Ed. Note: I’m attending the Take Back America Conference this week — as part of my day job duties — and since I’m blogging the conference there, I thought I’d blog it here too. Since I’ve been blogging about health care lately, I thought I’d cover the health care panel session.
Starting with Monday’s panel, “Health Care For All: The Plan to Get There,” during Take Back America we’re talking about health care. Every day. It’s obvious why. Health care is a concern for every family in America — those with insurance and the 47 million Americans without it.
- It’s a top concern for young voters, who don’t have health insurance and aren’t sure they will be able to afford insurance in the future.
- It’s a concern for working Americans who must give up an ever-growing chunk of their paychecks to gain health insurance through their employers.
- It’ a concern for people with insurance, who face enormous bills for out-of-network medical services.
- It’s a concern for anyone who’s ill and discovers their insurer is more effective at setting up barriers to treatment than helping them get needed care.
- It’s a concern for the insured who are coping with chronic illness — their own or a family member’s — and are hitting the lifetime cost limit on their coverage.
- It’s a concern for anyone who’s had their coverage revoked in the middle of a major illness, by an insurer that rewards employees with bonuses for canceling policies.
- It’s a concern for anyone who decides against DNA testing that might reveal a genetic predisposition to disease (and lead to an early opportunity for early intervention), because the results may cause them to be denied health insurance.
- It’s a concern for every child without health insurance, and every school that spends more time finding medical care for students than educating them.
- It’s a concern for anyone bankrupted by a major illness, who — before the subprime mortgage crisis — accounted for almost half of bankruptcy filings.
Those are the stories behind some of the numbers presented by Prof. Jacob Hacker, author of “Health Care for America,” which has been adopted in one form or another by the remaining Democratic presidential candidates. Prof. Hacker shared that:
- three in ten of the non-elderly are underinsured
- four in ten put off home and car maintenance to pay for needed care
- six in ten postpone needed care due to difficulty paying
- one third dip into savings to pay for needed care
- more than 1 in five made job decisions based on health care
Dr. Maya Rockeymoore addressed healthcare as a civil rights issue, and noted the disparities of the current system, particularly where African Americans are concerned. Even the U.N. has noted and expressed concern about “wide racial disparities” in women’s health care in the U.S. (No surprise, since the U.S. comes in last — beaten out by first-place France — in providing effective and timely health care to citizens.)
Finally, Ezra Klein emphasized the importance of winning elections, and the imperative of winning enough seats in the Senate, if we’re going to achieve health care for all. Ezra also offered what was perhaps the most succinct and memorable advice for progressives moving forward on health care: Make health care for Republicans what they tried to made Iraq for Democrats.
Check out the video of the this panel for more details.