The need for universal health insurance in California


Anyone might think that by acquiring health insurance in California one would no longer have problems accessing a doctor or any medical care or treatment, but the reality is that the system leaves much to be desired, especially in times of pandemic.

Read cases like that of Natalia Molina, professor of American studies and ethnicity at USC, where she exposes everything that she, her family, but mainly her mother has to go through to stay more or less healthy, despite having full MediCal coverage through Kaiser, is unacceptable. Not in the United States and not in California, one of the richest states in the nation.

Molina explains in the article “In the resurgence of ómicron, I am the frustrated translator in my family”, from the LA Times published on January 18, how at such a delicate moment and when her 88-year-old mother presents clinical symptoms of low blood pressure , a severe hacking cough and a heart rate below 50, could not get her seen in the ER.

They were also unable to access any viral medication or antibody treatment or a telemedicine appointment with a doctor for the next three days.

The teacher emphasizes that she had to wait eight hours just to receive a return call from a nurse to find out if her mother could be treated in an emergency room.

I wonder what will happen to people who do not have health insurance or who have the cheapest insurance offered by the state; and if on top of everything, we don’t speak English or we don’t have the ability to handle a cell phone or the computer to simply make an appointment or talk to a nurse.

In the same newspaper, on January 16, the article “The death of a father, the desperation of a son: how covid affected a family” was also published, where a grandmother describes having spoken dozens of times to the insurance before to be able to find a therapist for her daughter and her granddaughters after the loss of the father of the family and one of her children.

Of course, the situation we are experiencing is unprecedented, to the extent that the governor has to ask the California National Guard to help in the centers and hospitals that were collapsing. This situation should be a red light of the importance of having universal insurance for all.

I hear comments from people who oppose universal insurance because, according to them, we live in the United States, a capitalist country, as if that should exempt the government from its responsibilities to its people. Or they say that it is very expensive, who is going to pay for all of them?

The reality is that we are the only developed country without universal health insurance. It cannot be that the richest country in the world has such excuses for not giving protection to its own citizens.

Let us remember that insurance and pharmaceutical corporations are private initiatives and their main objective is to make money, to make a profit. And it’s okay to try to profit from products or services, but not from health. It is even immoral to profit from people’s health. That is why it is imperative that California measure AB-1400, or the Guaranteed Health Care for All Act (CalCare), be passed.

Although it is a long road and with many powerful opponents to the measure, mainly the corporations that profit from the health of Americans.

Something that is important to underline is that Americans being healthy and without worrying about possibly even losing their home due to lack of health insurance, or because they do not have insurance that is comprehensive enough to cover any type of emergency that could arise, we are sure that we would be more productive. But more importantly, if we should learn anything from the pandemic, it is not to profit from people’s health.

We are sure that thousands of people who have now died as a result of covid would be with us if they had had access to health care not only in times of emergency, but also preventively to face any unforeseen event in times of pandemic.

Agustín Durán is editor of the Metro section of La Opinion in Los Angeles

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