America has to resolve whether or not we wish to handle the virus or enable the virus to handle us. To handle the virus, we want a dramatic funding to increase our public well being capability at each degree and lay the inspiration for a extra resilient healthcare infrastructure going ahead.
That’s the reason Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and I’ve proposed making a nationwide Well being Power, a daring initiative modeled after Nice Despair-era applications just like the Civilian Conservation Corps that would offer tons of of hundreds of jobs to help state and native public well being efforts nationwide. Well being Power members would work in communities nationwide underneath the supervision of native well being officers to assist with very important duties similar to contact tracing, group outreach, meal supply for seniors and different immunocompromised folks caught at dwelling, and, hopefully quickly, vaccine administration.
The Well being Power will not be solely a proposal to maintain Individuals secure. It’s also about placing us ready to reopen our small companies and colleges and permit them to remain open. As any instructor or store proprietor will let you know, the worst factor we are able to do is fall right into a vicious cycle of opening and shutting. That has already occurred this fall at many colleges and universities. To cease that cycle, we want a sturdy funding in well being infrastructure in order that communities nationwide can react swiftly and successfully when new circumstances come up.
The Well being Power is only one of many steps we must always take to construct a extra resilient healthcare infrastructure for the 21st century. For instance, we must always lastly be a part of different developed nations by attaining common healthcare by an inexpensive public possibility. We must always unshackle Medicare to barter for decrease drug costs and share these price financial savings with the American folks. We must always improve transparency and embrace value-based care throughout the healthcare system, whereas persevering with to extend funding in breakthrough analysis and applied sciences. Lastly, we must always confront the pernicious and long-standing inequities all through healthcare which have allowed the virus to prey disproportionately on America’s immigrants and communities of shade.
To make certain, all of this may require important and sustained funding. But when we now have discovered something over the previous few months, it’s that the price of underinvesting in America’s healthcare system is much higher.