Access to health care is especially important during a global pandemic. In the United States, most people need to pay for it.
The United Nations says that everyone has a right to health. The U.S., however, is one of the only advanced countries in the world without universal health care for its people, instead operating mainly on private insurance, which leaves many struggling. Caroline Malone reports from Washington.
Access to health care is especially important during a global pandemic. In the United States, most people need to pay for it and do so through health insurance.
Around 30 million are uninsured, and another 40 million people have health plans but are under-insured, meaning they may have significant out of pocket costs if they get sick.
Health research group The Commonwealth Fund recently ranked the U.S. last out of 11 high-income countries when assessing access to care, administrative efficiency and equity.
LAURIE ZEPHYRIN V.P., Health System Equity, The Commonwealth Fund "I think COVID has really unveiled the significant challenges in our healthcare system. When we look at Black and Latinx belts in the U.S. who've historically had higher uninsured rates, than White adults, for example, we see similar inequities in terms of COVID diagnosis and COVID deaths."
There are groups that help people get health care, such as non-profit "Community of Hope," which is working to end family homelessness and improve health in Washington DC.
It holds events providing communities with essentials and has three healthcare centers in the U.S. capital that accept patients regardless of their ability to pay.
In 2020, Community of Hope provided care for around 12,000 people: an essential service to keep people healthy, so that they can work, have shelter and support their families.
LEAH GARRETT V.P., Development And Communications, Community Of Hope "If people don't have health insurance, their health fails, they lose their jobs, they become homeless. The Community of Hope helps service families and in other ways, their lives are lost at times, and the family suffers, with that kind of a loss."
In Washington, there is DC Health Link which provides insurance options. People can also sign up for national insurance programs Medicare or Medicaid, for people 65 or older or with low-income.
Caroline Malone Washington "La Clinica del Pueblo also provides primary health care in Washington, including mental health and substance use treatment. It caters particularly to Latino immigrants, who would otherwise not get any healthcare, due to administrative barriers."
RODRIGO STEIN Director of Health Equity and Community Partnerships La Clinica del Pueblo "Here at La Clinica we do believe that healthcare is a human right and healthcare should be provided regardless of our ability to pay or the type of job that we have. Unfortunately that is not a reality in this country. So we have numerous barriers to receive healthcare provision."
Even in places like the nation's capital, which has some of the lowest rates of uninsured, there are still people who need help to get affordable health care, and who may suffer greatly without out. Caroline Malone, CGTN, Washington.
See original article here.