We face an unprecedented public-health and financial disaster. The coronavirus pandemic has already killed almost 200,000 People and contaminated greater than 6 million. Tens of hundreds of thousands of People have filed for unemployment, 12 million are newly uninsured, 40 million face the specter of eviction, and virtually 30 million are scuffling with starvation.
And but—unbelievably—at a time when a lethal virus continues to rage throughout our nation, 1 in 7 People say they might keep away from seeing a health care provider as a result of they’re afraid of outrageous medical payments. In the meantime, from March to August, the richest American billionaires on common gathered almost $5 billion in new wealth on daily basis.
In my opinion, the answer to the outrageous inequality on one hand, and the dire, unmet medical wants on the opposite, is simple: We should tax the billionaire class’ obscene positive factors in wealth throughout this pandemic with a view to present free medical care to all of our individuals all through this nationwide emergency.
That’s the reason I and colleagues launched the Make Billionaires Pay Act in August. Our laws would impose a 60% tax on the obscene wealth positive factors billionaires have made throughout this extraordinary disaster. Between mid-March and early August, 467 billionaires—the highest zero.0001%— elevated their wealth by $731.eight billion. A 60% tax on simply 5 months of wealth positive factors by these billionaires would fund the $400 billion it will take for Medicare to cowl each American’s out-of-pocket well being bills for a complete 12 months.
Below our laws, the federal authorities would pay all prices of remedy for the uninsured, and canopy all out-of-pocket fees—comparable to copayments and deductibles—for individuals who have already got public or non-public medical health insurance. By empowering Medicare to make use of its present cost infrastructure to make healthcare free on the level of service, this may very well be finished shortly, with out saddling states or sufferers with extra paperwork and paperwork.
Our invoice covers prescribed drugs as effectively. This summer time, Gilead Sciences introduced it will be charging hospitals round $three,000 for the coronavirus remedy remdesivir, despite the fact that it prices $10 to provide and was developed with $70 million in taxpayer-funded analysis.
Sufficient is sufficient. It’s time to make coronavirus-related therapies freed from cost for everybody in America.
Below our laws, the federal authorities would pay the identical worth the Veterans Affairs Division fees for prescriptions on behalf of the uninsured. Which means no prices for sufferers, main financial savings for taxpayers, and an finish to pharmaceutical companies ripping off the American individuals in the course of a disaster.
Offering healthcare free of charge to everybody who wants it throughout a public well being emergency will not be a radical thought. If each main nation on the planet can assure healthcare to all, please don’t inform me the U.S. can’t do the identical.
If, within the midst of this unprecedented disaster, Congress is keen to cross a $740 billion army price range that’s bigger than that of the subsequent 11 international locations mixed, we will absolutely afford to spend a fraction of that to take care of our individuals.
We are able to not ignore the deep injustice that we confronted lengthy earlier than this pandemic: We’re the one main nation wherein healthcare is handled as an worker profit, one that may disappear at any time should you lose your job.
Nobody who’s identified with most cancers ought to need to beg for cash from strangers on GoFundMe. Nobody with diabetes ought to die as a result of they can not afford their insulin. Nobody with coronavirus signs ought to be afraid to go to a health care provider due to the price, and danger infecting their household, pals and neighbors.
Allow us to use the immense problem we face as a chance to construct a simply society, the place healthcare is lastly assured to all as a human proper.
The 116th Congress: Policymaking Amid the Pandemic