The Affordable Care Act (ACA), or “Obamacare,” was a good first attempt to provide universal coverage but it fell short of providing care to every American and punished some participants with higher premiums.
What America needs – and what I support — is a single-payer healthcare system through the expansion of Medicaid, financed by taxes, but dispensed through private facilities.
There are some unintended benefits for older Americans that voters should consider that is not often discussed.
The current ACA system is complicated, there are few controls on premium increases, and the program is subject to attack by conservatives as we have seen. Without the participation of younger, healthier Americans, the remaining members will experience higher costs, and ultimately the program is doomed to failure.
Single-payer will provide medical coverage to everyone, spreading out costs through the population, providing all medically-necessary services without financial barriers such as co-pays, deductibles, and convoluted plans. Services will be provided equally regardless of someone’s ability to pay.
Patients would be able to have free choice of a doctor and hospital, and physicians would regain some measure of power over patient care and outcomes will improve. We could focus on preventative care. Providers would be paid a negotiated fee-for-service, and expensive equipment purchases would be decided by planning boards to eliminate redundancy.
The elimination of private health insurers would result in a tremendous savings over administrative costs to deal with the bloated bureaucracy.
But one added benefit is how this would boost the employment opportunities of middle-aged workers. Currently, older Americans – particularly women – face job discrimination after age 50, even though many expect to work well into retirement.
The Employer Shared Responsibility Provision of the ACA requires employers with over 50 employees to offer healthcare coverage. To keep costs down, employers are discouraged from hiring employees in the 50-64 age group, and this is part of the reason why age discrimination is rampant.
A single-payer system would make hiring older workers more attractive and alleviate the pressure to avoid employing the 33% of job seekers ages 55 and older who are long-term unemployed. We can and should do everything possible to help this group earn a decent living.
We simply can’t keep doing this America. We need to join the rest of the civilized world and provide healthcare to every American as a right. My campaign to represent Arizona’s 8th Congressional District in Washington makes a single-payer system my top priority.
My name is Brianna Westbrook, and if elected, I will fight for everyone to have basic healthcare regardless of their ability to pay.