Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has blasted the current American health care system, asserting that every citizen should have access to affordable coverage. Carter has previously predicted that the U.S. will eventually adopt a single-payer system.
On Nov. 8, Time published an editorial by Carter and former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland that criticized the U.S. health care system for not providing universal coverage. Both Brundtland and Carter are members of the Elders, a group founded by the late South African President Nelson Mandela, and are jointly promoting universal health coverage in developing nations.
"Even after the Affordable Care Act slashed the number of uninsured Americans by about 20 million, another 28 million still lack any health insurance coverage," Brundtland and Carter wrote. "Many millions more who do have insurance still face unaffordable co-payments whenever they use health services."
Brundtland and Carter asserted that lacking access to health coverage represented "a violation of basic human rights ... In a country as rich as the United States, blessed with talented medical professionals, world-class hospitals and research institutes, and an almost unparalleled capacity for technological innovation, the lack of universal health coverage should be a national scandal."
The editorial argued that universal coverage was possible in the U.S. but that commercial self-interest was blocking progress.
"The U.S. healthcare industry, pharmaceutical companies and private insurance firms have assiduously lobbied for decades at state and federal levels to protect their business interests," Brundtland and Carter wrote. "Their spokespeople and spin doctors distort arguments, so that concepts that are commonplace in almost every other industrialized country are portrayed as outlandish and dangerous."
Brundtland and Carter criticized the Trump administration for its efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and recommended that states take the lead in instituting universal coverage.
On July 23, Carter stated while teaching his weekly Sunday-school class in Georgia that he believed that Americans would eventually implement universal coverage, according to MarketWatch.
On Sept. 20, a Politico/Morning Consult survey found that 49 percent of registered voters supported a single-payer health care system, while 35 percent were opposed. Furthermore, 44 percent of respondents supported the ACA adding a public option, while 33 percent were against such a move, Politico reports.
Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has proposed legislation that aims to provide universal coverage, titled "Medicare for All."
On Oct. 29, Sanders touted his bill during a speaking engagement at the University of Toronto, VPR reports.
Sanders asserted that his legislation "finally will allow the United States of America to do what every other major country on earth is doing and that is guaranteeing health care to all as a right, not a privilege."
Carter has previously voiced support for Sanders. On Oct. 21, Carter disclosed to The New York Times that he and his wife, Rosalynn Carter, voted for Sanders during the 2016 Democratic primary.