Stop Playing Politics — Provide Americans Universal Health Care

Rally in Support of Affordable Care Act in D.C. photo by Ted Eytan

Although Republicans in Congress push to cut President Biden’s proposed budget significantly, they will not touch the military, but they threatened to cut the health budget. The nation’s health system is too expensive and impacts our federal budget, but it also doesn’t serve the public’s health needs.

The military and Medicare budgets combined evenly account for about 40% of the federal budget. The health budget includes Medicare for all seniors and CHIP and Medicaid programs that pay health care costs for those who meet low-income guidelines.

President Biden, in his State of the Union address, warned Americans that the Republicans were coming for their Medicare. Overnight, Republican Minority Senate Leader Mitch McConnell publicly rejected Sen. Rick Scott’s (R) campaign manifesto to sunset all federal programs, including Medicare. McConnell must have read the recent survey by AP Votecast showing that the only group voting Republican by a majority in November’s national elections were those 65 and older.

Despite the recent Republican retreat from a conversation about cutting Medicare, maintaining Biden’s proposed healthcare budget will neither balance the budget nor fix our healthcare apparatus. Providing everyone with decent, affordable health care will be unattainable unless we adopt Universal Health Care (UHC). The alternative will be to leave almost 30 million Americans uninsured, according to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.

Universal Health Care does not necessarily cover all ailments for all people. But it does mean that all people have access to healthcare when and where needed, without financial hardship. President Lyndon Baines Johnson took the first step toward achieving that goal in 1965 when he persuaded Congress to enact government health insurance for senior citizens. Unfortunately, it took 20 years to accomplish this after President Harry Truman proposed it.

President Barak Obama took the next significant historic step 45 years later when he got Congress to pass the comprehensive healthcare reform law Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010. Up to then, the total number of uninsured averaged 15 percent. Since 2014, when the ACA was amended, 39 states have chosen to expand Medicaid eligibility and…

Nick Licata,