If You Still Don’t Support Medicare for All, You’re Just Not on the ‘Left’.

There are no more excuses not to support healthcare being free at the point of service.

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Photo by Marcelo Leal on Unsplash

As unemployment levels have blown past all previous records in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, millions of these people aside from losing their income have also lost health insurance for themselves and oftentimes their immediate family members. On an unprecedented scale we are experiencing firsthand the ultimate case for the implementation of the medicare for all or universal healthcare system Bernie Sanders has spent decades arguing for. A system that would replace private insurance companies and employer-tied insurance with a government run program that makes healthcare free at the point of service. The situation has grown so dire that Donald Trump’s administration is using funds from the $2 trillion dollar stimulus package to pay hospitals to treat coronavirus patients. Healthcare paid for by the government with taxpayer money, free at the point of service.

But of course, it’s important to remember that free treatment is just for the uninsured. We can’t forget the countless underinsured or even well insured Americans who will be stuck with a hefty medical bill if they require treatment that their insurance company wouldn’t cover in full.

At this point, I have no problem arguing that even in the midst of this crisis if you are still not in favor of Medicare for All, you are just not on the left.

The idea that we should just stop with free treatment of this disease alone is absolutely ridiculous, and so is the notion that the Affordable Care Act — a right-wing think tank’s idea — will save us after it left millions uninsured in the first place. There is simply no more time for tip toeing and half measures when the issue at hands determines the fate of people’s lives, and the current crisis is testament to that. Are we really prepared to argue that it’s not acceptable for people to die from coronavirus because they can’t afford treatment, but not argue the same when we talk about cancer or the flu? The moral bankruptcy of our government truly knows no bounds, and I find my patience with these arguments lessening more and more by the day as I continue to try and wrap my mind around everything that’s happening.

There is no justifiable reason for the richest country on earth to refuse to provide its citizens with a healthcare system that doesn’t allow anyone to die just because they can’t afford treatment, when at this very moment they’re handing tens of billions of dollars to some of the richest companies in the country who used their profits to artificially inflate the price of their stock rather than saving for a rainy day.

The sole purpose of a government is ultimately to keep it’s citizens safe. Firefighters do not ask if we have insurance before they come to our house, because as a society we know that the consequences of that would obviously be absolutely disastrous. Not only would someone lose their homes simply because they can’t afford insurance, the fire can spread. Right now in healthcare, fire is spreading, and I refuse to accept that whether I live or die should be determined by my ability to line the pockets of a health insurance company’s CEO and their beloved shareholders. If providing health insurance to all citizens to make sure people get the care they need regardless of their income doesn’t fall under the category of keeping people safe, then I don’t know what does.

I refuse to debate my worth or the legitimacy of such an inherently cruel healthcare system with anyone, let alone someone who actually pretends they’re on the left. You cannot claim to be when arguing for a system that is fundamentally designed to put money over the lives of human beings. Those who continue to argue in favor of a profit-motivated healthcare industry while simultaneously pretending to be on the left should no longer be considered even remotely serious, or an honest actor. The unnecessary pain and trauma we inflict on the working class in this country should no longer be tolerated, and that obviously includes the private health insurance industry. Right now, we have a chance to reflect and demand the change that’s required in this country in order to prevent something like this from happening again, and that means — among other things — implementing universal healthcare.

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Lauren is a writer & leftist with analysis on topics related to politics & policy. She can be reached at LaurenMartinchek@gmail.com or Twitter @xlauren_mx

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