5.4 million people lost health insurance coverage in the U.S. during the pandemic between February and May. While a deadly virus spreads across the world, claiming over 138,000 lives and infecting almost 3.5 million people in the U.S. alone, instead of expanding access to healthcare, millions in the U.S. have lost it.
Experts say they expected this to happen. While the virus has taken a toll on people’s health, the response to it has left millions jobless, caused many businesses to collapse, and halted whole sectors of the global economy, bringing the world into the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. In past economic collapses, as with this one, people have lost their health insurance as they lost their jobs, incomes, and support systems. But this time, in the middle of a pandemic, has seen one of the worst collapses of the number of insured – 40 percent more than the last crash in 2008, when 3.9 million adults in the U.S. lost health insurance.
What could more clearly expose the failure of the economic and political system we live under? Stripping people of their homes, livelihoods and now health insurance in the midst of a deadly pandemic is nonsensical and horrifying. We need a society that prioritizes human health over profit, we need it yesterday, and it’s up to us to build a movement to get it.