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For more than 100 years, Americans have searched for a cure for health care inequality. Instead, we’ve been prescribed placebos: watered-down poverty programs and party politics.
Despite attempts to ease the pain with reforms like Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act (ACA), we continue to rely on a market-driven health care system. After stitching together the remnants of various poverty programs we are left with a system so dysfunctional and freakish it would make Dr. Frankenstein recoil.
After signing the Health Reinsurance Act—the result of a contentious battle for a national health program that was ultimately foiled by the American Medical Association—Republican President Dwight Eisenhower handed the pen to Esther Lape, a social scientist and longtime universal health care advocate. Disappointed that the bill fell far short of her expectations, Lape reportedly waved the souvenir in the air and declared, “This represents a puny little bone in the vertebrae of what I had in mind!”
What Lape envisioned would be transformative: quality health care for everyone.
Our health care system is once again at a crossroads.
Here in North Carolina, the General Assembly refused to expand Medicaid under the ACA, denying thousands access to basic care.
Meanwhile, the majority of Americans are increasingly realizing what 100 years of struggle has taught Medicare-for-all supporters already know: any measure other than national health insurance will fail.
Support for single payer is growing. According to the Pew Research Center, 60 percent of Americans believe that the federal government has a responsibility to provide health coverage to everyone.
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