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America today is in a state of emergency. Immediate action is needed; an action agenda is outlined below.
An unjust healthcare system is killing people as we talk. Over 600,000 people have just been killed, and hundreds of thousands of them (according to the British health journal Lancet) died because they didn't have adequate health insurance. Even in a “good” year with no epidemic, tens of thousands of Americans die because they don’t have health insurance or can’t afford the out-of-pocket costs.
There’s more bad news. The housing crisis is getting worse. Six million renters face eviction and two million homeowners face foreclosure. They could be put out in the street in the midst of an epidemic. Emergency unemployment assistance is ending, aggravating the economic crisis for millions.
It gets even worse. People with Covid-19 will now be charged for their medical treatment. People who might have the disease will put off going to the doctor because of the cost, infecting even more people in the meantime.
There is no time to wait.
WE NEED ACTION NOW
It is morally unacceptable to put off addressing the emergency while so many people are dying. We can’t until the budget process is over. We need to treat an emergency like an emergency.
In fact, it’s very likely that the infrastructure bills will be the last major spending Congress passes for some time. That could be a death sentence for health care reform and the poor, as well as for student debt relief and other important measures.
PROGRESSIVES MUST ACT NOW TO SAVE LIVES!
HERE IS AN ACTION AGENDA:
First, we must keep poor people alive. The following steps need to be done right now.
Emergency health care should be given to all who need it. This should include the immediate reduction or elimination of sky-high deductibles.
The lunatic “open enrollment” system for health insurance and Medicare Drug insurance should be abolished. It’s absolute madness to ban people from buying health insurance for most of the year.
Emergency funds should be provided for any person facing eviction or foreclosure.
The government should take drastic action to force Abbott Labs to increase production of rapid tests.
The health care exchanges must be reopened right away.
We must immediately enact paid sick leave for all workers.
A serious campaign must be developed to provide vaccine aid to the world's poor. The current US commitment is completely inadequate.
In every other modern state health care is a right. It should be a right here.