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Beyond Obamacare: Stopping Corporations from Making People Sick

Cross-posted from the American Prospect

by Nicholas Freudenberg

The next generation of health reforms should loosen the grip of corporations on the health of Americans, an issue that will resonate with voters angry about special interests in 2016.

Since the sweeping health-care law best known as Obamacare took effect in 2010, Republicans have voted 63 times to repeal or gut it, and Democrats have argued over whether to expand it or scrap it in favor of a public single-payer plan. But not much attention has been given to going beyond the Affordable Care Act to take on the root cause of our nation’s most serious health problems: a corporate system that profits by sickening people.

Yes, the ACA dramatically improved American health-care access—about 20 million Americans have gained insurance coverage, and nearly 71 million now enjoy expanded access to free preventive services through their private plans. But the bitter fact remains: The nation still pays more for health care than any other high-income country, but with worse outcomes. A recent study by the Commonwealth Fund found that the United States ranks last among 11 wealthy nations in indicators of healthy lives and health equality, but first in per capita spending on health care. Ample evidence suggests that reforms that better protect the public against the harmful practices of the drug, food, firearm, and car industries could save millions of lives. Can progressives who want to target corporations’ role in undermining health, democracy, and the environment leverage the 2016 election to spark a new round of health reform?  Read More