Health and Happiness

 art by rita valente

art by rita valente

Increasingly Americans are viewing universal healthcare as something that they want and, in many cases, need in their life. Market healthcare has not been sufficient in addressing the needs of the many and now polls are finding that 77% of people view Medicare for All as a favorable policy.

This became painfully obvious to me this past year on a personal level when my father was diagnosed with a disease that has prevented him from working. Within a couple months, he went from making a good salary to living on disability struggling to support his family. Fortunately, in California we have Medi-CAL – a public insurance that covers low income and disabled folks. But it has shortcomings, some of which are devastating. For example, after receiving disability, one must wait two years before claiming Medi-CAL. That’s where my father is, paying high priced private insurance coverage, while living off a limited income. He lives in Redlands and while coping with his diagnosis he was forced to downsize to a smaller apartment. He now lives in one infested with cockroaches and one that he still struggles to afford. While it’s zoned for section 8, there is a long waiting list. 

In a situation like this, it’s easy to see that residents’ needs are not being met when they need assistance most. This has to change. I hope to address issues that pertain to disabled and seniors in our town. They are vulnerable and very sensitive to the cost of living in Redlands because of policies issued at the federal and state level. Until we get to a point of viewing Healthcare as a right on the national level, I hope to do everything I can to ease the pain felt by those struggling in Redlands.

What is Medicare for All? 

Medicare for All is a universal health insurance system in which a public agency organizes health financing, but delivery of care remains largely private. Under a universal public healthcare system, all U.S. residents would be covered for all services covered by a medical professional, including: primary care, hospital, preventative, long-term care, mental health, reproductive healthcare, dental, vision, prescription drug and medical supply costs. Patients would regain free choice of doctors and hospital, and doctors would regain autonomy over patient care. 

How will we keep drug prices under control?

When all patients are under one system, the payer wields a lot of clout. The VA gets a 40% discount on drugs because of its buying power. The “monopsony” buying power is the main reason why other countries’ drug prices are lower than ours. This also explains the drug industry’s staunch opposition to universal national health insurance. 

September 6 I will be canvassing with the DSA to get the word out about Medicare for All. If you’re interested in joining me please get in touch and I will give you the details about how you can help support this important initiative! 

Eric Whedbee