A recent Harris Poll found that only 16 percent of people in the United States believe health insurance corporations put patients before profits and only nine percent believe pharmaceutical corporations do. Hospitals and doctors were not viewed much more favorably at 23 percent and 36 percent, respectively.
Despite the ACA, the cost of health insurance and pharmaceuticals continue to rise, more of the cost is shifted to patients in the forms of co-pays and deductibles and coverage for care is still denied.
As one doctor wrote:
“As a physician and public health policy adviser, I used to believe the insurance industry would become better partners in our health care through the very reasonable guidelines and expectations set by the Affordable Care Act. Over the last several years, I have lost faith and accepted the insurance corporations for what they are: machines of unappeasable greed, accountable only to shareholders, never my patients or other families. In 2018, as millions of Americans borrowed $88 billion to pay for health care, 62 CEOs of health care companies made a combined total of $1.1 billion in compensation. When it comes to our current health care system’s priorities, patients are no match for profits.”
People are aware that in the current system, profits are more important than their lives. In order to restore faith in the system, the bottom line needs to be health. If health care is a human right, as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights championed by Eleanor Roosevelt and signed in 1948, then it cannot also be a commodity. The two are incompatible.
National Improved Medicare for All, a national universal healthcare system that is publicly funded, will be a first step in restoring the trust and health of our people.