Mira Bohannan Kumar
Over the summer, it was revealed that one third of Go Fund Me pages are for paying medical bills. Stories like these have been reported as heartwarming examples of human kindness with large amounts of money being given to those in need. However, they are also indicative of a broken system.
In 2017, the World Health Organization said, “The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.”
America fails in assuring this right for the 27 million people still left without healthcare in America, even after the passage of the Affordable Care Act. The only way to help these people and guarantee the rights of everyone in America is to ensure Medicare for All in this country. Systems similar to Medicare for All have already been implemented in countries like Canada, and a system like it, the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, was first proposed in 2003, to no avail.
Whenever democrats, such as Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggests Medicare for All, it is common for them to be labeled as “socialist” or “communist” depending on how far the conservative pundit wants to go. In reality, supporting Medicare for All isn’t a radical position, in fact it’s one thing that is overwhelmingly popular among everyone, except those that determine the laws. A Kaiser Health poll showed that 59 percent of Americans support Medicare for All, despite that there has been no movement by Washington to move towards anything even slightly resembling the will of the people.
This very well may be changing soon. On June 26, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won the Democratic Party primary to run in the fourteenth district of New York. She beat the long time established candidate, Joe Crowley, by proposing vast populist reform, which included Medicare for All. This is just one example of what’s happened in multiple districts around the country. The Democratic Party is shifting farther to the left and is now more widely endorsing popular reforms that have resonated with voters enough for some of them to move into the general elections. The midterm results will show whether or not the country now believes that Medicare for All can truly happen, or if it’s still believed to be in the category of theoretically great, but unable to be actualized.
Medicare for All would stop things like medical bankruptcy, and forcing people to choose between treatment and the economic security of their loved ones. With Medicare for All, countless lives would be saved and America would finally ensure the right to health for the people. The most prevalent response to this is that even if it was a good idea, the costs would be so high that it would be impossible to pay for. However, a study funded by the right-wing Koch brothers accidentally proved the exact opposite. The study showed that Medicare for All would cost 32.6 trillion dollars over the next ten years. This was meant to be a large number that would scare people from wanting to pursue Medicare for All but simply stating that it cost 32.6 trillion dollars over the next ten years leaves out that that would actually be two trillion dollars less than the current system. It isn’t that “we can’t afford Medicare for All” it’s that we can’t afford not to have Medicare for All.
Advocating for Medicare for All doesn’t make you an authoritarian monster that wants the government to take control of everyone’s life, it simply means you want America to keep up with the rest of the world in providing people their right to health, save lives, and save the already indebted country two trillion dollars in the process. But the only way to create that change is to vote, and to show the will of the people in the voting booth. Otherwise Washington will continue to drags its feet, and the cycle of debt and death will continue as usual.