I’ve taken a lot of criticism lately for saying I won’t vote for anyone who doesn’t support a single-payer health care system.
Here’s the thing: You don’t get to decide who gets my vote, not in the primary and not in the general election.
I have good reason for my position. I call it the Dead Kid Card (only because that’s what my son called it before he died from lack of access to health care). I suffered a loss most parents only have nightmares about. I sat beside my precious child as he breathed his last, and his cause of death was neglect for profit.
My son should not have died, nor should any of the half million people who have been murdered by our profit-driven “system” since his heart stopped beating.
Universal access to care was proposed by Theodore Roosevelt more than a century ago, and we’re still waiting. The rest of the world has found ways to do it, but we still prostrate ourselves before the altar of profit. We spend twice as much per person as any other system in any advanced nation, and our outcomes are always the worst among the industrialized nations. Hell, Cuba has better outcomes than we do, and that’s because everyone has access to the care they need.
I’m not willing to wait any longer. I believe enough people have died, and it’s time to stop the unnecessary deaths so some insurance executive can take home another few million dollars and stash it in an overseas tax-sheltered account.
Health insurance companies are parasites. They add nothing of value to our system, but they suck billions of dollars out of our economy, and they deny lifesaving care that causes the deaths of tens of thousands of people every year.
OK, so now you’ll argue that some people love their plans. Well, I have a couple of problems with that. First of all, Medicare for all will get care to everyone, not just the few well-to-do people who have their access to care but don’t even think about people who have little or no access. That’s called selfishness, or greed. Remember, Jesus never said, “I got mine, get your own.”
Secondly, we know that 70 percent of employer-sponsored plans are high-deductible — meaning you have to spend $1,000 or more before you see a penny in coverage — The average deductible is $3,000. This is in a society where nearly half of the people say they can’t pay a surprise bill of $400 without borrowing money.
No one can make me believe that most Americans love their health insurance in light of those statistics.
And it’s getting worse.
According to a study by The Commonwealth Fund, (https://www.commonwealthfund.org/ ), median household income in the United States between 2008 and 2018 grew 1.9% per year on average, rising from $53,000 to $64,202. But health care costs rose 6 percent per year in the same time, and the Affordable Care Act has been in effect for about half of that time.
“The most cost-burdened families live in southern states,” said Sara Collins, lead author of the report and vice president for health care coverage, access and tracking at The Commonwealth Fund.
In general, those states tend to have lower median incomes, so even if the sticker price for premiums and deductibles is lower than in higher-income regions, health insurance costs take up a greater share of Southerners’ income.
The next argument I get is that people who work for insurance companies need their jobs. Well, jobs administering Medicare will be plentiful. Even managers will be needed, although the CEOs who have been skimming billions in our national treasure can go and live on their blood money because they won’t be stealing any more from us.
The longer we wait to do this, the worse things are getting, as for-profit companies take over health care systems, especially in rural areas.
Rural hospitals are cutting services or closing altogether, especially in states that refuse to take the federal Medicaid expansion money that their citizens are already paying for. Here in Western North Carolina, women in labor have to travel up to two hours to get to a labor and delivery facility. Ambulance rides can cost up to a whopping $40,000. People are dying because they have to call an Uber because they can’t pay for an ambulance.
Under the current administration, the Affordable Care Act’s protections have been weakened. Premiums and deductibles have skyrocketed. Since the mandate that everyone buy insurance has been lifted, people of moderate means have dropped their coverage so they can afford to pay for food and shelter.
Meanwhile, plans have become more and more restrictive, putting drugs and care on tiers so that if a doctor comes to see you while you’re in the hospital and they are not on Tier 1 in your plan, you could be faced with thousands of dollars in uncovered care. That lifesaving antibiotic could wind up costing you $300 per pill.
So, when I hear a candidate say we can wait for Medicare for all, my response is, “Nope.”
Our corporate overlords may not care if you die from lack of access to care, but I do.
I will not vote for someone who thinks people can wait for health care, and you have no right to tell me I have to. People are dying NOW, and we have to fix this NOW. I really don’t care if the rich don’t like it. They’re not the ones I’m worried about.
My vote will ONLY go to someone who’s ready to fix this.
I am in awe, Leslie, how well you have argued the case for
National Medicare for All.