Ady Barkan is a powerful voice for Medicare for All, even as his own voice has fallen to the ALS he was diagnosed with a year ago. He testified Tuesday before the House Rules committee about Medicare for All, and why he believes it’s so critical it be passed by Congress.
“Some people argue that although Medicare for All is a great idea, we need to move slowly to get there,” he said, using computer to read his statement aloud. “But I needed Medicare for All yesterday. Millions of people need it today. The time to pass this law is now.”
“The ugly truth is this: Health care is not treated as a human right in the United States of America. This fact is outrageous. And it is far past time that we change it,” he continued.
You know, I was healthy a year ago,” Barkan told the committee. “I was running on the beach. I’m 33. I have an 18-month-old son. And out of nowhere, I was diagnosed with ALS, which, you know, has a life expectancy of three to four years. No treatment, no cure.”
He went on to explain that while he has good health insurance by today’s standards, he still has to pay $9,000 out of pocket to cover the costs of home care, prescriptions and other expenses. Money raised via GoFundMe helps to offset those expenses.
“Like so many others, Rachael and I have had to fight with our insurer, which has issued outrageous denials instead of covering the benefits we’ve paid for,” he continued. “We have so little time left together, and yet our system forces us to waste it dealing with bills and bureaucracy. That is why I am here today, urging you to build a more rational, fair, efficient and effective system.”
I’m not sure how anyone can hear Barkan’s testimony and not come away with the conviction that we can and must do better, but in case you haven’t heard enough, here is an ER doctor testifying about how stupid insurers are with regard to approval of prescription drugs.