we have a dysfunctional healthcare system in which we spend the astronomical and unsustainable sum of nearly $13,000 for every man, woman and child, twice as much as most developed countries and almost 20% of our GDP. Yet, despite that huge expenditure, 85 million Americans are uninsured or underinsured and we have worse health outcomes and lower life expectancy than many other nations. While the insurance companies make huge profits, over 500,000 people declare bankruptcy each year from medically related debt, and over 68,000 die because they can’t afford the care they need. Our complicated and fragmented system is so broken that it cannot even produce the number of doctors, nurses, dentists and mental health personnel that we desperately need.
Today, as we pay by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, the pharmaceutical industry is making record-breaking profits and more than a few executives in drug companies are becoming billionaires. Meanwhile, despite billions in government investment in prescription drug research and development, nearly one out of four Americans are unable to afford the medicine their doctors prescribe and too many seniors are splitting their lifesaving pills in half because they can’t afford them. And because Medicare doesn’t cover dental, hearing and vision, there are millions of seniors who are trying to survive without these basic healthcare needs.