Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. was the worst-performing developed nation regarding health insurance coverage, with 45% underinsured or uninsured despite the Affordable Care Act.
Due to the pandemic, our unemployment rate is now the highest since the Great Depression. And because our private health insurance system is employer-based, the pandemic has caused and will continue to cause even more people to lose health coverage. In turn, the lack of insurance could force people to refrain from seeking treatment, not only for the virus, but for other serious ailments.
Morbidity and mortality will definitely rise. Hospitals already ravaged by lost revenue from elective procedures will be stressed financially even more from any rise in uncompensated care.
At this point, no one yet knows how to cure COVID-19. But Canada and other developed nations do know how to cure the uninsured problem: a single-payer system. Canada has a national health program, with 2018 healthcare per capita costs of $6,448 versus $10,586 in the U.S. And everyone is covered.
Canadian medical quality is just as good as ours. People who need emergency surgery get it ASAP just like here. Elective surgery takes longer, but I waited for three years to get my knee replacements done. If you don’t want to wait, you can choose to pay extra for it.
It would be OK to phase in Medicare for All. Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, wants to start with those ages 60-64.
A long journey starts with a first step; let’s take that step.
Peachtree City, Ga.