Position – Health Care

November 27, 2017


The United States should develop a system of universal access to health care to meet the needs of all of its residents.


Access to health care should be a right, not a privilege.

The current United States health care system is fragmented and expensive and it does not meet the needs of many individuals and communities.

The patchwork of employer-based coverage, individual insurance policies, Medicare and Medicaid has created many powerful vested interests, making adequate care too expensive for millions of people and making reform difficult.

The goal of the Affordable Care Act was to increase health insurance coverage, and it succeeded in covering over 20 million more people. In addition, overall healthcare spending increases since enactment have been below historical trends, and many measures of health care quality have been improving.

Even under the Affordable Care Act, many people do not have access to affordable health care, and the program is in danger of being diminished or dismantled.


For the immediate future, Congress should stabilize the insurance marketplace created under the Affordable Care Act. Congress must act to:

  • Increase the number of insurers offering coverage, especially in areas that are currently underserved;
  • Continue the guaranteed reimbursement to insurers for cost-share reduction subsidies provided to low-income consumers under the Affordable Care Act;
  • Ensure adequate funding for Medicaid; and
  • Reauthorize and fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

For the long term, Congress should enact a publicly-financed national health program that will:

  • Ensure access to medically necessary health services for everybody, including mental health and substance abuse treatment services;
  • Be affordable and prevent financial hardship and bankruptcies caused by medical debt.
  • Improve health outcomes and quality of life;
  • Ensure equitable access to care, without regard to geographic location;
  • Promote a strong public health delivery system; and
  • Provide effective governance and sustainable financing.