Single Payer Healthcare for Iowa
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Yes, the Affordable Care Act was an important improvement. and step toward universal health care. Because of the ACA, more than 17 million Americans have gained health coverage. Millions of low-income Americans have coverage through expanded eligibility for Medicaid that currently exists in 31 states. Young adults can stay on their parents' health insurance until they're 26. Further, all Americans can benefit from increased protections against lifetime coverage limits and exclusion from coverage because of pre-existing conditions.
Nevertheless, the U.S. is failing its citizens when it comes to healthcare. Even with the ACA, many Americans cannot afford the copayment, deductibles, payroll deductions and denials. Many people skip their prescription medications and avoid going to the doctor because they do not have the money to cover the deductibles. Even further, of the 1.4 million Americans who file for medical bankruptcy each year, 75% have health insurance.
The ACA increased the number of insured Americans. Unfortunately, according to the Congressional Budget Office, by 2023, 31 million people will still lack coverage. But as stated above having insurance does not solve all the problems because having insurance does not guarantee access to need care or protection from financial ruin due to health care costs. These people are considered "underinsured." these individuals cannot afford their deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance and thus do not go to the doctor or seek medical attention until their condition is too severe to ignore.
Personally, just one of my mediations, Procysbi, costs over $72,000 for a 30-day supply. This was a 2,400% increase compared to the original drug (Cystagon) (1). Procysbi, is the primary medication that treats the rare disease I have cystinosis. The medication has the same ingredient as Cystagon (cysteamine bitartrate), which is the immediate-release form. The only difference between Procysib and Cystagon is that Procysbi has an enteric coating over the active ingredient which makes it a delayed release drug. Procysbi was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2013.
Unfortunately, because of the high cost of this medicine (Procysbi), insurance companies fight not to cover the drug, and I am left without the drug sometimes for weeks. A recent survey of 50 insurers and pharmacy benefit managers by J.P. Morgan which found that medicines for the rare disease are increasingly subject to scrutiny and possible restrictions on use, as mine are (2).
The American people need a health care system that works for all. We need a system where all people can get the care they need to maintain and improve their health when they need it regardless of age, color, creed, economic status, ethnic identity, familial status, gender identity/expression, genetic information, marital status, national origin, physical disability, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation.
That system to solve all of these problems is single payer health care and because the federal government seems unable to act, the State of Iowa needs to take a stand and protect their people.
The State of Iowa must create a state administered single-payer health care program. The program must cover the entire continuum of health care, from inpatient to outpatient care; preventive to emergency care; primary care to specialty care, including long-term and palliative care; vision, hearing and oral health care; mental health and substance abuse services; as well as prescription medications, medical equipment, supplies, diagnostics and treatments.
1. Carrol, John. “Raptor’s orphan drug-win at FDA overshadowed by debate over steep price,” fiercebiotech.com, Biotech Industry’s Daily Monitor, 1 May 2013. Web 2 Nov. 2015
2. Pollack, Andrew. “Parental Quest Bears Fruit in a Kidney Disease Treatment,” the New York times (2013): B1 Print.
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