Lois Hargrove ‘21 News Reporter
With the 2020 presidential election a week away, the contest and its outcome have been on everyone’s minds. Personally, after watching the presidential and vice-presidential debates, I cannot ignore the pressing issues. While there are many that need to be addressed, one of my foremost concerns is access to healthcare. Public health has always been important, but especially given the current circumstances of the global pandemic, I, and many other Americans, realize how crucial accessible healthcare is to the success and wellbeing of our nation.
In recent years, the presidential administrations have done next to nothing to promote access to healthcare, with the only notable exception being the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare), introduced by the Obama administration in an attempt to ensure access to affordable health insurance for all Americans. While the ACA is not perfect, it is at least something. However, the Trump Administration has been whittling away at its components, in efforts to revoke the ACA, but has yet to offer a clear plan for its replacement. Especially now, with access to affordable health care more important than ever, this trend cannot, and must not continue.
Currently, healthcare in the United States is not viewed as a right, but as a luxury. But individual people are what make up a nation, and their health is foundational to everything else. A functioning and accessible healthcare system is crucial to a successful and well-functioning society. However, this is far from the way in which the U.S. provides access. It seems to me that the only cases in which the government makes healthcare somewhat affordable and truly accessible is for the extremities of age and poverty. While these are definitely important demographics, the same should be said of everyone else, especially for those who fall above the baseline but still struggle financially. Moreover, prices for care are often unknown until after it has been provided, and these prices are often exorbitantly high. In many cases, it appears that profit is valued over the well-being of individuals. This must change. How can the country succeed if it does not prioritize the wellbeing of its citizens?