By Warren J. Blumenfeld
Quality healthcare is a human right. Quality healthcare is a civil right in a just society, in any society! We the people must abolish any and all healthcare systems with profit as the primary goal.
Republicans attempt to perpetrate a deceptive swindle in their Health(don’t)Care bills in the House and Senate. These Health(don’t)Care bills have nothing to do with health at all. They function as political cover to grant massive tax breaks to the rich.
Taking a victory lap following the vote House vote, Vice President Pence thanked all the “principled lawmakers” for their support in the bill’s passage.
They tout their scams as establishing “freedom of choice” to “freedom-loving” individuals while granting “enhanced rights” to states.
Translated from doublespeak to realspeak: “freedom of choice” means that with the bill’s elimination of a public mandate, individuals can choose not to purchase health care insurance, forgo preventative medicine, develop catastrophic ailments, and die in the street is they so choose, or they can go to a hospital emergency room for their primary care while other tax payers pick up the tab. Freedom?
“Enhanced rights” for states translates to granting states and insurance companies federal waivers to charge people with pre-existing medical conditions much higher rates than other customers, substantially increase prices for older people, and disregard the mandate to cover specified services like pregnancy care.
In addition, these “wonderful” bill for “freedom-loving Americans” will cut Medicaid programs for low-income people, while allowing states to enact work requirements on Medicaid recipients. Oh, and let us not forget that the bill eliminates tax increases on the rich and super-rich as well as on the health industry. Wonderful?
In the final analysis, Republicans’ “liberty” and “freedom” perpetuates their vicious self-serving fraud on the people, except for the upper 10% in the ever-growing economic divide.
I am disgusted when politicians discuss destroying our current modest healthcare system to grant people “freedom of choice.” How very hypocritical!
They are the same politicians who continually work to take away women’s freedom of choice over their bodies!
These are the same politicians who continually work to take away same-sex couples’ freedom of choice over whom they can legally marry!
These are the same politicians who continually work to deny trans people freedom of choice over which public facilities to use!
These are the same politicians who continually work to take away good peoples’ rights to travel to this country or to seek sanctuary from oppression!
A free people have guarantees to go to a quality healthcare provider for preventative care without having to choose between care and food.
A free people have guarantees to go to a quality healthcare provider for ailments big and small without having to choose between care or paying for housing.
A free people have guarantees to go to a quality healthcare provider for treatment of catastrophic ailments without having to choose between care and having sufficient funds for retirement or for sending progeny to school.
A free people have guarantees to quality healthcare no matter their station in life, no matter their geographic location, no matter their physical and mental condition, no matter their social identities, no matter what!
The Republicans’ ultimate purpose is not to guarantee universal healthcare, but instead, to shrink substantially the size of government; to end governmental regulation of the private sector; to privatize state and federal governmental services, industries, and institutions including healthcare; to permanently incorporate across-the-board non-progressive marginal tax rates; to ensure market driven unfettered “free market” economies.
Back in the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign at the CNN-Tea Party-sponsored Republican presidential candidates’ debate in Florida the debate facilitator, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, asked then presidential candidate Ron Paul the hypothetical question of what we as a society should do in the case of a 30-year-old man who chooses not to purchase health insurance, and later develops a serious life-threatening disease. Before Paul had a chance to answer Blitzer’s question, a number of audience members shouted “Let him die! Let him die!”
Is this the image of our country we want to continue projecting around the world? Is this the type of country “we the people” were promised? Is this the type of country in which “we the people” want to live?
Reported by the Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker, the U.S. ranks last in terms of life expectancy and first related to disease burden compared with other so-called “developed” countries. We spend about $8,745 per capita on health care, compared, for example, with its government-sponsored single-payer healthcare, Australia’s $3,997 per person.
As destructive and as freedom-killing as the political and theocratic right would have us believe, according to the World English Dictionary, socialism involves “a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole,” where each of us has a stake and advances in the success of our collective economy.
No country in the world today functions as a fully socialist state, but rather, some of the most successful economies combine elements of capitalism with socialism to create greater degrees of equity and lesser disparities between the rich, the poor, and those on the continuum in between.
For those who thrust the term “socialist” as a curse word, if a Socialist is one who advocates for a governmental single-payer quality universal healthcare, then we should all be Democratic Socialists!
If a socialist is one who demands that our country protects and enhances our Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid safety nets, then we should all be Democratic Socialists!
This year, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development conducted its “Better Life Index” to determine the “happiest countries in the world,” according to its residents. Based on an 11-measure survey assessing quality of life, including health, housing, income, jobs, community, education, the environment, work-life balance, and life satisfaction, all the Scandinavian countries, plus Iceland, Netherlands, and Switzerland, and only one North American country, plus Australia and New Zealand reached the top 10 ranked countries.
Included in descending order are number one, Norway, Switzerland, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, New Zealand, Canada, Netherlands, Australia, and Sweden. I am saddened, but not surprised, that the United States did not make the cut in the top 10. We would do well to look to these countries for some of their Socialist policies that sustain high levels in quality of life issues, including health, for their residents.
All these countries provide government-sponsored quality universal healthcare. Shame on the U.S. for not following their lead.
If the rich and super rich must pay higher taxes, then so be it!
If we must reduce our ridiculously high annual military budgets, then so be it!
We must get our policy priorities in order. We the people must fight for each and everyone’s right to quality healthcare. We must divorce healthcare from the corporate profit motive and marry it to a government-sponsored single-payer system!
Let the ground swell. Let the volcanoes erupt. Let the clouds crash with thunder. Let the people rise, fists held high, voices ringing, chanting, singing, demanding, announcing:
HEALTHCARE IS A RIGHT! HEALTHCARE IS A RIGHT! HEALTHCARE IS A RIGHT!
Republicans be damned! We need a revolution!