Op-Ed: Coronavirus reveals just how skimpy the health care safety net is

family holding hands

"As the novel coronavirus spreads nationwide and in the Commonwealth, enormous flaws in our healthcare system — and the larger system of programs and benefits that protect families and individuals from disaster — have been exposed. We are now undoubtedly facing the largest public health crisis of our lifetime and the social safety net is being tested like never before," writes Antoinette Kraus of PA Health Access Network for an Op-ed in Inquirer.

"While the coronavirus' direct impact will sicken people regardless of their socioeconomic status, many families and individuals who were already struggling to make ends meet will be disproportionately impacted by the economic disruption it will cause. Individual donors — as well as the philanthropic community — have stepped up to fill in the short-term gaps, but this crisis will be bigger than what one-time funding can possibly address.

"The coronavirus pandemic has taught us that personal health is inescapably intertwined with the health of our communities and communities nationwide. After the initial response to this crisis, lawmakers should get to the hard work of repairing our safety net. It is time to have real discussions not about how to cut programs, but about how to develop creative solutions to the flaws this crisis has exposed and how to help families and individuals stay healthy and attain financial stability, now and in the future. Many more of us will find ourselves relying on the safety net in these difficult times."

The full piece is available here.