OP-ED

It's time for healthcare for all

Posted

Is healthcare a fundamental human right, or a privilege for those who can afford it?

That's the core question underlying our country's healthcare debate. And it's the reason why each year since being elected I have worked with doctors, nurses, community advocates and colleagues to introduce legislation to create a Medicare-for-all, universal healthcare system in Rhode Island.

Every Rhode Islander should be able to access the care they need, regardless of their income. No family should have to put off critical medical care because of huge deductibles; no one should experience financial disaster because they get a serious illness.

Of course, our country and state have made incredibly important progress under the Affordable Care Act, and we should feel indebted to the activists and everyday citizens - along with our Democratic elected officials - whose impassioned organizing and advocacy have saved us from the chaos of Obamacare repeal.

But though we averted disaster, our healthcare system is still broken. We spend more on healthcare than any other country, yet we rank 28th for life expectancy. Premiums are going up and up while insurance companies like Blue Cross & Blue Shield posts millions in profits. Working people can't afford these premium hikes, skyrocketing deductibles, and hundred-dollar co-pays. We can do better.

We need a healthcare system that prioritizes people over CEOs and that puts the health of our families over corporate profits, here in Rhode Island and across our country. That is why I am so excited that this week Medicare-for-all legislation has been introduced in the United States Senate, and so proud that Senator Sheldon Whitehouse signed onto the bill as a cosponsor, and that Congressman David Cicilline signed onto similar legislation in the House.

This will not be an easy fight. There are lots of powerful interests with legions of lobbyists and big campaign checks working to maintain the status quo. But we should not let that stop us. It is time for us to think big, to be bold, and to make a real push - here in Rhode Island and in Washington, D.C. - to join the rest of the developed world in recognizing the dignity of every person by guaranteeing access to healthcare as a basic human right.

Aaron Regunberg is a Democratic state representative for House District 4 in Providence.

Comments

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davebarry109

Healthcare is not a right. Healthcare for all is a nice thing but who will pay for it? We are 20 trillion in debt now. The Sanders 'medicare for all' plan will cost trillions more. In countries that have universal healthcare, they pay about half of their salaries to taxes. Mr. Regunberg, find a way to pay for it before you preach about it.

Wednesday, September 20
VoWarwick2017

Another TAKER trying to manipulate folks with "emotion" in order to steal from the MAKERS.

If healthcare for all is all that important then how about we start slashing other programs to afford it? How about restricting EBT benefits? How about reducing public money for housing? How about reducing public money for after-school and pre-school programs? The workers, the makers of this country do not have an unlimited supply of money to be stolen and pretty soon they will just stop making, then what are you going to take?

Thursday, September 21
Justanidiot

halth care is not a right. nor iz skuling. I say we close down all the publick skuls and save the taxpayers millions. you has kids, youse pay to edumacate them. I never tooks to book learning anyways and it nevers stopped me. plus if you kept out the dang furiners, things wood be so much better. the irish and the eyetalians can just stay in their own popish countries and keep their riff and raff there.

Thursday, September 21
HerbTokerman

The only way out of the healthcare situation is to make it illegal to have for-profit healthcare and health insurance like most other civilized countries do.

Hospitals will charge your insurance $100 for ibuprofen that costs $5 at a store.

$200 for a bag of salt water that costs $1 to manufacture.

Yet if you don't have insurance they will charge you 1/8 of what they will bill insurance companies.

You're pretty much better off not having insurance and paying out of pocket between the sky high premiums and high deductables. It would be cheaper to just pay the bill if you get sick.

Thursday, September 21
yuyukachoo

Anyone who says that healthcare is not a right has never had to watch someone that they love decide to die rather than pursue further care. I understand that might not be something that people have experience with considering the enormous steps the ACA has taken to prevent people from having to go through that degree of heartache but it used to be a real possibility for people, especially those that didn't want to risk leaving their family behind with an enormous amount of debt. Anyone against universal health care should consider themselves extremely lucky to not have received an education in what healthcare used to be before the ACA passed.

Monday, September 25