Advocacy for single payer healthcare system benefits students

The proposed American Health Care Act is an inadequate solution to the Affordable Care Act.

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Justin Yun, Writer

While heated debates about the Trump administration’s new and controversial healthcare bill take place in the halls of our nation’s capital, some Americans, desperate to pay for their medical bills, have turned to online crowdfunding. At some point or another, every student will have to turn to our nation’s complex health care system and private insurance plans to alleviate a personal medical problem or a family member’s deteriorating health. As students, our generation has the opportunity to institute a single-payer healthcare system in our country.

one step closer to financial ruin

According to a blog entry published by Harvard Medical School, “In a single payer healthcare system, rather than multiple competing health insurance companies, a single public or quasi-public agency takes responsibility for financing healthcare for all residents.” The state, not private insurers, will be responsible for providing healthcare for everyone residing in the United States.

The United States needs a single-payer healthcare system because 47 percent of Americans are one accident away from financial ruin. A CBS article published last year states that most Americans do not have $500 to pay for a disaster such as a car repair or a medical emergency. A recent article published by Buzzfeed retells the story of Americans who turn to online crowdfunding sites in an attempt to pay for their medical bills. For individuals like Kati McFarland, a 26-year-old who suffers from a rare genetic disorder, losing her healthcare could mean her predicament can be a matter of life and death.

This is unacceptable. Healthcare is a human right, and the lives of millions of Americans should not be subservient to the oscillating economic forces of the marketplace. Market-based healthcare systems such as the Affordable Care Act and the proposed American Health Care Act does not work and will never properly work. Under Trump’s new healthcare plan, millions of Americans are at risk of losing their health insurance.

Paying for rent or medical bills

According to the same Harvard blog entry mentioned above, “The United States remains the only developed country without universal healthcare.” When the Trump Administration proposes a healthcare plan that would make healthcare for millions of Americans more inaccessible than the already inadequate Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans will continue to suffer.

Citizens cannot enjoy the “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” ensured by the Declaration of Independence if they have to choose whether or not their next paycheck should pay the bills or pay for their medical prescription. In a State of the Union Address delivered in 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed the Second Bill of Rights — a list of rights which included guaranteeing Americans “the right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.”

Students should care about what kind of health care system becomes instituted in this country since it will probably affect the way members of this generation receive healthcare in the future.

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