A Brief, Moral Case for Medicare for All.
Why taxpayer-funded health insurance for every American is necessary.
Thanks in large part to Bernie Sanders, the Overton window has shifted significantly to the left within the Democratic Party in terms of healthcare reform. He has been the catalyst for restructuring the narrative, and popularizing the idea of Medicare for All, a system that would largely do away with private health insurance companies.
Now, many of his opponents to this idea within the Democratic party argue that if people like their private health insurance, what right does the government have to come in and effectively legislate those private health insurance companies out of business? Well, polling indicates that when people understand that they will be able to keep their doctors if private insurance is gone, support for Medicare for All rises to the majority of the country. But why has support risen so significantly over the past few years for a publicly funded system?
Perhaps, more people have begun to realize that given the wealth this nation holds, it is no longer a fiscal question because the overwhelming majority of Americans would end up saving on healthcare. In fact, the fiscal arguments against a such a program — in my view — are irrelevant. Instead, it’s a moral one. Perhaps, the greater wealth disparities that continue to affect more and more of us each day have shown average Americans just how fundamentally unjust a system that allows profit motive to exist within the context of healthcare actually is.
By definition, a private health insurance company makes a profit by denying coverage, whether it be through when they don’t offer coverage for specific treatments or procedures, or by making their insurance too expensive for people to pay for. All too many of us have seen the effects of a system that operates in this manner, either personally or watching friends and family go through it.
A for profit health insurance system is one that functionally determines who lives or dies based on whether or not they can afford care, and has made the determination that our value as human beings boils down to whether we have attained enough capital to afford to keep our health and livelihood. It even extends this to children, tying their worth to the ability of their parents to afford health insurance. In a society that so effectively propagandized the idea that America is the home of the free, we operate under a system that denies people the freedom simply to exist, because they cannot afford to line the pockets of the shareholders of a health insurance company.
Medicare for All is not going to simply take away health insurance. Rather, it will replace it with something better, and all encompassing for everyone. Not only would it ensure that everyone’s healthcare is free at the point of service, saving them a significant amount of money overall in premium costs and deductibles (if they even have insurance), it could serve as potentially one of the single greatest unifying programs our nation could adopt.
Medicare for All would functionally ensure mass collective participation and contribution to the overall health and wellbeing of our fellow citizens in a manner that is beneficial to everyone, sparking a collective interest in taking care of our friends and neighbors that I would argue we desperately need. Giving something of that importance for the people of this country to rally around would almost inevitably lead to a desperately needed cultural shift, the likes of which we haven’t seen since Regan shifted the nation away from the New Deal Era.
I’m not sure how anyone would honestly justify allowing someone to go bankrupt, get sicker, and die all in the name of profit, but the frightening thing is that people in both political parties still manage to try. The fact that there is a monetary justification for such an argument is certainly indicative of the reason we need to do away with the system in the first place. We can no longer justify the disparity between morality and political expediency, especially when it comes to the lives of hundreds of thousands if not millions of people.