On Sunday, Donald Trump said “our country has to go back to being our country again. . . We have to go back to work.”
He also said, “You have people who are not going to stand for this and I understand that very well.” By which he meant “If you kill someone who is trying to keep you from your job, preventing you from eating at Old Country Buffet, or forcing you to wear a face mask, I will call you a very fine person and may even pay your legal bills.”
This is my sixth week living in our new paradigm. For the most part I’m doing okay, but there are times I feel an overwhelming emotional exhaustion. It isn’t brought on by fear of contracting COVID -19 or anxiety for the future or even the demands of social distancing. It’s because I feel like we’re walking a long road while at the same time those who should be leading us forward have tied a rope around our waists and are pulling us backwards. It’s like swimming against the tide. An uphill climb. Or walking into a headwind. Pick your metaphor. But it’s wearing me out.
What do you say to people who tell you that universal health care doesn’t work? What do you say when people tell you that private insurance and for-profit health care is the best alternative?
What do you say when they argue that systems like Britain’s NHS (National Health Service) or Canada’s public system are inefficient, unsustainable, produce substandard results, and that people hate it?
What do you say? You say this:
If anything positive can come of this terrible COVID pandemic, let it be that the United States has finally learned that universal health care works. Every person deserves health care. Universal coverage is the only morally acceptable solution.
I worry a lot about the state of health care in the US. The system we have now is unsatisfactory and unsustainable. And access to health care is so vital. But I don’t see a solution coming any time soon.
The most common argument offered against the US moving to a system of universal health care (whether it is “Medicare For All” or whatever) is that it will be a “government takeover” of our health care. It will “give the power and control over health care decisions to the bureaucrats in Washington DC.”
The idea that “The Government” is going to be making your medical decisions is supposed to scare the hell out of you. It’s supposed to conjure up images of some bureaucrat in a cheap suit sitting in a nondescript office in Washington writing prescriptions and deciding whether or not Grandpa gets to have his chemotherapy this week. OMG “Death Panels!” The Democrats want to turn us into Venezuela! This is a typical scare tactic by conservatives and the CEOs of multinational corporations who think that our money works better when its in their bank accounts. “The Government is the enemy! Be afraid!” We’ve heard it all before: in the 90s they wanted to privatize Social Security. Then it was Charter Schools. And then privatizing roads and bridges all over the country. In the US, we’ve been trained over the last 40 years to believe that the Free Market is our friend and that The Government is our enemy. And we’re convinced. Because a fear of The Government plays nicely off of our historical enmity of Communism and fear of its “political twin” Socialism.
I bristle a little every time I hear Bernie Sanders say “Health care is a right.”
What he means is “health care should be a right.” Every human being should have access to health care. A moral and decent society does not let its citizens live in pain or ill health, suffer permanent injury or die simply because of their financial circumstances. Health care is a right in nearly every other developed nation in the world.