A coalition of leading healthcare professionals and advocates for universal coverage has begun a coast-to-coast campaign to make National Improved Medicare for All (NIMA) available to every person regardless of age or income.
The group, called HOPE — short for Health Over Profit for Everyone — intends to use tactics ranging from traditional lobbying to civil resistance. Its purpose, says spokesperson Dr. Margaret Flowers, pediatrician and co-director of Popular Resistance, is “to make what has seemed politically impossible become politically inevitable.”
“There is a longstanding void on the part of both major parties on how to fix the healthcare crisis in the United States,” said Lee Stanfield. “Republicans know there is no way to curb the rising cost of health care as long as for-profit insurance is included, so they are using convoluted methods to shift funding in attempts to make their replacement plan seem to the public like it will cost less than the ACA, but in reality it will deepen the crisis.”
The majority of the Democratic Party remains committed to the ACA despite its skyrocketing costs. Recent reports indicate premiums have gone up 25 percent for silver plans, the average deductibles have increased by 20 percent, and over two-thirds of plans now have more restrictive networks (with only 31 percent allowing out-of-network coverage with the penalty of higher cost sharing)[i].
Vanessa Beck, MSW, explains, “The crisis in healthcare is manifested in many ways. The most striking tragedy is deaths from lack of access to healthcare. It is estimated that currently 29,000 people die annually and research shows that this will rise to more than 40,000 annual deaths with the repeal of the ACA[ii]. The only way to end these preventable deaths is for everyone to have comprehensive healthcare access through NIMA.”
“There is a proven solution to the healthcare crisis and it is a simple one: Medicare needs to be expanded to include everyone in the United States, not just the elderly and chronically ill; and it needs to be improved to provide complete coverage (i.e. mental health, vision, dental and long-term care to name a few) without requiring out-of-pocket costs at the time care is given,” emphasized Dr. Robert Zarr. “Rather than spending one-third of health dollars on the administrative costs and bureaucracy of the complex multi-payer, profit-driven insurance system[iii], those funds should go into providing actual healthcare.”
HOPE supports the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, HR 676, introduced by John Conyers (D-MI) and will collaborate with other organizations that have been advocating for National Improved Medicare for All. The difference for HOPE is that it will be singularly focused on the goal of making National Medicare for All the only acceptable solution.
Dr. Carol Paris asserted, “For decades a majority of people in the United States have supported the only real solution to universal access to healthcare, improved and expanded Medicare[iv][v], but it was always seen as politically impossible. The HOPE campaign will change the political culture so that any politician who opposes NIMA will pay a heavy political price. The campaign will make what has seemed politically impossible become politically inevitable.”