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Dear Democratic Leaders: Please Prioritize Affordable Healthcare

Dear Democratic Leaders,

Let me be the first to wish you congratulations on winning the election. This was a fierce one with much anxiety and conflicts, but you stuck to your principles and claimed victory at the end. Well done! With this new victory comes a great deal of responsibility not just to the community, but to the nation at large.

To put it in plain terms, it’s time for you all to get to work. There is much that needs to be done now that your administration is about to start. Nowhere is such work needed more than in healthcare.

Healthcare has always been a hot topic in the history of our country, from the creation of Medicare to the rigid monopolies of today’s system. Despite our country having great medical care, it has always been difficult for a number of its citizens to receive it. Much of this is due to people not being able to afford it. We are one of the few developed countries that have this issue. A high percentage of those who cannot access healthcare are people with disabilities.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about 26 percent, which is one in four adults in the United States, have a disability. That is about 61 million people, a good chunk of this nation of ours. Imagine you are someone who is living with a physical disability who needs medical care on a regular basis. However, you might not be able to receive such care due to not being able to afford it. This would lead to you not living a healthy life. How can this be allowed in a country that’s supposed to be a beacon of light for the world, one that is supposed to guarantee its citizens the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

Not only are there citizens with physical disabilities having difficulty affording healthcare, but there are those with mental health conditions who can’t afford or access proper healthcare. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 26% of Americans 18 years and older, about one in four adults, have a diagnosable mental health disorder. Another study showed that of those with mental health issues, for those who did not receive treatment, about 38% stated that it was due to them not being able to afford it. Mental health has been stigmatized throughout our history and not having mental health care affordable makes it worse.

For too long, the inability to afford proper healthcare, especially for those with physical and mental disabilities, has greatly affected this country. But here’s the thing, it doesn’t have to be this way. We can change this for the better so that all of our citizens can be healthy.

This is where you come in.

Now you can come into power, you have the ability to make such changes. One way to do this is to listen to those in the field. Listen to the doctors, the nurses, the medical staff, and importantly, the patients. Listen to the struggles patients have when it comes to the cost of healthcare. They are the ones who are forced to pay for it, so it’s best to listen.

Another thing to do is to look at the statistics. Much research has been done over the past years about how the cost of healthcare can be a barrier to those needing it. We have the research, the best thing to do now is use it.

Thirdly, I believe we need to look at other countries and how they handle the cost of healthcare. Most developed countries have systems that help their citizens pay for proper healthcare. Such examples include the National Health Service (NHS) of the United Kingdom and Canada’s healthcare system. I realize this may be considered controversial for a few reasons. One, such systems, like the two examples I stated, are not perfect by any means and have flaws of their own.

Secondly, and this has been noted by many in the opposition in the past, is that some view such healthcare systems as a form of socialism. There are those who argue that this would lead to a socialist state. But the U.K. and Canada aren’t socialist states, and looking at these systems won’t lead us to become socialist — they will help us see what we can do to make healthcare affordable.

As you can see, making healthcare affordable, especially for those with mental and physical disabilities, is a very important issue we must tackle. Now listen, I’m no expert on healthcare. If I was, I would have been crowned Grand Duke of the world by now. However, as a proud and patriotic citizen of the United States of America, I feel that it is a right, not a privilege, for us to receive great healthcare without worrying about its cost. I feel that a country should take care of its citizens.

I hope you take this all into consideration as you transition into your roles. I have full confidence in your ability to make a change towards this. Don’t let us down.

Sincerely,

A Concerned American

Getty image by Andrei Vasilev.