Barbara Bush, the daughter of former President George W. Bush, said something in an interview on Fox News last weekend that I thought was worth repeating:
“Why do, basically, people with money have good health care and why do people who live on lower salaries not have good health care?“
There is no doubt that our current health care system is indeed set up the way Barbara Bush describes it. For the most part, the higher-paying your job is, the more likely it is to include good health insurance benefits, while people who work in low-paying jobs are less likely to have health insurance. People who can least afford to pay large sums of money out of pocket for health care are the ones most likely to have to do so. Medicaid is there for the lowest income earners, but some states are very restrictive in terms of income levels required to qualify for Medicaid. Colorado has started to expand access to Medicaid and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) but this is not the case in all states. And people on the lower end of the income spectrum are far more likely to be uninsured than those on the higher end. Without adequate health insurance, access to quality health care is limited at best.
Barbara Bush is the president of the Global Health Corps, an organization that is working to promote global health equity. From my own time spent in the Peace Corps in East Africa, I am well aware that there are huge areas of improvement needed in health care access and delivery around the world. But we also have a long way to go right here at home.