Editorial: Take the lead on health care as a right
National Catholic Reporter, April 1, 2017
The survival of the Affordable Care Act means that millions of people who have never had health coverage before can continue to buy plans from HealthCare.gov or find relief from an expanded Medicaid.
So, yes, let’s breathe a short sigh of relief. But then let’s roll up our sleeves and prepare for the next battle in the war that has been declared on the American middle class and people living in poverty.
Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont promises to introduce a bill that would move health care coverage to a single-payer, Medicare-like system. Now is the time for Democrats to come back into the spotlight and use this opportunity to work with Sanders to create a system that works — that works for those who can afford health care insurance and, more vital, for those who cannot.
Other industrialized nations, such as Canada, France and Japan, treat basic health care as a human right for all people. They built their health care systems on that tenet. It’s time for the U.S. to recognize that right in this nation. The right to receive care can no longer be predicated on one’s financial situation. Everyone in this country deserves the same treatment in the emergency rooms, hospitals, and medical and dental offices in all 50 states.
Once we’ve taken our deep breath, that should be the next fight.
By Don McCanne, M.D.
Another welcome editorial making it clear that preventing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act was important but not enough. We must begin treating health care as a human right for all people by moving health care coverage to a single-payer, Medicare-like system.