We stand at a critical juncture in the future of our country’s health and well-being. As of this writing, the novel coronavirus has claimed the lives of of nearly 400,000 Americans and infected 22,322,956.
Our expensive, inefficient and profit-driven healthcare system threatens the health and financial security of every American and has left communities across North Carolina defenseless against this and future encroaching epidemics.
Despite some improvements from the Affordable Care Act, an estimated 87 million Americans are either uninsured or underinsured, without access to primary care that could prevent costly and life-threatening diseases or facing prohibitively expensive co-pays, premiums and deductibles that limit access to care.
Now comes word that insurance premiums are likely to rise next year by an astounding 40 percent due to the unexpected cost of treating patients with COVID-19 even as thousands of American workers, recently laid off due to the economic meltdown, suddenly find themselves without insurance coverage.
The time for half-measures is over. Our families, friends and neighbors are dying.
Now is the time for us to redouble our efforts in calling for Improved and Expanded Medicare for All.
Therefore, Health Care for All NC is calling for:
- Free testing and treatment for North Carolinians suffering from COVID-19
- Utilization of the Defense Production Act to increase the supply of life-saving medical equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline healthcare providers and other essential workers
- Immediate passage of the Medicare for All Act (HR 1384) to transition everyone in the country to a universal, single-payer health system within two years
Medicare for All would prevent more than 68,000 unnecessary deaths each year while saving $450 billion annually in billing costs and administrative waste.
The pandemic may just be ramping up in North Carolina, but it has already shifted our attention away from ourselves and towards one another as more and more people come to the realization that collective problems require collective solutions.
Without transformative health care reform like Medicare for All that is based on meeting human needs and not market needs, North Carolinians will continue to die needlessly long after the coronavirus pandemic has ended and the last quarantine is lifted.
As we navigate this pandemic, people will be looking for answers. The good news is that we know what the answer is: Improved and Expanded Medicare for All.
Everybody in, nobody out!