On Saturday, Feb. 8, local healthcare professionals and advocates will lead a public forum examining America’s broken healthcare system and how it could be fixed. Hosted by three local groups—Health Professionals for Equality and Community Empowerment (HPEACE), North Bay Jobs With Justice, and the Sonoma County Democratic Party—the discussion will take place at Santa Rosa’s Odd Fellows Hall. All are invited to attend.
The Getting to Healthcare for All forum will illuminate the problems with the current piecemeal system and explain healthcare-reform buzzwords we’re hearing from presidential candidates such as “public option,” “Medicare for All,” and “Medicare for All Who Want It.” Presenters will also address how America could pay for universal healthcare—and what it would mean for individuals and families. Through presentations, panel discussion, and an audience Q and A, the forum will examine how universal healthcare is delivered in other countries, honestly explore the pros and cons of the current options in the U.S., and offer a menu of possible action steps.
“As health professionals and community activists in Sonoma County, we believe that bold, meaningful changes are desperately needed,” says Terry Winter, RN, MPH. “America’s healthcare ‘system’ is overpriced, underperforming, and inequitable. Our costs are by far the highest in the world, and we don’t adequately cover everyone.” Indeed, despite the improvements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), millions are still without health insurance and more than a half-million people go bankrupt from medical bills each year—the majority of them people with insurance.
By paying twice as much as the residents of other countries, do Americans get better health outcomes? According to reliable measures of quality from the Healthcare Access and Quality Index, The Commonwealth Fund, and the Kaiser Family Foundation, the answer is a resounding “no.” Despite paying less, 33 countries have higher quality of care while being more efficient, less error-prone, and removing cost as a barrier to care.
“Why are U.S. costs so high and the quality so low?” asks Toni Ramirez, MD. “Because corporations extract billions of dollars a year in profits, redirecting resources to fund administrators rather than care.”
The free event will be ADA accessible and those interested in attending can get more information and tickets on Eventbrite or via this link.