our amazing medical innovations and advancements if the people that need it the most can’t get access to it. What good are medical breakthroughs if only the richest 5% can enjoy it?
The Affordable Care Act was supposed to be a step towards the direction of getting everyone covered under one form of insurance or other. If your employer doesn’t provide health benefits and you are too poor to purchase health insurance on exchange, you can get covered by Medicaid expansion (if your state agrees to sign on). While the intent may be there, the implementation has been a disaster. The minute that insurance companies see that they are not profitable being in the market exchange, they start charging higher premiums, increasing deductibles and reducing benefits. Some companies have withdrawn from the exchange all together which then reduces the pool of competition so that the remaining insurers can charge whatever they want, which renders the idea that of competition will drive prices down to be moot. What’s worse is doctors started cherry picking which insurance they would accept and which they wouldn’t and many doctors in my home state of California has refused to accept private insurance regardless if it was purchased on or off exchange, they only want the big group plans sponsored by employers as those almost always guarantee coverage and payment. So we are back to a two-tiered health coverage again: those with good coverage and those with poor coverage.
What we need and what we needed all along is a Single-Payer system, Universal Healthcare, or Medicare for all. And we shouldn’t have to wait until we are the age of 65 with one foot in the grave to get it. This means-testing method has failed on almost all social welfare programs. Those who are vulnerable but not quite poor enough fall through the cracks – and this group is only increasing every year.
To those who say ‘how will we pay for it?’ or ‘we can’t afford it?’ or the better question ‘who will pay for it?’ I would point to a small island nation 90 miles south of Florida, a country that has been under economic embargo for decades; Cuba has managed to train an abundance of good doctors to where they go to other developing and third world countries to train other doctors. Cuba provides universal healthcare for all, and this is supposedly a bankrupt country that is barely hanging on and is about to collapse every other month. There are many problems in Cuba but not having access to a doctor and medical services when you need it isn’t one of them. They have also made huge innovations and progress in cancer treatment and managing chronic illnesses.
Our medical cost for services and medicines are through the roof. They are at inflated prices, put there for profit, they are not the real prices. An Epi-pen doesn’t cost $600, it doesn’t even cost $100 to make. A packet of lifesaving 10 dose Tamiflu doesn’t cost $145, it should be free. A bag of antibiotic IV doesn’t cost hundreds of dollars, it costs tens of dollars at most. When hospitalized, a single tablet of Motrin or Tylenol doesn’t cost $15, a whole bottle doesn’t cost $15 at the local drug store. A routine stay at the hospital shouldn’t cost tens of thousands of dollars. A ride in the ER van shouldn’t cost hundreds of dollars out of pocket. These are routine drugs and services which have been in use for decades. Profit in medicine and healthcare services needs to be abolished, just like we don’t expect the local fire department to make a profit when they are putting out fires and pulling people from burning buildings. It is immoral and unethical to make a profit off of someone’s illness.
I am fully aware the bill may not pass and it may not even make it out of committee and for sure the senior leadership in both parties won’t be behind you advocating for this bill and for sure Trump will veto it. But it’s worth a try to get some senators behind you, and it is worth convincing them that if they lose their reelection over their support of this bill, it would have been for a good cause – advocating on behalf of the people.
You ran for president on this platform and this resonated with your supporters, because it is the necessary and humane thing to do. For all the millions of people who voted for you in the primaries, myself being one of them, please draft the Single-Payer legislation for them.