The health of our communities is the cornerstone for each of us achieving the American Dream. But for too long, our health has been in the hands of insurance and pharmaceutical companies that profit on our suffering. The result? We will collectively pay $50 trillion dollars for our current healthcare system if we do nothing about it.
Who does this hurt the most? All of us, including those who don't have affordable care.
For example: Small and mid-sized businesses suffer. Companies that pay for their employees' health insurance are seeing radically increased costs each year. Even huge businesses like Amazon and J.P. Morgan are taking steps to end high insurance costs by operating their own health care system.
Also, self-employed entrepreneurs suffer. The cost of independent health care insurance is too expensive for individuals who are risking their financial security following their dream.
And of course, our neighbors with pre-existing conditions suffer. Congressional leaders continue to threaten to take away protections against increasing rates because someone is already diagnosed with a disease.
In Congress, I will push for health care for all - a single-payer system. I am often asked where the money would come from. The price tag on a single payer system comes in at $40 trillion - that would be $10 trillion less expensive than our current system. And we are already paying more than enough money to insurance companies that are enriching themselves and their shareholders at our expense.
What could that $10 trillion do in our economy? We can reinvest in schools, local business development, broadband Internet, roads, hospitals, and regional transportation infrastructure.
Health care for all is not a choice of lesser or greater evils - we don't have to give up schools or job creation or national security to fund it. Instead, it will free up money in our economy - local businesses can afford to hire more staff and pay higher wages, individuals can move between jobs without losing benefits, and entrepreneurs can manage the risks of chasing their dreams.
Who will lose with a health care for all system? Only a few: the rich CEOs and shareholders of insurance and pharmaceutical companies, their lobbying firms in Washington D.C, and those in Congress whose campaigns are lined with the money earned by profiting on our suffering. They will continue to fight against a single payer healthcare coverage because it reduces their power.
It's time to put the people back in power, and to take back control of our own health and economic growth in our communities.
Walker is a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, KY-01, and is also an English professor at Murray State University.