Bipartisan Support for Universal Health Coverage Bolsters Expert Calls for Reform

With Americans worried about staying alive, the last thing on anyone’s mind should be whether or not they can afford to. And yet the pandemic has laid bare the inequities of America’s troubled healthcare system. Though at first blush this seems like an individual issue, it’s actually a matter of national safety.

In a new report, Alison P. Galvani, Burnett and Stender Families Professor of Epidemiology and Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Modeling and Analysis at Yale School of Public Health writes that without comprehensive treatment and testing, pandemic suppression is impossible. 

While this perspective may join a chorus of experts in agreement, this commentary contains an unexpected revelation: across party lines, the majority of American voters believe that the federal government should take responsibility for covering healthcare costs. Nearly 70% of the likely voters polled by Data for Progress, including nearly 50% of Republicans, support “a crisis care plan that ma[kes] the federal government responsible for paying all health care costs for as long as the United States remains under a state of emergency.”

Speaking on the report, Galvani said, “This new polling underscores the public support for government-funded provision of health care during the COVID-19 crisis. The Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Pramila Jayapal would achieve that aim.”

With bipartisan support for a solution, it’s no surprise that Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Pramila Jayapal have introduced legislation to empower Medicare to cover all healthcare costs for the uninsured and all out-of-pocket expenses for those with insurance, including prescription drug costs, until a vaccine for COVID-19 is available. 

What is surprising, in light of this new polling, is the lack of a conservative co-sponsor. 

The full article is available here.

The Justice Collaborative Institute is a coalition of justice reform scholars from across the nation focused on providing an academic perspective to conversations and work surrounding mass incarceration and related issues.

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