Impact of Covid-19
Health Equity is defined as everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. When public policies, programs, and systems that support health are equitable, poor health outcomes can be reduced, and health disparities can be prevented. As a society, we all benefits.
Wherever you live in Utah, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of our lives and livelihoods. However, certain groups of our population are disproportionately impacted more than others. This means, that while BIPOC and rural communities do not make up the majority of the population, they make up more of the cases and those most likely to succumb to the virus. These groups includes workers with low incomes, front-line workers, and people living in areas that were struggling financially before the economic downturn created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC), racial and ethnic minority groups are disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
The five key topic areas of social determinants of health listed below contribute to BIPOC communities being disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Discrimination, which includes racism and associated chronic stress, influences each of these key topic areas. These factors may increase risk of COVID-19 exposure, illness, hospitalization, long-term health and social consequences, and death.
- Neighborhood and Physical Environment
- Health and Healthcare
- Occupation and Job Conditions
- Income and Wealth
1UTP Supports Universal Health Care
What is Universal Health Care?
Universal health care is a system that provides quality medical services to all citizens, regardless of their ability to pay. The United States is the only developed country that doesn’t universal health care to its citizens.
Most universal health care is funded by general income taxes or payroll taxes.
Is Universal Health Care currently offered in the United States?
Medicare, Medicaid, and the Department of Veterans Affairs provides universal health care to specific populations in the United States.
Employer-sponsored Health Insurance
A Brief History
Employer-sponsored health insurance is a health policy selected and purchased by an employer and offered to eligible employees and their dependents. These are also called group plans. The employer will typically share the cost of the premium with the employee.
49 percent of the total population or the United States, receive employer-sponsored health insurance [Kaiser 2019]
In 1942, the Stabilization Act was passed to combat inflation. The legislation limited employers’ freedom to raise wages.
This limited employers from competing for labor on the basis of pay. However, they found a way around this. Health benefits is considered part of an employee’s compensation, but not the employee’s income. Workers do not have to pay income tax or payroll taxes on health insurance benefits.
Employers began to offer health benefits as incentives to draw talented employees. That’s how the United States got the employee-sponsored health insurance system vs universal health insurance.
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)
There is a saying, “If you can’t love the one you want, love the one you’re with.” That describes perfectly our relationship with the Affordable Care Act.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010. It is more commonly known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or its nickname, Obamacare. The ACA requires every American to have health insurance and provides assistance to those who cannot afford a plan. As of 2019 the Obamacare Individual mandate – which requires you to have health insurance –no longer applies at the federal level. However, 5 states and the District of Columbia have an individual mandate at the state level.
The law has 3 primary goals:
- Make affordable health insurance available to more people. The law provides consumers with subsidies (“premium tax credits”) that lower costs for households with incomes between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level.
- Expand the Medicaid program to cover all adults with income below 138% of the federal poverty level. (Not all states have expanded their Medicaid programs.)
- Support innovative medical care delivery methods designed to lower the costs of health care generally.
Due to partisan politics, public opinion of the ACA suffered. People benefited from health insurance reform, yet voted in ways that weakened the legislation because they didn’t fully understand the politic behind it. The public was told a lot of misinformation about the legislation.
The legislation was far from perfect, but it was a good start towards better legislation. It was always the intention that the for the ACA to be start 1 towards address the ongoing heath care crisis in America. would be improved upon over the years.
Since FDR’s failure to add universal health insurance as part of the New Deal, Presidents throughout history tried, but failed to address health insurance in the United States.
Despite the politics, the ACA has been a success. Cumulatively, from 2010 to 2017 the ACA reduced health care spending $2.3 trillion. In 2017, health expenditures were $650 billion lower than projected. This kept health care spending under 18 percent of GDP. This is almost equal to the health care spending in 2010 when the ACA was passed.
By The Numbers:
- In 2016, 9 in 10 Americans had health insurance, thanks to the Affordable Care Act—in fact, the numbers reached 91.5% of Americans by 2018.
- 39 million Obamacare and Medicare beneficiaries have access to a series of preventive medical services for free.
- A high percentage of uninsured individuals come from low-income families with at least one member working full time.
- 1 in 5 uninsured adults decided against seeking medical care due to the high costs.
- After the ACA was passed, health care prices rose at the slowest rate in 50 years.
Benefits of Universal Health Care
American workers indicate the importance of health coverage in choosing to stay at their job.
Decoupling health insurance from employment would spur entrepreneurship by freeing millions of people to find better jobs or start new businesses.
Eliminate Medical Bankruptcies
66.5% of the bankruptcies are due to medical bills families are unable to afford or income loss due to illnesses.
With universal health insurance no one goes bankrupt from medical fees.
Universal health care provides all citizens access to medical services. That means all citizens gets the same level of care, which ultimately leads to a healthier workforce and longer life expectancy.
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