Law by Law, Universal Healthcare

Universal healthcare is a moral imperative, and a sound investment in our future. At least 60% of bankruptcies are caused by medical bills, a study finds, and that doesn't address the people who, for reasons of poverty and bad credit, couldn't borrow money to see a doctor. Quite frankly, some of them died. The Affordable Care Act was a step forward, though in practice it falls short of true universality. Still, it covers approximately 25 million people that were not covered before. Someday we will recognize this tremendous accomplishment and erect a statue to president Obama, but in the meantime, I will simply color the federal box blue, indicating real progress. If Trump has his way, all this progress will be erased. 25 million will lose health insurance, and 36,000 Americans will die every year. He's ok with that, but not just Trump. As Congress debates this issue, a few rich, ignorant people have come out in public saying that the sick or injured somehow deserve their fate, hence there is no reason for universal coverage. This assertion is comparable to saying the sky is green. Everyone knows that bad things happen to good people, you've probably seen it in your own family. Hear the wisdom of Jesus, in John chapter 9, NIV.

{1} As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. {2} His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" {3} "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus.

Since the federal government is in retrograde, it is unlikely to cover everybody through a single payer system any time soon, but the states could. Hawaii took a bold step in this direction, requiring employers to provide health coverage to workers, even part-time workers, through the Prepaid Health Care Act. The insured rate rose from 70% to over 90%, peaking at 98%. This is not true universality, since some unemployed and underemployed are left out in the cold, and it places an undue burden on small businesses, but once again, it represents a step forward. Thus Hawaii is shown in blue.

Hawaii is free to experiment, because it is 2,000 miles away from the other states. Nobody is going to step across the state line seeking treatment for a preexisting condition. However, even a contiguous state could cover its residents, e.g. those who have lived in the state for at least 2 years. California, for instance, covers tuition for its students attending state universities, provided they have been resident for at least one year. If residents pay state taxes, and residents are insured, then everybody is in the pool, and it works. Remember, the larger the pool, the more efficient the system - that's basic mathematics. Businesses would flock to that state, knowing their employees are covered. It's a win-win strategy.

Which state will be the first to cover its people through a simple, single payer system? Vermont voted to do just that in 2011, (Green Mountain Care), but canceled the program in 2014. 🙍 As of 2017, California is considering a single payor system; I hope it comes to fruition.


map of states with universal healthcare

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Please send along any corrections or new information. I am not always up to date on all the laws in all 50 states.

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