The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed deep inequalities in United States healthcare, housing, and income. People of color, women, the disabled, and those in poverty have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. The truth is, these inequalities in healthcare have existed long before COVID-19 arrived. There is a clear gradient in who gets quality healthcare - those who have more money are more likely to have regular checkups, a stress-free hospital visit, and have longer lifespans. Conversely, with medical bills often reaching to the thousands, many low-income families must look for other ways to offset the costs. But with the lack of assets, people are left up to their necks in medical bills. These problems can be attributed to many societal disparities, but we can start now by addressing healthcare. By instilling a single payer healthcare system, the United States can better serve communities that have been long ignored, 

The United States healthcare system has significantly higher costs on healthcare than any other developed nation. Shockingly, the U.S. spends more on healthcare than Japan, Germany, France, China, the UK, Italy, Canada, Brazil, Spain, and Australia combined. Compare this factor to Finland, which pays eight percent of its GDP on healthcare, while the U.S. pays 18 percent. There is no doubt that we have the resources to pay for an improved healthcare system for all, we just have nothing to show for it. Because of private healthcare insurance, receiving healthcare in the U.S. comes with a high price tag. Moreover, the U.S. has been shown to back down to corporations, for instance, the American drug companies have long fought to ensure that Medicare cannot undercut their profits.

Finally, when the U.S. spends so much on healthcare, there are no beneficial outcomes. The money that we sink into the healthcare system ultimately appears as exorbitant, stressful bills to those who cannot keep up with the cost. With the COVID-19 vaccine making its way to people, we have seen how our government failed on swift action in response to the pandemic. Do we want to repeat those same mistakes with the distribution of vaccines? That is why we propose to Governor Newsom to enact single payer healthcare in California now. Doing so would alleviate the costs of healthcare to these communities who are vulnerable, would bring down what the U.S. is paying, and ensure an equitable healthcare system.

Ariticle by Brigitte Orozco, Student at University of California Riverside and Inland Equity Partnership Intern

Source: GENDLER, ROBERT. “An American Physician’s Foray into Scandinavian Healthcare.” Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, vol. 44, no. 3, 2016, pp. 225–227. JSTOR, Accessed 15 Jan. 2021.