The recent COVID-19 pandemic proves what presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has been saying for years: We do not have a health care system that provides for all Americans. Many people do not seek care as they lack health insurance and/or a primary care provider. Many people lack access to health care.

The Affordable Care Act was a step in the right direction, similar to then-Gov. Mitt Romney’s successful MassHealth Plan, but it is not affordable for many. There is too much overhead and administrative cost in health care today.

That a bill needs to go before Congress to have free testing for all for the coronavirus is an unnecessary step that delays action. We also lack paid leave for illness, which forces people to go to work to pay their bills. We lack child care resources as well. There should be a plan in place anticipating a pandemic and the response, rather than punting day to day as the government has been doing in response to this crisis.

If anything good comes from this situation, it will be to show where our current system is failing the American people and how other countries have a system in place that can address a pandemic. The benefit from this serious worldwide virus may be the development of a system that will be able to cope, in a proactive and fair way, with the potential for infection that lies in the global interaction that exists today.

Leslie Gatcombe-Hynes

psychiatric nurse practitioner

South Portland

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