Health Care for All is medicare for all – Sentinel and Enterprise

We need to change our health care system to Medicare for All. Our current health care system is in crisis, with health care costs rising so rapidly that many people cannot afford it even if they have insurance.

Healthcare is a basic human need. It should be available to everyone. The United States is a wealthy, developed country with a broken health care system; we have the most complex and expensive health care in the world.

Stories abound about how we don’t get the health care we need. My friend Melinda is a single mother making little more than minimum wage. She had health insurance, but every time Melinda took her daughter to the doctor, she had to pay an out-of-pocket cost of $70, which was expensive. Melinda has health problems, but she can't go to the doctor on her own because she can't afford the out-of-pocket costs. The mother of an eight-year-old boy in the Midwest couldn't afford to take him to the dentist. The boy died after an untreated toothache developed into a brain abscess, leading to his death. His mother had health insurance, but it didn't cover dental health. Apparently, insurance companies don’t consider teeth to be part of our bodies. A young Nevada woman was denied treatment for a blood clot in her leg because the hospital said she didn't have insurance, even though she actually had insurance. She is dead.

More than 1,600 insurance companies have increased health care costs due to high administrative fees, reams of paperwork, prior approval of care, expensive advertising, executive multimillion-dollar salaries and hiding in offshore bank accounts in the Cayman Islands billions of dollars in profits.

Corporate greed has no place in healthcare. Despite the Affordable Care Act, health care costs are still out of control as premiums, copays, high deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs continue to increase. Diabetics die because they cannot afford the high cost of insulin, which often approaches $400 a month.

When people can't afford the care they need, they delay care or skip preventive care, needed tests or prescription drugs. They get sicker. Delayed care means no care and many people suffer and even die! I have lost very dear friends because their cancer was caught too late to be treated.

Meanwhile, the healthcare industrial complex continues to make huge profits. Insurance companies are not our doctors, but they often control our health by not paying for necessary care.

When patients must pay for life-saving care out of pocket, it leads to pain, suffering, death, medical debt, and bankruptcy. Insurers also create networks to dictate which hospitals and providers patients can use. A woman in New York City received a heart transplant. While she was recovering, she received a bill for $60,000. Because her surgeon was not in the insurance company's network, they would not pay for the surgery that saved her life.

We need to make profits from health care. Medicare for All is the solution to our health care crisis. Universal health insurance provides health care to everyone. It will create a new publicly funded health care system that will be affordable, meet all our medical needs and cover everyone. No one will be denied medical services or required prescriptions. Universal health insurance would cover all health care needs, including dental, vision and reproductive health. No one dies because they can’t see a dentist to treat a toothache. Improved national health care is efficient, simple, eliminates administrative waste and eliminates corporate greed.

Canada implements universal health insurance. It's affordable and Canadians are healthier and have longer life expectancies than we are. Ask your legislators to vote for Medicare for All and enact it into state law. This is a matter of life and death.

Maria Termini is an artist, activist, and public speaker living in Roslindale, Massachusetts. She has worked with Habitat for Humanity and served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Bolivia. She works with Mass Care and Healthcare Now. You can contact her at and welcomes your comments.

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