Opinion: Medicare For All Saves Lives And $

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(Opinion)—On Aug. 2, the New Haven Board of Alders will hold a vote to adopt a resolution in support of the Medicare for All Act of 2021 (H.R.1976). Both as a citizen and as a candidate for U.S. Congress, I urge the Alders to vote in support.

A system in which the federal government acts as the ‘single payer’ of all medical expenses was broadly popularized by Bernie Sanders in his 2016 and 2020 races for U.S. President.

This most recent version of single payer health insurance legislation, introduced to the U.S. Congress in March by Rep. Pramilla Jayapal (D-WA-7), currently has 117 co-sponsors. That’s more than half of all House Democrats.

New Haven residents who are interested in seeing single payer come to pass should be aware that our Congressperson, Rosa DeLauro, is not one of these co-sponsors.

Although commonly referred to as “Medicare for All,” a better title for H.R.1976 might be ‘Improved Medicare for All,’ since the new system would not have the same coverage limitations or healthcare consumer expenses associated with Medicare as it currently exists.

Instead, ‘Improved’ Medicare for All would provide comprehensive healthcare and medication coverage (including vision, hearing, and dental) free at the point of service: no co-pays and no deductibles, all expenses paid for via tax revenue.

No longer would any of us have to worry about the cost of healthcare, because if you need it, it’s covered. One might presume this type of system to be ‘unaffordable.’

However, the truth is quite the opposite; 20 academic studies and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) all agree that Medicare for All would mean less overall healthcare expense, not more.

Instead of our current health care spending of $3.8 Trillion, our annual expenses would be up to 15 percent lower each year, representing an annual savings of up to $570 Billion.

I encourage readers to research this question further if you are not fully persuaded. Medicare for All will save not only lives, but also money—a claim that cannot be made by any proposed health insurance reform that leaves the profit motive in health insurance, where it does not belong.

So that’s the good news you might not hear as often as you should. We have the opportunity to guarantee comprehensive healthcare for all, and this will dramatically reduce our healthcare spending. Let’s do this.

Please take a moment and urge your alder and your representative in Congress to take this opportunity and support Medicare for All. And if they refuse, consider carefully your vote in November as your opportunity to make a difference regarding one of the most urgent issues we face: The unaffordability of American healthcare.

Paglino is a medical researcher and doctor from Guilford. In 2020, he was the Green Party candidate for the Third District Congressional seat, which is currently occupied by U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro. He plans on running again in 2022 as a Green Party candidate for that same seat in U.S. Congress.

Tags: Medicare for All, Justin Paglino

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