Guy holding Single Payer Now sign

In the USA, hospitals are closings, health care workers are being laid off, substandard working conditions for nurses exist, lack of protective equipment, insurance companies’ massive profits without paying for hospital costs, millions uninsured and unwilling to have COVID-19 tests because of the cost.  All these conditions are a result of hospital and staffing decisions are made on financial basis.  Since elective surgeries were cancelled or postponed, hospitals have lost their primary funding source. 

It is no wonder COVID-19 death rates are increasing, and are out of control.

Here are some numbers and facts:

* Eighty hospitals in the USA have closed this year.

* 80,000 nurses and health care workers were laid off or furloughed. 

* 58,025 of the 138,707 private practice doctor’s offices closed from 3/2020 to 6/2020.

    That is a reduction of almost 42%.                          

Furthermore, staffing schedules, personal protection equipment and unsafe working conditions prevail in the USA. Failures to track COVID-19 data has led to more than 1,700 Healthcare worker deaths, which jeopardizes public health further. With less hospitals and doctors available, less staff, and protection equipment available, we are essentially enabling COVID-19 to spread. 

In a privately managed health care system, priority is placed on financial need more than patient need. National Nurses United declares that “employers have taken advantage of every opportunity presented during the pandemic to maximize profits,” states “Deadly Shame.”

“Immorally, the corporate health system treats nurses and other health care workers as expendable.”

[Sources: xxx doctors offices closed just when they are most needed.

In addition, insurance companies report their best earnings during the COVID-19 epidemic while paying for less service. The New York Times states: “Some of the largest companies, including Anthem, Humana and UnitedHealth Group, are reporting second-quarter earnings that are double what they were a year ago. Although many hospitals have been overwhelmed by the coronavirus outbreaks raging from state to state, insurers have shelled out billions of dollars less in medical claims in the last three months. The companies’ staggering pandemic profits stand in stark contrast to the scores of small medical practices and rural hospitals that are struggling to stay open…”  


An enormous amount of money made available by the Government stays with the wealthy and is not getting to the sick. COVID-19 tests often are costly and is not readily available, especially to 30 million people who remain uninsured.  70 million others have such high deductibles that they avoid going to the doctor to get tested or treated for COVID-19 when sick. 

COVID-19 grows and thrives with the financial barriers to COVID-19 testing and treatment, and uninsured populations. Are there really financial barriers in the USA compared to other countries?  

According to the Commonwealth Fund Data, in eight categories of skipping medical help because of costs, people in the USA as more than twice as likely to skip tests/treatments/ and seeing a doctor when sick compared with even the highest rates of other countries.

Commonwealth Fund, Apr. 7, 2020.

The solution is to immediately implement as an emergency measure:  

1. Free testing and treatment: All testing, treatment and follow-up services must be made easily available to everyone at no cost.  

2. Budget all expenditures based on serving medical needs, not serving insurance or administrative profits. All hospitals, clinics, doctors paid on need assessment and COVID-19 treatment, not on profitability. Fund this from insurance company windfall profits and expanded Medicare.

3. Assure worker protections now. Supply PPE for all staff and nurses; implement safe scheduling of hours and working conditions; boost hiring; provide sick leave for workers, and family leave.

4. Follow the 8 steps of COVID-19 Response as recommended by the Physicians for a National Health Plan.

5. Pass into law Expanded and Improved Medicare for All so COVID-19 can be managed and prevent future flat-footed responses to pandemics