The debate over healthcare is exhausting. Not sure how many plans have been authored by House representatives and senators…safe to say, a bunch. Each has their own unique twist and all are designed to frighten the bejesus out of hardworking middle and lower income earners who depend on the exchanges and the federal Medicaid/Medi-cal program to keep them, and their family, safe and healthy. These “Plans”, many crafted in a matter of days, were done by few participants closeted in isolation, do not represent the people who must use them, have been developed without valued input from community-based physicians who have cared for those served by the Affordable Care Act, nor have they been subjected to open hearings or testimony from those healthcare workers who must implement yet another massive change in our healthcare system.
Last week, the venerable Pew Research Center released a study on Americans’ views of just who should be responsible for healthcare in America. The results might be a tad bit surprising. The majority of Americans, 60% in fact, say the federal government is responsible to make sure all Americans have healthcare coverage. What is even more interesting is most Americans now say healthcare should be provided through a single health insurance system run by the government, rather than a mix of private companies and government programs.
The Pew study found that even among Americans who did not believe that the government should be responsible for healthcare coverage; they had little public appetite for the government withdrawing from existing programs such as Medicare or Medicaid. Only 5% of Americans said the government should not be involved in healthcare, at all. Guess what folks—it seems that the American public really does want its elderly, its sick, its disabled and its children cared for in as humane way as possible.
The Pew Study sends a powerful lesson to our legislators. Work together, craft the fixes needed in Obamacare, stop scaring your constituents to death, incorporate needed mental health and substance abuse treatment and come up with a good, national healthcare program that meets the needs of the people you represent. Our directive should be abundantly clear by now….
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