According to a Harvard study published by the American Journal of Public Health, 44,789 Americans die each year because they have no health coverage. Each year, if you take two Americans who are physically identical — same height, same age, same race, same weight, even same smoking history — and one has health insurance and the other does not, the one without health insurance is 40% more likely to die. And every one of them could be saved.
That is why I supported the Affordable Care Act. It takes us close to universal healthcare for all Americans. It eliminates the donut hole on prescription drugs for seniors, and covers their routine checkups. “Obamacare” prevents insurance companies from cutting you off when you reach some arbitrary limit on health care costs, and it prevents insurance companies from denying coverage because of a pre-existing condition. The health care reform also allows young men and women to stay on their parents’ insurance policy until they are 26 years old.
But there is more to do. I support a strong public option. We need to increase competition, especially in areas where one or two insurance companies control 80% or more of the health insurance market. In Congress, I introduced the Medicare You Can Buy Into Act, which opens up Medicare to anyone who is willing to pay for it.
We need universal, comprehensive, affordable health care in America. With 122 Americans dying every day because they have no health insurance, it can’t come soon enough.