I believe that the United States is the best nation in the world to live. But in order to continually improve, we must be progressing in all aspects of our policies and programs. One of the most important areas that we as a country need to expand and grow in is affordable and universal healthcare for the citizens of this great nation.
But many people do not want Medicaid expanded, because they see economic freedom and universal healthcare as mutually exclusive. To put it bluntly, that is not true. The United States is currently 12th on the list of countries with the most economic freedom, of the 11 countries ahead of us, 10 have achieved universal healthcare. Instead of being mutually exclusive, economic freedom and universal healthcare go hand-and-hand.
In order to make universal healthcare succeed in North Carolina and the U.S., several things need to start happening:
- An understanding that the ‘free market’ healthcare system hasn’t been beneficial for the U.S. The thought that a ‘free market’ healthcare system will help the consumer and reduces government spending is blatantly incorrect. Under the ‘free-market’ system the U.S. government spends more per-capita on healthcare services than any other country except for Norway and the Netherlands.
- The expansion of the Medicaid system in all states. We have to cover those people who earn too much to be covered by Medicaid, and not enough to receive the subsidies provided by the Affordable Care Act. We need to make sure that EVERYONE has access to affordable healthcare.
- An adjustment for cost of living with the Social Security and Medicare programs that is based on the expenses actually incurred by seniors. Right now, the cost adjustments are based on the whole of society, which doesn’t adequately account for the differing costs of seniors. Making this change would provide better coverage for senior citizens and better utilize Social Security and Medicare funds.
- Help the retirees on fixed incomes who are faced with extremely high health premiums. I am currently seeking to make it possible for people under 65, who have retired early, or who are on a fixed income, to utilize some of their social security funds to offset health insurance premiums without penalty, until they are eligible to enroll in Medicare. This plan would prevent people having to deal with potential catastrophic financial problems as a result of uncovered medical expenses. The plan would also provide each person continued access to preventive medical care to maintain the highest standard of healthy living.
These steps are just a beginning, but they are the right thing to do, both financially and socially.