Healthcare is a Basic Right by Bernie Sanders

Today, because of the Supreme Court’s decision to protect the modest gains made under the Affordable Care Act, it is a good day for millions of Americans who will be able to keep their access to health care.

It’s also a good day for the small business owners who, before the passage of the Affordable Care Act, couldn’t afford the escalating cost of providing insurance for their employees.

But while I am glad the Supreme Court upheld the law, in my view, the only long-term solution to America’s health care crisis is a Medicare-for-all single-payer system.

I start my approach to health care from two very simple premises:

1. Health care must be recognized as a right, not a privilege — every man, woman and child in our country should be able to access quality care regardless of their income.

2. We must create a national system to provide care for every single American in the most cost-effective way possible.

Tragically, the United States fails in both areas.

The health insurance lobbyists and big pharmaceutical companies make “national health care” sound scary. It’s not.

In fact, a large single-payer system already exists in the United States. It’s called Medicare and the people enrolled give it high marks. More importantly, it has succeeded in providing near-universal coverage to Americans over age 65 in a very cost-effective manner.

It’s time to expand that program to all Americans.

The American people understand that our current health care system is not working.

They understand that the profiteering of the pharmaceutical industry and private insurance companies causes the United States to spend more per capita on health care than any other nation, while our life expectancy, infant mortality and preventable deaths outcomes are worse than most other countries.

We should be spending our money on care and disease prevention, not paper-pushing and debt collection. But the simple truth is that our efforts to eliminate waste and profiteering are endangered by these powerful corporate interests.

A single-payer system will expand employment and lift a major financial weight off of businesses burdened by employee health expenses. And the millions of Americans stuck in jobs they don’t like, they would be free to explore more productive opportunities as they desire.

I attempted to offer a single-payer amendment during the Affordable Care Act debate, but my efforts were blocked.

But our time will come.

I am convinced today more than ever before that universal quality health care as a right will eventually become the law of the land. It is the only way forward.

Bernie Sanders

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Bernie Blog
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