Health Care

 
 
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In California I led the fight for Medicare-for-All, and in Washington I will do the same. Getting it done won’t be easy, but taking on special interests never is.  Today, millions of Americans are vulnerable under the current Republican Administration. Californians need – and deserve – a meaningful discussion about Medicare for All and guaranteeing healthcare access for every American.

When Lyndon B. Johnson made history and signed into law the Social Security Amendments of 1965, which created the Medicare program, he proclaimed, “No longer will older Americans be denied the healing miracle of modern medicine. No longer will illness crush and destroy the savings that they have so carefully put away over a lifetime so that they might enjoy dignity in their later years.”[1] There is no reason we can’t do for the rest of the country what Medicare did for our seniors- modern medicine should be available to everyone, Medicare for All.

 

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The Affordable Care Act

In 2010, we took a step forward with the Affordable Care Act, which expanded Medicaid in 33 states[2] and offered affordable coverage to millions of Americans who wouldn’t have had healthcare otherwise.  Here in California we cut our uninsured rate nearly in half[3], fully expanded Medicaid, and embraced our own ACA exchange.

But Republican efforts to undermine the bill show why the ACA isn’t enough.  Until we have a true Medicare for All system Republicans will do everything they can to

 

Still Work to be Done

Even with all the progress of the ACA, 28.6 million Americans don’t have health insurance and cannot access healthcare.[4] Forty-five percent of uninsured adults said they remained uninsured because the cost of health insurance was too high.[5] Across the U.S, many people aren’t offered coverage through their employer, and in states that did not expand Medicaid, many poor adults are ineligible for financial assistance.[6]

Even those with insurance might not actually have what they need.  A recent study found that 28% of all adults are underinsured.[7]  This means 1 in 4 Americans have health insurance that won’t actually protect them when we need it. 

Despite these massive gaps in coverage the United States spends almost twice as much on health care as other industrialized nations.[8]  We’re paying more and getting less, all while leaving millions of Americans behind.  We need a better system.

 

 
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Medicare for All

That’s why I support Medicare for All - Healthcare is a right for all Americans and if we mean that then we must design a system that actually provides it.  No longer will insurance companies get between patients and their doctors.  No longer will entrepreneurs be stopped from starting a business because they don’t want to risk their family’s healthcare.  Families will no longer have to worry about going bankrupt or losing their home just because a loved one suffers from a serious condition.  There will be no more uninsured or underinsured and we will finally be able to control the costs increases in healthcare.

The evidence is clear that a single payer health care system will decrease costs and offer coverage to all Americans.

 

Why Hasn’t It Happened?

Bernie Sanders just introduced a bill that has more support in the Senate than any prior attempt, 16 senators, including several who have been in tight races.[9]  Only one senator from California, Senator Harris, is on the bill.  If I’m elected I will make it two.  Even then we face a serious fight.

Just like when President Obama was fighting to preserve the Affordable Care Act,[10] health insurers and pharmaceutical companies opposed[11] to a Medicare for All plan are ready to spend millions of dollars on big name lobbyists to convince you and our lawmakers otherwise.  In 2018 alone, the health sector spent over $500 million on lobbying and hired over two thousand lobbyists.[12]

It’s time we listen to the American people and create a Medicare for all plan that will foster a healthier, happier, and safer society where Americans no longer worry about losing their health insurance if they lose their jobs.
— Kevin De Leon