379,965 positive for coronavirus and 12,242 deaths These are the shocking figures from the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, the United States. A country where many have been warning that the nature of the system, its evident insufficiencies, the great mass of the population without coverage, nearly 28 million, or with precarious insurance, would multiply the effects of the crisis.

At the forefront for so many reasons, essentially related to research and the most elitist services, the health system in the United States is also tremendously irregular. Its laboratories may well be among the first to develop a vaccine and/or treatment for the sick. At the same time, millions of citizens are facing the epidemic with far fewer guarantees than those of other developed nations.

It is estimated that thanks to Obama’s health care reform, the celebrated and controversial Obamacare, nearly 20 million Americans have been insured. But insurance, in the United States, is intimately linked to work. With unemployment at an all-time high since the Great Depression, more than 6 million people have been unemployed in just 15 days, many of the benefits of the new unemployed are in jeopardy. And there are many Americans who still live in health care limbo.

A study by the Economic Policy Institute released Thursday estimates that up to 3.5 million workers “may have lost their employer-sponsored health insurance in the last two weeks due to layoffs”. Among the bill’s efforts, criticized by both the Republicans and the left wing of the Democratic Party, was the intention to expand health coverage, including by extending very low-cost credits, expanding Medicaid, the public health insurance that covers adults with incomes below a certain level.

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