From COVID to Monkeypox, Our Health System Failed. We Need Medicare for All.

Similar to COVID, there are racial inequalities in the vaccination and treatment for monkeypox. Recent weeks have seen approximately 25 percent of new monkeypox casesThese have been seen in white patients. Yet more than 33 percent of monkeypox vaccinesas of September 27th, have gone to white patients

Patients of color can be affected in adisproportionate way by logistical and financial barriers to monkeypox treatments. New York City has seen a high number of appointments for monkeypox vaccination and treatment. These appointments were distributed on a first-come first-served basis. In Chelsea, a predominantly white neighborhood, the first vaccines were given on Thursday at noon. Even before vaccines were distributed in Harlem, a neighborhood that is predominantly black), they continued to be administered. 82 percent non-white), appointments appeared to go largely to white residents from outside the communityThis frustrates community members.

These disparities mirror larger trends within society. Across specialties, physicians disproportionately spend their time seeing white patientsDespite patients of colour having higher medical requirements, Patients of color are more likely than others to have their medical needs met because of the legacy of slavery, Indigenous genocide and xenophobic immigration rules. under- or uninsured, and generally have lower incomes. Patients of color are more likely to have difficulty accessing services. transportationTaking, or putting. paid time off workAccess appointments. This is especially important for people with monkeypox who need to be isolated for a long time and can have painful lesions that prevent them from working.

These harms can be fixed by explicitly anti-racist policies. Medicare for All would eliminate financial barriers that prevent access to health care. It would also address the racial inequalities highlighted in the monkeypox pandemic.

Medicare for All would establish a “single-payer” system, in which all U.S. residents would receive health insurance. All U.S. citizens would have access medication, doctor appointments, hospitalizations, and copayments at a low or zero cost. Current legislation could also cover undocumented people. House bill,as to be determined and approved by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Studies show that Medicare for All would save you money 340,000 lives so far during the COVID pandemicYou can help, primarily, by removing financial barriers for care. savingEach year, billions of dollars are saved. It’s a rare “free lunch” in economic policy, because savings under a single-payer system far outstrip the costs of expanding coverage. The U.S. spends nearly a third of all health care dollars on administrationThis is approximately $800 billion per year, most of which comes from overhead and profits of private insurance companies. Medicare’s fee-for-service plan, in contrast, has 2.4 percent overhead.

Medicare for all could address racial disparities regarding monkeypox access. All services would be free of charge, which would disproportionately benefit racial/ethnic minorities. Americans would see their incomes rise because of the fact that premiums and copayments would drop to almost zero. Also, for the majority Americans with employer-sponsored insurance, the potential salary that is currently tied up by insurance subsidies would be released.

These financial boons can be disproportionately benefited by people of color who are more inclined to take advantage of them. delay health care because of cost. It’s notable that in the Veterans Health Administration, a single-payer health care system, many racial disparities in health outcomes are mitigated or absent.

Monkeypox and other diseases that are disproportionately affecting communities of color can have a devastating financial impact on hospitals systems. This is called structural racism. Hospitals serve mainly patients of color in general earn fewer profitsBecause these patients are not disproportionately insured or covered by insurance, public insurance reimburses less than private. This creates a perverse financial system where white lives are valued more than those of people of color.

This has also led to an increase in the number of people who are able to afford it. arms raceHealth care systems invest in lucrative projects to attract private insurance (disproportionately white) patients, driving up costs for all. Clinics that serve people of colour are still underfunded.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Medicare for All would establish a financing system called “global budgeting” that could allocate resources based on need, similar to how we currently finance fire departments. It’s a common-sense approach that aligns dollars with need. The closing of rural and safety net hospitals is a record. would see boosts in revenueSpending that is not necessary or appropriate would be reduced. This would be a boon in clinics that are focused on lower reimbursing area, such as primary care, mental and even infectious disease.

The monkeypox pandemic’s early days were plagued by problems. supply chain and logistical challenges. Vaccines are still in short supply and poorly distributed. Contact tracing testingIt has been challenging. Medicare for All wouldn’t, in and of itself, fix all of these problems, but it would enable a national electronic medical record, mitigating logistical hurdles that result from our byzantine, multi-payer health system.

For example, in 2020, Taiwan’s lauded initial response to COVID would not have been possible without its single-payer systemA national database of health insurance, which simplifies contact tracing.

After COVID-19, there will be many more pandemics. These narrow, disease-specific measures, such the ones passed in 2020 to make COVID hospitalizations non-existent, will expire with time and serve only as band-aids. Other incremental reforms are politically attractive, but mathematically infeasibleThey are not as efficient as single-payer systems in terms of administrative savings.

There is a saying in medicine that the United States does not have a “health care system,” we have a “sick care” system. The United States is unique among wealthy countries for its profit-driven, reactive system, which is not interested in prevention. This is made clearer by the monkeypox epidemic, which also sheds light onto structural racism in our healthcare system. Promoting Medicare for All will help us build a better system that is fundamentally reoriented toward justice and public safety, and prioritizes people over profit. This will also help us take a necessary step to address racial inequities within our society.