As the COVID-19 death count passes 485,000 in the U.S., the medical journal The Lancet says that former President Donald Trump’s “inept and insufficient” response to the pandemic resulted in hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths. The report said that nearly 40% of those deaths were avoidable.
Dr. Mary Bassett, one of the authors of The Lancet report, told Democracy Now that universal health care (single-payer) is needed in the U.S.:
So, we do in fact recommend single-payer health insurance as the best way to assure healthcare coverage is available for all. Of course, Mr. Trump tried to reverse the Affordable Care Act and failed at doing that.
But the Affordable Care Act still left millions of people — 28, 29 million people — without healthcare insurance coverage. And single payer would address that.
Of course, there are interim steps that will be helpful, not only reopening the marketplace as President Biden has done, but trying to encourage the states that declined Medicaid expansion, the principal way in which healthcare coverage was extended under the Affordable Care Act.
The states that declined Medicaid expansion should accept it. It’s of no cost to them, and it would greatly increase both the number of people who are covered and address racial disparities, because it’s mainly Southern states that have declined Medicaid expansion.