Newsy Nugget episode #


Does the pandemic reveal cracks in the American healthcare system?

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00:00 / 03:28

The COVID-19 pandemic is a stress on global healthcare systems. Dr. Gary Puckrein of the National Minority Quality Forum remarks on the cracks in the American healthcare system that have appeared under this stress. He reminds us about the Constitution as the social contract that all Americans have entered into, and the role of healthcare in guaranteeing life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

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Gary Puckrein, MD, PhD

Executive Director of the National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF), in Washington, D.C.


You’re listening to a newsy nugget brought to you by Diverse  Health Hub, a health equity education and awareness channel. I’m  Christian Strohm, and thanks for tuning in! We had the opportunity to  speak with Dr. Gary Puckrein, president and CEO of the National Minority  Quality Forum. Dr. Puckrein remarks on the American social contract,  and what this means for access to basic healthcare.

Dr. Puckrein,  I’d like to ask you from a policy perspective, do you see benefits to  expanded coverage in reducing healthcare inequities?

[Dr. Puckrein]
Well  certainly, ACA (Affordable Care Act) has expanded the number and  diversity of the population with health insurance in this country. One  of the – one of the key things to bear in mind. And this is where  politics and healthcare come together, when you go back to the founding  fathers and you look at the system that they designed, what they said  was the reason that we’re all coming together in this social contract is  life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Life meant preservation of  life, that one of the reasons why we agree to come together is to  conserve life and denying someone in the 21st century healthcare is in  fact, breaking that social contract. We didn’t enter this to say that  some people should have healthcare, and some people should not. That  wasn’t the deal. The deal was we’re all coming together, in the body  politics to conserve life, preserve our liberties, and pursue happiness.  And so, I think what we’re seeing now and I think this pandemic is a  great example, the cracks in our system that are showing up from access  to basic health insurance. Think about it, people today who have no  healthcare insurance going into hospitals or physicians because of the  pandemic and the burden that places on those hospitals, unfortunately  with new legislation some of that care will get reimbursed, but we still  don’t know what after effects come out of this virus in terms of impact  on populations and exacerbation of things like asthma and diabetes and  whatever chronic diseases that people might face. And so, we sort of  crossed the Rubicon in terms of whether everyone should have healthcare.  The answer is yes indeed, they must have it and obviously the  discussion is to be around what is at healthcare and what ought to be  its purpose and as I said I think its purpose has got to be reducing the  risks of that and anything short of that is really not quality care.

Thank  you for listening. I’m Christian Strohm and we hope you enjoyed this  newsy nugget. Find more on our website, Diverse Health Hub dot Com.

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