Voters need to push Congress toward universal health care

Now’s the time to push hard for universal health care.

Sometimes, what you can accomplish is a matter of what you believe is possible or even worth doing in the first place. We ought to have a better health-care system in the United States, but we don’t because the will to create one has been lacking. That might be changing.

We know America spends a higher percentage of its GDP on health care than other countries with advanced economies, and at the same time the U.S. has worse health outcomes than those other countries.

We stand out among wealthy countries because unlike the others we don’t have universal health care. Our way of doing things leaves millions of people without health care. Democrats tried to address that with the 2010 Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), but it’s hard to make fundamental change with only one party on board.

Republicans spent seven years promising to kill the Act and got very close to doing that.

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But Friday three Republican senators joined Democrats to stop a bill that would have taken health care from millions of Americans.

Everyone wants effective, available and affordable health care, of course. They want it for themselves and for their family. Some Americans, not even the majority of Americans, can’t get themselves to go beyond that narrow view, so we were stuck.

But one poll last month (USA TODAY/Suffolk University) found that 53 percent of Americans say Congress should either leave Obamacare alone or work to fix the things that are wrong with it while leaving its framework alone.

In a Pew Research Center poll, 60 percent of respondents said the federal government is responsible for ensuring that all Americans have health-care coverage.

Despite growing public support for the health-care act, Republicans in Congress had pressed ahead with repeal efforts before, but now the two parties are going to have to talk.


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