We are in the midst of a global pandemic that continues to needlessly claim thousands of lives every day while our government fails to take bold action. For months, Republican Members of Congress ignored public health experts and refused to provide urgently needed protections and relief for millions of Americans affected by COVID-19. Instead, they worked overtime to confirm a justice who hopes to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and accomplish the GOP’s long held goal of criminalizing abortion.
Our commitment to this work has been clear from the very beginning. Health care is a human right and must be guaranteed to every person in the U.S., regardless of immigration status, disability, gender identity, income, or geographic location. Indivisibles powerfully mobilized to stop GOP attacks on the ACA in 2017, and with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to ravage our most vulnerable communities, we must once again plan to fight for our right to health care—universal, equitable, affordable, and culturally-competent health care.
Specific Health Care Justice Reforms
- Immediate, robust public health investment to contain the COVID-19 virus, including a large expansion of public health insurance coverage, ensuring the most impacted communities are prioritized, and better equipping ourselves to mitigate future outbreaks. In order to protect the health of our nation, we must ensure every person can receive testing, treatment, and a safe vaccine, without fear of cost or discrimination.
- Dramatically expanded health care coverage to ensure everyone in the U.S. who has been left out or priced out of the American healthcare system will be guaranteed affordable, quality health care, regardless of income, immigration status, disability, gender identity, and geographic location.
- Equitable recruiting and cultural training for medical professionals to reverse the centuries of racist, homophobic, and sexist policies that have led to the health disparities and disproportionately high mortality rate in minority communities.
- Using the federal government’s existing authority to stop Big Pharma’s price gouging and to manufacture low-cost generic medications for the public. Big pharma and the private insurance industry have continued to needlessly jack up essential prescription drug prices amidst the pandemic, while tax-payers provided them with vital research from the NIH and other public agencies. This must stop.
- Ending surprise billing and combatting medical debt for people unfairly strapped with thousands of dollars of debt simply for getting sick. With 79 million Americans struggling with medical debt before the COVID-19 Pandemic hit and millions losing their employment, we will most-likely see devastatingly high numbers of medical debt and bankruptcy. We must ban out-of-network surprise billing and provide much-needed financial relief to those struggling with unfair medical debt.
How We Plan to Win Health Care Justice
Using tried and true Indivisible tactics for applying your constituent power. Indivisibles all across the country have demonstrated, using our collective constituent power, that pressuring our elected leaders to act quickly and boldly works. We can and will defeat the disastrous agenda to take away our health care, do the bidding of Big Pharma and private insurance companies, discredit science and public health experts, and allow millions of people of color to disproportionately bear the burden of the pandemic. We will support the work of legislators who advance our progressive goals, and put pressure on legislators who are tempted to pursue watered down solutions. This means that Indivisibles are more important than ever.
Rejecting austerity and fighting for the critical public health investments we need to contain the COVID-19 virus and better equip ourselves for the next outbreak. We must combat the harmful GOP rhetoric that our country can just “open back up” and return to business as usual, without the Federal Government allocating robust resources and implementing bold health care policies needed to overcome this pandemic. Unfortunately, we have already seen the usual suspects claiming these solutions “cost too much.” Let us be clear - not doing enough to contain the pandemic is a debt we cannot afford. We will fight against any effort to enforce austerity or place arbitrary limits on bold, inclusive health care policies. We will demand our elected representatives make health care a human right.
Fighting for big change to achieve health care justice. We know that, just like our democracy, we cannot hope to solve the problems of our for-profit healthcare system by nibbling around the edges and hoping things work out. We need structural changes that take power away from greedy private healthcare entities, like insurers, hospitals, drug manufacturers, and everything in between, and put that power in the hands of people and their communities. We must also be prepared to counter a grassroots conservative backlash with our own grassroots movement to make sure our agenda isn’t blocked or severely weakened. Winning health care justice will require us to be aggressive and progressive in our advocacy. We deserve a better health care system, and together we can make that a reality.