Saturday, April 3, 2021

In U.S., An Estimated 46 Million Cannot Afford Needed Care

In U.S., An Estimated 46 Million Cannot Afford Needed Care Comment by Don McCanne We are spending almost $4 trillion per year on health care, the highest per capita spending of all nations, and yet, because of our dysfunctional health care financing system, far too many U.S. residents are facing potential financial hardship due to these costs. Although the COVID-19 relief bill will provide partial temporary relief for a portion of those affected, it is quite clear that, with the amount we are already spending, the health care financing system still needs major structural reform if we expect to provide affordable access to health care for everyone. Perhaps the most significant finding in this survey is that the majority now supports government action to make health care more affordable. But only 19% of Republicans favor making Medicare available to everyone, and even less, only 15%, support expanding and strengthening the Affordable Care Act. And yet over 70% of Republicans favor setting caps on out-of-pocket costs for Medicare. So do they want the government involved or don't they? Since they have come up with no reasonable alternative (medical savings accounts won't do it), we should move ahead anyway. U.S.-style private insurance is too expensive and inefficient, and they don't really want that anyway based on their opposition to the Affordable Care Act. Although other models exist, the most affordable, comprehensive and effective model is single payer improved Medicare for All. The Republicans can either join us or watch, but their inaction can no longer be tolerated.

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