If you’ve never heard of Health Care Justice North Carolina, you’re about to hear a whole lot about it.
I’ve been active in healthcare issues for a little over a decade, one of which is Medicare For All; single-payer national health insurance. As of January 17, I’m the newest member of the Legislative Committee.
It’s the perfect marriage for me. I am a harmed patient with high medical bills, I do national advocacy, and I’ve worked with local, state, and Federal government agencies to affect change.
Health Care Justice NC is the Charlotte, North Carolina branch of Physicians for a National Health Program. PNHP is a non-profit research and education organization of over 21,000 medical professionals and members of the general public who support single-payer national health insurance. If you also support this, please consider signing the Chapter Resolution.
Here is a quick rundown to put single-payer health insurance in perspective:
- Problem: The United States spends twice as much per capita on health care as other industrialized
nations, yet we rank near the bottom in nearly all health indicators. Additionally, each year, one trillion of our healthcare dollars go to administrative costs (31%).
Medicare For All: Having a single payer system– like Medicare– can cut administrative costs in half,
saving $500 billion dollars annually.
- Problem: The United States has the highest prescription prices in the world. Congress prohibits Medicare to negotiate drug prices.
Medicare For All: Negotiating drug and medical device prices can save $150 billion per year.
- Problem: Thirty million Americans have no health insurance. Forty million are underinsured..
Medicare For All: The savings alone are more than enough to cover all Americans’ healthcare with no co-pays or deductibles.
- Problem: Most U.S. household bankruptcies are due to medical bills; most households had insurance.
Medicare For All: Funding for Improved Medicare for All will be less than current healthcare costs for 95% of U.S.households.
Why this is personal: I have several illnesses that require a lifetime of monitoring, tests, and expensive prescriptions. Hospital stay and surgery costs cut into our savings, like many Americans.
I remember one surgery in particular… The hospital was covered by my insurance and my surgeon was covered; my anesthesiologist wasn’t. I got a huge bill that I was expected to pay out of pocket. When I called the insurane company to appeal it, I said, “Was I supposed to bring my own anesthesiologist??”
Another example is a blood test I need to monitor my blood disorder. This test explained why my blood counts were so low and how my doctors can treat my condition. The insurance company called the test “experimental” (it’s not. It’s a standard test that is well known) and refuses to cover it. My primary doctor and hematologist were furious when I brought it to ther attention. They both submitted paperwork explaining why it is medically necessary. I’m still battling the insurance company over this.
My medications are costly. I’ve had to decide between paying mortgage and utility bills or paying for medications. I’ve had to either ration medicine or decide not to fill it out of fear of running out of money.
And remember, I am insured. I fall into the category of underinsured.
There are a lot of people like me who can’t pay medical bills under the current system. Improved Medicare for All warrants a lot more discussion and finding ways to fix a broken system.
This is something I’m passionate about and you’ll be seeing a lot more of me as I lend my voice to affect change.