Sunday, April 14, 2019

Why Butte County needs Medicare-For-All more than ever – Chico Enterprise-Record

Why Butte County needs Medicare-For-All more than ever – Chico Enterprise-Record: New Medicare-for-All legislation (The Medicare for All Act of 2019, HR 1384) was just introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash) with 103 cosponsors.

Comment by Don McCanne

The Butte County fire in which the beautiful town of Paradise was destroyed was a heart-wrenching experience for my wife and me, especially wistful since we had visited our dear friends there frequently in years past. Our friend and health care reform colleague, Paul O'Rourke-Babb, describes in his article what this meant to so many residents of Butte County. It was a terribly tragic event that only those who were there to experience it can truly comprehend.

So why does this belong in a blog on single payer Medicare for All? Paul tells us. Although they lost their hospitals and clinics, the surrounding communities were there to help. But they were restricted by the deficiencies in our highly dysfunctional health care financing system. Imagine if, instead, everyone was covered by a single payer Medicare for All program. All attention would be directed to providing the care needed, with no concerns about insurance coverage, cost sharing, provider networks, prior authorization requirements, or any of the other cruel, parsimonious features of our current system.

When the fire and forest services were battling the blazes destroying the homes, they did not first check to see if the homes were registered to qualify for fire services nor did they have to obtain prior authorization to extinguish the blazes. We have often said that health care should always be there for you just as the fire department is when you need it. We would have that with a well designed, single payer Medicare for All.

Maybe it would not have made much difference during the urgent moments of the fire, but it can make a very big difference now for those who lost their work and the health insurance that went with it and are now facing medical bills that compound the financial hardships that they are facing. We can do only so much to try to console those facing grief, but at least we can take worries about paying for health out of any future tragedy like this - by enacting and implementing single payer Medicare for All.

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