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Healthcare is a right

Photo Illustration by Haley Prieto | Staff Illustrator

For several decades, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has worked hard to overhaul our nation’s healthcare system. Recently, Sanders announced his new “Medicare for All” bill which would transition the nation’s private healthcare system to a single-payer system.

Our current system is mostly private, excluding Medicare and Medicaid. This changed when the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare” was signed into law in 2010, significantly altering our private system. This law allowed limited government intervention in a previously private healthcare system, mainly by requiring insurance companies to abide by certain rules in how they sell healthcare.

While Obamacare was a step in the right direction, it is not perfect. Since 2012 Republicans have tried tirelessly to repeal the ACA, but their replacements would still harm millions of vulnerable Americans. While Republicans bring up valid issues with the healthcare law, Obamacare is not imploding.

In fact, the Trump Administration is actively sabotaging Obamacare. It has pulled back enrollment ads and hasn’t required state governments to allocate federal funds to expand Medicare and Medicaid. All in all, our government should not gamble with our lives to score political points.

Contrary to popular belief, in a recent poll, 60 percent of Americans said they believe it is the government’s duty to ensure everyone has access to healthcare. If the majority of Americans support this idea, logically, it should be a law.

Republicans–who currently control the federal government–have made it clear they have little care for the lives of people who simply cannot afford healthcare. The harsh reality is many Americans have to pick between death or crippling debt when they set foot in a hospital.

It is our moral duty to do everything we can to make sure our fellow Americans have access to affordable healthcare. No one should die or go into debt because they acquire an illness or disability at no fault of their own. No one should have to choose between paying their bills or going to see a doctor.

Several nations across the world have instituted single-payer universal healthcare systems. Millions of Americans believe it is our government’s duty to prevent private insurance companies from taking advantage of us; it only makes sense we take the necessary steps to keep up with other nations who offer their citizens healthcare.

Sen. Sanders’ bill most likely will not pass through a Republican Congress, but it is a step in the right direction. If it does not pass or is not signed into law, Republicans and Democrats should work together to fix and expand the Affordable Care Act.

Let us unite as Americans to guarantee insurance for all our country’s citizens. We must work together to fix our current healthcare system and ensure the health of as many people as possible with the resources currently allotted to us. Once that is done, we can begin to talk about transforming our private healthcare system to single payer.


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