Politics in our country has too often become about division instead of unity. Partisan bickering stops progress, campaigns seek to tear people down instead of lifting people up, and the best ideas are often tossed aside when a few loud voices use money and influence to yell over the voices of the rest of us.
We are all affected by our broken health care system. And despite President Obama’s best efforts to fix it, the Affordable Care Act just didn’t do enough. Premiums continue to go up and are expected to rise again next year because the private health insurance companies want more profits. Too many people are still uninsured and a growing number have insurance they can barely afford to use. The ACA did, however, provide the means for states to go beyond the initial framework to create our own systems. Colorado can be the first to realize the dream of true universal healthcare.
As Coloradans, we can do what Congress can’t — work together for a solution. We can fix it.
Coloradans of all ages and backgrounds feel the strain of our broken system. There are about 700,000 medical bankruptcies in the U.S. each year. Did you know 25% of American seniors are forced to declare bankruptcy due to medical bills? It doesn’t have to be like this, and in many other parts of the world it isn’t. Britain, France, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, and Switzerland all have NO medical bankruptcies because they have systems in place that strive to serve the needs of all — not just a few.
The even crazier part is that when we look at per capita spending on health care, we are paying FAR more to get FAR less. Take Great Britain for example: We spend 250% MORE on health care per capita than Britain does but in a study of health care systems of 11 industrialized countries, the United States was ranked last while Britain was ranked first. It’s time to stop funding corporate profits and start funding health care.
While CEOs like Stephen Hemsley at UnitedHealth make $66 million a year, one in six mothers in the U.S. is uninsured. And 41.5% of those mothers claim it is the high cost of health insurance that prevents them from getting coverage.
The status quo is simply unsustainable, but it doesn’t have to be like this. We can fix it.
Our community is made up of parents faced with impossible choices on how to provide for their family on a tight budget. No family should have to decide between making a mortgage payment or taking their child to a doctor.
Our community is made up of young adults trying to build their lives. Already bogged down with record amounts of student loans and personal debt that previous generations haven’t faced, young people also face outrageously expensive deductibles and premiums barring their way into the middle class. More and more young people, when removed from their parents’ insurance in their 20s, simply cannot afford the options available — options that don’t provide real health care anyway.
Our community is made up of families in the shrinking middle class who too often postpone care and end up in far worse situations because of it. They are overworked, working multiple jobs to make ends meet, and they don’t have room in their family budget for unending, out-of-pocket health care expenses.
Our community is made of up retirees who once again find themselves pinching pennies despite years of hard work and promises that the system would care for them. Their retirement isn’t stretching as far as they had planned and prescription costs are soaring. Too many retirees are forced into expensive supplemental programs when Medicare falls short, or don’t seek the care they need because the expenses are too high.
Working together, our community can fix what’s broken. If we stop looking at each other as the competition and start looking at each other as a community we can stand together to create real change in our state and our country.
Together, we can fix our broken health care system. We CAN fix it.
Authored by Dave Sabados. Dave is an alum of the University of Northern Colorado and the general consultant to ColoradoCareYES. He has worked tirelessly over the last decade to improve the daily lives of Coloradans.