Almost every time I call my Dad, it is to talk about insurance. We spend so much of our free time figuring our insurance plans, finding out what health clinics take our insurance, calculating costs, and of course, planning who will pay for what medical bills.
When we moved to America, we did not foresee that the medical system here would be so complicated, and frankly, broken.
And it’s clearly not a one-off problem, but a widespread one. I cannot count how many conversations I’ve had with people who have struggled to figure out their insurance in between jobs or have been burdened by unthinkable amounts of unexpected medical debt. Debt they will likely be paying off for the rest of their lives. Debt that prevents them from exercising the economic mobility people come to America for in the first place.
We need a simple system. Not a public option or to better the Affordable Care Act. Neither of those would ensure every single person is insured, nor would they end the near-criminal profiting of drug companies off human lives. Medicare for All would.
It would also eliminate the monstrosity of an administrative web that people have to navigate through whenever they seek medical care, lowering costs and creating a centralized, simple system. We must join every other industrialized nation and ensure health care is a human right for every individual in this nation. There is absolutely no excuse not to do so.
People love to complain that Medicare for All would cost too much. They say many people have been insured by the Affordable Care Act. The ACA was a step forward, but it does not cover every American. Also, as someone enrolled in the program, it is not affordable. I pay high rates for insurance each month and still face costly bills when I visit the doctor, deterring me from going in the first place. This toxic cycle should not exist in the 21st century, let alone during a pandemic.
Medicare for All would actually bring down costs for patients. By greatly reducing administrative expenses, Medicare for All would cost less than our current system, saving us billions of dollars a year. The system we are in now is the costly one. The system we are in now is the one we cannot afford to continue on.
If we can find the money to pay for Trump’s golf games, pour into an ultra-bloated military fund and construct a useless border wall that was supposed to be paid for by another country, I’m sure we can afford to pay to ensure health care as a human right.
If the pandemic has taught us nothing else, it should be that we need to reform our health care system and finally pass Medicare for All.
Sana Sethi is a San Jose resident and graduate of California State University Long Beach with a degree in social work and a minor in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. She pours her passion for social justice into political organizing and policy advocacy.