"It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver." ― Mahatma Gandhi
The United States should be working toward a goal of access to health care for all of its citizens. Unlike other industrialized countries, access to healthcare in the US is rationed according to a citizens ability to pay. This has led to great disparities in health outcomes between the poorest and the richest in our nation.
As a primary care physician, I have seen first hand the damaging effects that lack of access to care has had on those who cannot pay. In fact 85% of Family Practice physicians are against repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The Texas Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Practice, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Texas Medical Association all are against repeal because of harms to patients and the disruptions in healthcare that would occur.
The GOP Congress has attempted to repeal the ACA four times since the election in 2016, and has now enacted a Tax Bill that repeals the Individual mandate. This will lead to collapse of the law, and loss of coverage for millions of Americans. It is vital that we protect patients as soon as we take back Congress in 2018.
It is imperative that we do the following.
- Work toward Universal Coverage. While there are many options to this including Single Payer and public-private hybrid plans, I have advocated for Single Payer since 2009, and will continue to fight toward this goal. While other systems may sound attractive, Single Payer, such as Medicare for All, is the least expensive, most expansive option, and it removes the profit motive from healthcare.
- Immediately expand Medicaid. We must provide access to healthcare to our most vulnerable citizens. This could be done under existing law.
- Immediately provide a Public Option. We must improve access to all citizens immediately as we reconstruct the entire system.
- Immediately make subsidies more generous so enrollees can more easily afford their plans.
Access to healthcare is a human right. It is our duty to create a system that supports our fellow citizens.