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"Let's Make It Happen!" Declares Jayapal of Medicare for All After Single-Payer in Canada Lauded as Shield Against Pandemic

"It is worth fighting for a system that puts public health ahead of profits: Medicare for All," said a doctor touting Canadian system.

Public health workers, doctors, and nurses protest over lack of sick pay and personal protective equipment outside a hospital in the Bronx on April 17, 2020.

Public health workers, doctors, and nurses protest over lack of sick pay and personal protective equipment outside a hospital in the Bronx on April 17, 2020. (Photo: Giles Clarke/Getty Images)

Rep. Pramila Jayapal on Thursday made a fresh call for the U.S. to implement Medicare for All in response to an op-ed from an American doctor working in Canada who says that country's universal health coverage allowed it to have a better response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In her opinion piece published Wednesday at USA Today, family physician Khati Hendry, who moved to Canada from California and works in British Columbia, wrote that she has "never felt more grateful to work in a universal healthcare system than during the Covid-19 pandemic."

"My heart aches for the millions of Americans who have fallen ill and then have had to worry about how they will pay for tests and treatment, who have gone to work while sick for fear of losing their health coverage or who have lost not only their jobs but their insurance, leaving them at risk for financial ruin," she wrote.

"Many of my American colleagues tell me that they're burned out from administrative demands and anguished from seeing patients not get the care they need because of cost. Now it is worse, as the number of uninsured has soared with the pandemic. My message for them is this: I know we can do better, because I see it every day."
—Khati Hendry, MD
Because they have guaranteed healthcare coverage, wrote Hendry, "Canadians are much less likely to delay testing or treatment for COVID-19, or for the chronic medical conditions that increase the risk of severe illness and death from the virus."

Canada's system is better not only for patients, she said, but also for doctors and other medical professionals who aren't burdened with "the administrative headache of multiple insurance companies."

Hendry added:

Many of my American colleagues tell me that they're burned out from administrative demands and anguished from seeing patients not get the care they need because of cost. Now it is worse, as the number of uninsured has soared with the pandemic. My message for them is this: I know we can do better, because I see it every day. It is worth fighting for a system that puts public health ahead of profits: Medicare for All.

Jayapal is a vocal proponent of Medicare for All and introduced legislation last year to establish a national health insurance program. That bill currently has 118 cosponsors. The Washington Democrat also joined Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in April in introducing the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act to "fully cover the cost of medically necessary healthcare, including prescription drugs" for Americans currently without health insurance for the duration of the pandemic.

"Our broken healthcare system is failing to protect millions of Americans from the coronavirus pandemic," Jayapal said at the time. "Now more than ever, we need to take bold action to prevent more Americans from getting sick or dying."

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