Speak Now: It’s the end of healthcare as we know it

Following the recent nomination and confirmation of Judge Amy Coney to the United States Supreme Court, there has been an outpour of concern, especially with female populations worried about how the recent nomination could affect basic human rights, such as quality and affordable health care. Photo Courtesy of Senate Television via Associated Press.

With the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the United States Supreme Court on Oct. 26, the U.S. is going backwards. The confirmation is a devastating blow to human rights. 

I’m not going to talk about the fact that the New York City Bar Association has reservations about Barrett’s qualifications. I’m not going to talk about the fact that Barrett brings religion where it certainly does not belong. I’m not going to talk about the fact that during her hearing, she refused to answer questions regarding whether or not climate change is real. And I’m certainly not going to mention the fact that Barrett was confirmed a mere eight days before the election despite the fact that over 60 million people have already cast their votes in the presidential election. 

The consequences of her views are concerning and terrifying, don’t get me wrong; I’m just going to focus on the consequences of one particular view. The fact that I’m able to write about just one aspect of one particular view for 750 words should be setting off alarm bells. 

“The consequences of her views are concerning and terrifying”

I am going to talk about the fact that healthcare as we know it may change for the worse. 

On Nov. 10, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as “Obamacare” will go before the Supreme Court. With Barrett’s appointment, the Supreme Court has a 6-3 conservative majority and many are concerned about the future of the ACA. 

The ACA was passed in 2010 and essentially expanded Medicaid eligibility and changed individual insurance markets to better accommodate people with pre-existing conditions as well as different demographic statuses. It is, by no means, universal healthcare, but it is a good step toward ensuring everyone in the U.S. has adequate, accessible healthcare coverage. 

Healthcare is a human right, and the U.S. should be moving closer to establishing a form of universal healthcare. Since the ACA is being considered by the Supreme Cour, with Barrett’s appointment, it is possible that parts of the ACA will be struck down, making it more difficult for certain people to have access to adequate healthcare. People are particularly concerned about how the ruling may affect people with pre-existing conditions

surgeons performing surgery
As enforced in the article by author Anika Veeraraghav, the issue at hand is that healthcare is a human right, by which under no circumstances should an individual be denied. However, with the increasing costs of medicine and doctor visits, many Americans struggle to pay these cost. Photo by Павел Сорокин on Pexels.com

The idea of everyone having access to adequate healthcare should not be so radical. The U.S. likes to pride itself on being a developed nation where people yearn to come to “better their lives.” However, can people really better their lives if they don’t have the means to take care of themselves? 

Foreign nations such as Australia, Iceland, New Zealand, South Korea, Spain, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom, among others, all have universal healthcare. This universal healthcare allows people to have health insurance through a national healthcare system rather than a private insurer. It therefore allows citizens to be able to get proper healthcare without worrying about prohibitive costs. 

In the U.S., many people are unable to get the healthcare they need because they do not have the means to pay for it. Something as necessary as a trip to a doctor’s office, on average without insurance, may cost between $300-$600 depending on the services needed. This does not take into account what happens if abnormal findings are present and additional tests must be ordered, or if additional medications must be prescribed. 

Medications also have prohibitive costs. The cost of insulin for a person with diabetes, annually, is around $6,000. If the trends continue, researchers estimate that by 2024, people may have to pay $12,446 for insulin annually. These unreasonable prices have led to “insulin-rationing” which can be deadly. Insulin is essentially a hormone produced to help regulate the amount of glucose in the body. When the body cannot naturally produce enough insulin, a person must purchase external insulin to regulate levels of glucose in the blood. Without the adequate amount of insulin, the body produces excessive blood acids called “ketones” and a person may develop diabetic ketoacidosis, which can lead to a coma and possibly death.  

When the costs of insulin are this high and people cannot afford the correct amount, this is a very real possibility. 

People should not have to pay this much money in order to simply survive. Universal healthcare coverage could ensure that people have access to the healthcare and medications that they need. Instead, universal healthcare is often dismissed as a “radical idea” that should not be implemented. Is providing the means for everyone to survive really that radical? 

“People should not have to pay this much money in order to simply survive.”

Healthcare should be a human right; however, in the U.S., this is not the case, and it does not seem like it will be the case for a long time. If parts of the ACA or the entirety of the ACA is struck down, more than 20 million Americans could possibly be uninsured. As college students, many of us may be directly affected as well. 

The ACA ensures dependent children can remain on their parents’ health insurance plan until they are 26 years old. If this changes, health insurance companies may be able to remove adult children from parents’ health insurance plans due to their age, regardless of whether or not this child is a student. If the ACA, or this part of it, is declared unconstitutional, many of us at the University of Connecticut may not have health insurance. 

Barrett’s confirmation may have devastating effects on the nation, and healthcare is something that may be drastically affected. The nation should be moving forward toward universal healthcare, not backward. Healthcare is a human right, and this needs to be recognized. Universal healthcare is not a “radical” idea — it is what is right. 

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