Every time I have to deal with the health care system in this country — whether it's going to the doctor, trying to understand my deductible, or parsing insurance fineprint that (surprise!) tells me my doctor's visit actually *wasn't* covered after all — I am hit with an overwhelming feeling. And that feeling is: We need better, universal health care in this country. We need Medicare for All. And we need it now.
As someone with chronic health issues, I know what it's like to get a medical bill in the mail that I'm not sure I know how to pay off. I know what it's like to have to postpone or even cancel critical doctor's appointments because I have to decide between my health and paying rent next month. And I know what it's like to spend *hours* on the phone with health insurance companies, begging them to explain why they won't cover a basic treatment that seems common-sense.
My story isn't uncommon. It's not even that bad, as far as medical horror stories in the U.S. go. And that's unacceptable. The United States is one of the richest countries in the world, but somehow our politicians can't find the money — or the desire — to provide one of the most basic human needs: health care.
The United States has just dropped in world rankings of life expectancy. This year, the University of Washington announced that we fell from 43rd to 64th place — behind Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Colombia.
Every single large, rich country is able to provide universal healthcare — except us. Even countries like Brunei, Antingua, Slovenia, Botswana, and Thailand are on board. And these comprehensive universal health care systems cost less than what Americans currently pay, while covering more people and delivering better results.
Single-payer healthcare, otherwise known as "Medicare for all," is "a system in which a single public or quasi-public agency organizes health care financing, but the delivery of care remains largely in private hands." It is the only system that guarantees in which all of us, young and old, sick and healthy are covered.
We need universal health care now. We know the Medicare for All system works. It's time for us to speak together, with one voice, loud enough so that politicians can hear us. Let's remind them that they answer to us, not insurance companies.