Healthcare is a fundamental human right. Keeping yourself or your family safe and healthy should not depend on the color of your skin, your gender, your sexual orientation, your job status, where you live or the amount of wealth you have accumulated. In the richest nation in the world, these should not be barriers to accessing high-quality, inclusive healthcare. MNA nurses and healthcare professionals support Medicare-for-All because it will eliminate these artificial obstacles, reduce costs, and save lives. We urge the Democratic Party to include Medicare-for-All as part of its platform at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.
MNA nurses and healthcare professionals see the impact of not having Medicare-for-All at the bedside every day. Patients come into Massachusetts healthcare facilities far more acutely ill than they would have if they had insurance or more comprehensive coverage. High co-pays, deductibles and inadequate prescription coverage can have the same effect as no insurance at all. A diabetic whose health could have been managed through regular doctor’s visits and medication ends up in the emergency department with vision loss or kidney failure. Someone with high blood pressure who cannot afford their medication must undergo dangerous and expensive cardiac surgery. Untreated mental health and substance use disorders land far too many people behind bars rather than under specialized care.
Without Medicare-for-All, all of us are at the mercy of escalating healthcare costs. The budgets of local and state governments are overwhelmed by insurance expenses. Workers face terrible choices. Change your job and lose your health plan. Employers force unilateral cost hikes onto non-union workers. Unionized employees must confront proposed health insurance increases while they try to negotiate safe and fair working conditions. Increasingly, bargaining healthcare costs shifts the focus of MNA nurses and healthcare professionals away from critical issues such as patient safety, a quality work environment or fair wage increases.
Our existing healthcare system leaves tens of millions of Americans behind. It inflicts bankruptcy on vulnerable families and contributes to negative patient outcomes while enriching a select few. We must stop profiting off people’s health and instead ensure every person can afford to seek quality care. Medicare-for-All will reduce administrative and prescription drug costs and mitigate the need for complex interventions for people who will be able to proactively care for themselves and their families. We support Medicare-for-All because it means economic, social, and healthcare justice.