The Colorado Foundation for Universal Health Care is pleased to announce its support for the Medicare for All Act of 2017 (S 1804) recently introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The Affordable Care Act improves Coloradan’s access to health insurance. However, it maintains the insurance industry system, which fails to deliver affordable health care for everyone, is incredibly complicated, and is too expensive. Currently, the health care Americans receive is rationed by ability to pay premiums and out-of pocket expenses, where they live, and their age. The proposed Sanders legislation addresses all of these issues and meets the Foundation’s objectives.
According to the Colorado Health Institute’s 2017 Colorado Health Access Survey, 350,000 (or 6.5 percent) of Coloradans currently lack health insurance and 870,000 are underinsured. The proposed legislation will cover everyone in Colorado.
The lack of affordable health insurance hits hard-working Coloradans especially hard. The current health insurance system ties coverage to employment. Yet of those who are employed in Colorado, 9 percent are uninsured according to the Institute’s survey. For those who are uninsured, over one-third cited a family member’s job loss or job change as the reason they lack coverage. Over 78 percent of those uninsured cite cost as the reason for lack of coverage. Under the Sanders plan, health insurance is assured regardless of job status.
The Sanders plan will address the current health care system’s inequalities and inefficiencies. The current health care system also places unreasonable burdens on rural Coloradans. In urban areas, 6 percent of Coloradans are uninsured; and in rural areas the uninsured rate is over 50 percent higher at 9.3 percent.
The Sanders Medicare for All bill eliminates co-pays, deductibles, and coinsurance that currently place an extraordinary burden on even those with health insurance. According to The Colorado Health Institute, in 2017, 14 percent had trouble paying their medical bills. Of those 14 percent, 37.2 percent were unable to pay for necessities like food, heat, or rent. To help cover their expenses, 30.5 percent added hours or took on an additional job. Under the Sanders plan, Coloradans will not longer put off vital cost-saving preventative care due to cost.
Cost and administrative simplicity
While the U.S. Health Care system leads the world in research and technology, compared with other countries it covers fewer people, is more complicated, generates worse outcomes, and is much more expensive. In 2016, per-person health care expenditures were estimated at an average of $9,024 while in Japan the cost was just $ 4,152. At the same time, the U.S. ranks 42nd in the world for life expectancy. The Sanders plan will put needed downward pressure on health care costs by significantly reducing administrative costs, creating a single payer that can effectively bargain for lower drug costs, and by eliminating the middleman (private health insurers). The reduction in health care expenses will lower the cost of doing business in America and improve our nation’s competitiveness.
The Sanders bill ensures that Coloradans are truly free: Free from the effects of debilitating illness or injures that could be treated, free from dead-end jobs that are maintained to enable insurance coverage, and free from the fear of death from treatable disease.
The Colorado Foundation for Universal Health Care welcomes enactment of the Sanders bill. This improved Medicare-for-All plan would allow Coloradans to rejoice now instead of having to wait until they are 65. This simple, less expensive, and more comprehensive plan will provide continuous coverage that is not tied to employment or marriage while improving the competitiveness of American business.