During this week’s session of the Executive Board (EB) of the World Health Organization (WHO), Universal Health Coverage (UHC) has been one of the topics in the spotlight. The original purpose of introducing the concept was to increase access to healthcare and financial protection from health expenditure. However, as Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus presented a thematic report to EB members, it became evident — yet again — that UHC-based policies are failing in achieving these goals. Instead of continuing a consistent upward trend, access to care has stagnated since 2019. Financial protection, on the other hand, has worsened.
Americans spend more on health care than people in any other nation. Yet in any given year, the piecemeal nature of the American medical insurance system causes many preventable deaths and unnecessary costs. Not surprisingly, COVID-19 only exacerbated this already dire public health issue, as evidenced by the U.S.’s elevated mortality, compared with that of other high-income countries. A new study quantifies the severity of the impact of the pandemic on Americans who did not have access to health insurance. According to findings published on Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, from the pandemic’s beginning until mid-March 2022, universal health care could have saved more than 338,000 lives from COVID-19 alone.
Another effort to change the healthcare system in a U.S. state is dead in the water. This time, last week, lawmakers in California declined to vote on a measure whose proponents say would lead to a single-payer system in the state. Monday’s nonvote in California provides yet another instance in which a state cannot move forward with a proposal for single payer. But while supporters may argue that there just needs to be more political will, in reality, it is not impossible to achieve a true single-payer healthcare system on a state level. On a larger scale, the recent results in California show the futility of the current reformist strategy to win universal healthcare in the U.S. State-backed efforts for healthcare reform like those in California — or the push to pass the New York Health Act — have been touted by many on the Left as a path to winning universal healthcare on a national level, but they are actually counterproductive.
I’d like you to imagine for a moment that you are the parent of a child with asthma, living in Ciudad Sandino, just outside the capital of Nicaragua, in a barrio called Nueva Vida, which was recently founded after your family – along with 1,200 other families – was flooded out of your home along the lakeshore in Managua during Hurricane Mitch. The year is 2001, and although your family now has a concrete house and the bus runs regularly down your street in the daytime, nights are filled with rival gangs throwing rocks and bottles, and regular work has been nearly impossible to find. These days, you travel into the market in Managua before dawn to wash potatoes for a vegetable seller; with what you earn, you can usually bring home a little food for your family’s lunch.
Vancouver - Why has Canada been more successful at limiting the spread of COVID-19 than our neighbours in the U.S.? One “critically important” factor is Canada’s universal health care system, B.C. health officials said Thursday. “People don’t have to pay for a test,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said after being asked to weigh Canada’s advantages. “They weren’t worried that if they got sick they would not be able to get care.”
The U.N.’s World Health Organization praised Bolivia’s newly implemented universal health care system, known in the country as the Single Health System (SUS). The WHO pointed out that Bolivia’s leftist government has given generous funding and resources to health, ensuring free treatment for all. Alfonso Tenorio, a representative of the WHO and the Pan American Health Organization, spoke Wednesday in Geneva, in praise of Bolivia’s health system. Tenorio spoke afterwards with state radio company Red Patria Nueva, saying, “Bolivia has become an important model for the world.
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Medical students from across the country gathered in New Orleans, Saturday, walking the streets chanting, advocating for a single-payer system. It's the seventh annual march for the group-- Students for a National Health Program. A sea of white flowed towards City Hall, demanding healthcare for everyone. "We're here under the idea people deserve equal access to healthcare. People are going bankrupt, people are dying because they don't have access to the basic medical care needs they have," said medical student Kale Flory from Missouri. More than 100 medical students from across the country marched in New Orleans, vying for a single payer healthcare system. "It would mean for everybody who lives in the United States, they would have comprehensive healthcare for all of their basic needs," Chicago medical student Cyrus Alavi said.
By Jessica Glenza for The Guardian - The former UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon called on Americans to pass universal health coverage at a speech in New York City on Tuesday, marking a dramatic intervention of world leaders into the US healthcare debate. Ban called on the US to stop “powerful interests” from prioritizing “profit over care” as part of a global delegation pushing the US to adopt a publicly financed health system similar to those in other wealthy countries. The US spends more on healthcare than any nation in the world, yet 28 million Americans still lack care. “In the US, all too often only rich people get access to expensive life-saving treatments,” said Ban. “This is unjust and threatens everybody’s health when working- and middle-class people with communicable diseases cannot afford treatment for their infections.” “Even routine preventive care is often prohibitively expensive,” said Ban. “As America is demonstrating, you simply cannot reach universal health coverage if your health system is dominated by private financing and ultimately functions to prioritize profit over care. Enacting universal health coverage would be a revolution in US healthcare. Currently, the US relies on a complex network of for-profit health insurers, government subsidies and limited public insurance programs to provide healthcare access to Americans.
By Christine Grimaldi for Rewire - When Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) partnered for an overflowing health-care town hall in Michigan over the August recess, they shared more than a stage. The veteran lawmakers are leading the charge in Washington for universal health coverage. More than 1,000 people packed the meeting that turned into a “rallying cry for progressives,” according to a Detroit Free Press report. Progressives recognize that health care is a human right. But do they recognize abortion care as health care, or will they sacrifice it for the sake of the quote-unquote greater good? On Capitol Hill, Democrats have increasingly signaled their support for single-payer proposals in which the federal government covers health-care costs, regardless of income, job status, or health status. The most popular ones propose expanding Medicare, the federal insurance program for people age 65 and older, to all. Conyers introduced his eighth iteration of a Medicare for All bill in the U.S. House of Representatives at the start of the current 115th Congress, and Sanders plans to unveil a U.S. Senate version after lawmakers return to Washington in early September, Rewire reported in July. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) recently sat down with Vox’s Sarah Kliff and Jeff Stein to discuss his forthcoming bill that would allow anyone to buy into Medicaid, the joint state-federal insurance program for people with low incomes, on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges.
By Nicholas Conley for Medium - In the United States, healthcare has been one of the biggest political battles of the decade. As a healthcare worker myself, it’s an issue that strikes close to home. My years of experience caring for people with dementia, traumatic brain injuries, tetraplegia, cancer, and more has given me a firsthand look into what our healthcare system is like at the ground level, and it’s a different world from the vague concepts that politicians volley back and forth at each other. Healthcare shouldn’t be a messy political fight to begin with: it’s an issue of basic human rights. And what all too often gets lost in these scuffles are the people most in need.
Thousands of people on Saturday joined a protest against the privatisation of health services to mark the end of a 300-mile march organised by a group of mothers from County Durham. About 30 people took three weeks to walk from South Tyneside toLondon in the footsteps of the Jarrow Crusade of 1936 which highlighted unemployment and poverty during the Great Depression. Organisers said 5,000 people took part in the last leg from Red Lion Square in Holborn to Trafalgar Square, where they were addressed by shadow health secretary Andy Burnham.
Recently, Dr. Margaret Flowers initiated an online petition declaring herself a consciences objector to the Affordable Care Act and asking others to send a message to President Obama that the ACA is a scam. Dr. Margaret Flowers (MFlowers8) is a pediatrician from Baltimore who is an organizer at PopularResistance.org, co-directs ItsOurEconomy.us and co-hosts Clearing the FOG on We Act Radio. She is adviser to the board of Physicians for a National Health Program and is on the steering committee of the Maryland Health Care is a Human Right campaign.