Health care is a human right. Arguably no area is more important right now for tens of millions of Americans than implementing health care for all. How we get there is a conversation that we can and should have, but the goal must be health care for all. Not some. Not even most. But all.
COVID-19 has laid bare the inadequacies and brittle nature of our healthcare system. Among those inadequacies are a critical need for health insurance coverage, the lack of rural health resources, and the pitfalls of relying on employment-based coverage. Our government must ensure that Americans have access to care when they need it. And that no one should go bankrupt or go without care because of medical bills.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has shrunk the number of uninsured in our nation by tens of millions, making it possible for more Americans to access health care and lead healthier lives. Kael, CD2’s Democratic candidate, has been on the individual market for the last decade after leaving his job in the State Department. He knows and lives the uncertainties of today’s system firsthand. Rather than dismantle ACA and cancel needed coverage for so many—as Republicans have unwisely pushed for—we need to strengthen the law. The ACA needs to be more accessible to more Americans and we need to take actions to control costs, including continuing coverage for telemedicine and negotiating prescription drug prices. We must continue the ACA improvements towards true mental health parity, ensuring access to support and resources for all Americans. Reworking the ACA so that it works more efficiently and affordably for more people is a top priority. One current bill, H.R. 5010, would focus on state-level initiatives in an effort to reach universal coverage. It is worth more close consideration.
The right to health care also means that each person is entitled to control their own health and body, including having safe access to sexual and reproductive information and services and the autonomy to make decisions that work for them and their families.
There is a price to be paid, and we are collectively paying it, for limiting access to reasonable health care for millions of Americans. This human cost of keeping the status quo is not about money, but rather about the effects on our families and neighbors’ health and livelihoods. We can continue to pay more for less—or we can collectively build a system that is able to handle crises as they arise, that raises the standard of living for all involved, and that declares in word and in practice that we value life and view health care as a human right. The U.S. should be leading in this effort. We should not fall further behind other countries which have long prioritized their people’s health as a shared national policy goal.
Read more about Kael Weston’s issue and policy priorities.