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'If You Like Your Insurance, You Can Keep It'–Until You Can't

Lack of healthcare is a death sentence.

The insurance industry isn't "broken." It's working exactly as it was intended to. (Photo: Joe Newman via Public Citizen/flickr/cc)

In the first 10 Democatic debates, moderators asked candidates 21 questions about how they planned to pay for social programs like Medicare for All.

Yet when it came time to bail out corporations with trillions of dollars as part of coronavirus "relief" bills, suddenly the question of "How will you pay for it?" went up in smoke.

Meanwhile, 47.3 million workers have filed for unemployment, and the claim that "If you like your employer-based plan, you can keep it," has been revealed for the fiction it is. How do those Americans keep their employer-based plan? They can't. They're unemployed.

Millions of Americans now face the loss of their health insurance. That's in addition to the 27 million Americans who were uninsured before this crisis. Coverage is still available through the Affordable Care Act, but insurance companies are exploiting the increased demand, ratcheting up their premiums and deductibles so high that many are stuck with insurance plans they can't afford to use.

You would think that during the worst pandemic in 100 years, as we teeter on the edge of another Great Depression, that politicians would be leaping at the opportunity to stem the tide and stave off further deaths by ensuring we all have healthcare. But no, of course not. Why? Because 99% of them, like our opponents Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.) and Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), are bought off by the health insurance industry. So bought off, in fact, that Kilmer cosponsored a stand-alone bill to bail out the lobbyists who lobby on behalf of his health insurance donors.

Instead, we're faced with mass death.

One in seven Americans said they would not seek health care even with clear Covid-19 symptoms, due to concerns about their ability to pay for it. Among people with an annual household income below $40,000, more than 20% would choose to forgo treatment for financial reasons.

Lack of healthcare is a death sentence.

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Shame on you, Congress: bailing out lobbyists. Bailing out corporations. Bailing out the insurance industry.

And leaving us out to dry.

The insurance industry isn't "broken." It's working exactly as it was intended to: to profit off death by providing the least amount of care possible for the highest profit possible. 

The fix is in, and the American people are paying the price: with their life.

It's time for Medicare for All: a single-payer health care system that guarantees equal coverage to every American—without copays, deductibles, or premiums. 69% of voters now support Medicare for All.

Medicare for All is the moral choice. During a pandemic, "an injury to one is an injury to all," because one sick person can infect countless more.

We need Medicare for All now.

Everybody in, nobody out.

Shahid Buttar

Shahid Buttar is a civil rights lawyer, grassroots community organizer, and democratic socialist  running for U.S. Congress in CA-12 to unseat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2020. Follow him on Twitter: @ShahidForChange

 

Rebecca Parson

Rebecca Parson is a Tacoma Area Disabilities Commissioner, tenants’ rights organizer, and small business owner. She has served as a human rights observer in a paramilitary-threatened indigenous community in Mexico, as an AmeriCorps volunteer, and she worked with the International Association of Genocide Scholars. Parson is the first LGBTQ+ person and the first woman ever to run for Congress in WA-06. 

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