No gaps in understanding: Here's your primer on Medigap Coverage

Medigap covers some or all of the out-of-pocket costs associated with Medicare, minimizing the financial risk to seniors.

U.S. Rep. Pramilla Jayapal recently introduced the Medicare for All Act of 2019 in the U.S. House of Representatives. This legislation is sorely needed to correct the inadequacies and failures of our nation’s health care system. Currently, 75,431 of U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond’s constituents are forced to live without health insurance. Those who do have insurance, myself included, contend with high premiums, insurmountable deductibles, ever-present copays, and even denial of service (meaning the insurance company decides you don’t need a procedure or medication, not your doctor). Guaranteeing health care to everyone should be a top priority for the progressive members of Congress in the coming years. Richmond has voiced support for this goal, but he should act on that belief and co-sponsor this legislation.

Other approaches, such as the "public option," where some will have the option of buying government-sponsored insurance, leave major issues unaddressed. In 2013, the Congressional Budget Office found a public option would have “minimal impacts” on the number of uninsured Americans. Instead of bringing needed reforms, all the inefficiency, copays, premiums, deductibles and denial of service of our current system would continue.

The Medicare for All Act of 2019 introduced by Jayapal, however, would provide comprehensive health care coverage to everyone living in the United States, while eliminating the day-to-day costs of copays, deductibles and premiums. Not only are these costs a burden, they have been shown, time and time again, to prevent people from accessing needed care.

State urges thousands of Louisiana Medicaid recipients to update info or risk losing coverage

This may sound like a dream — comprehensive, universal coverage? How we could afford something like this? The reality is we are already paying too much for worse care: the U.S. spends a fifth of our GDP on health care. Multiple studies have now shown that Medicare for All would ultimately save our national trillions of dollars. And on an individual level, Medicare for All would save the average working person thousands of dollars per year. Why, then, has Richmond not yet co-sponsored a bill that saves working families money and guarantees health care security to every single person in America?

Recent polls show that 70 percent of Americans support Medicare for All, including 85 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of Republicans. The budgetary advantages and popular support are clear. Richmond needs to co-sponsor the only legislation that will create a just health care system in our country: the Medicare for All Act of 2019.

Matthew Wilson

dog trainer

New Orleans