Crazy Little Thing Called Medicare for All
Politics be damned: Healthcare is a human right
During that fun little recession we had back in 2008, I was laid off.
I mean, I hated my job but, I didn’t wanna go out like that. I’d always planned to win the lottery and then intentionally screw up the executive lunch order — put the dressing on the salad instead of on the side — really ruin their lives so that when I kicked over the trash can and shouted, “Suck it, clown dicks!” they’d cry.
But whatever. Maybe next time.
Your options for health insurance when suddenly unemployed are dismal (the ACA had little effect on this):
- You pony up the massive sums for COBRA (to retain your former employer’s coverage, the estimated annual average family premium is over $20,000)
- Instantly get hired for another job — that provides health insurance.
- Sell a kidney, buy a high-deductible plan and be impervious to the laws of physics or any communicable, genetic, age or pollution-related diseases.
- Or apply for Medicaid.
And thank your lucky stars if your state offers a Medicaid plan for which you qualify.
But even then, many doctors either don’t accept state-supported coverage or have stopped taking new Medicaid patients. In my particular case, there was only ONE clinic that accepted new patients, which meant my first appointment would be in five short months.
On the plus side, that’s more than enough time to learn how to biopsy your own tumor (according to WebMD, it’s not).
To clarify, long wait times are NOT innate to publicly-funded healthcare; they’re a function of a capitalist system that intentionally undermines any alternative that doesn’t make money for stockholders.
Free to Be Rich & Healthy (or Poor & Dead)
Beyond the current anemic hodgepodge of state-sponsored care, if you’re employed you may be blessed with an employee benefits package. I’ve gone through dozens of health insurance programs during the course of my working life. I’ve changed jobs, moved, had insurance companies cancel my plan and had employers switch carriers. All of which required I get a new doctor and learn what is and is not covered to determine whether I can or cannot afford to find out if this chest pain has anything to do with the fact I put Sriracha on EVERYTHING.
I find it despicable that certain d-bags are still claiming that Bernie Sanders wants to take away your “freedom to keep your insurance” as if that’s a thing people are actually gonna miss. It’s right up there with getting lost in Ikea. “Oh please, Mr. Politics man, don’t take away my right to get disoriented and hypoglycemic in a giant, windowless department store!”
This insurance we’re gonna “lose” could already disappear in a heartbeat at the whim of Aetna, your employer, or any number of other variables over which you have zero control.
Which is why this “choice” argument is bullshit.
Option 1: You can have insurance.
Option 2: You can not have insurance (or have insurance reject a claim), contract the plague and die painfully in the metaphorical (or literal) gutter, like a decent, god-fearing, American.
In other words, in this country, you’re “free” to fall off the roof and find out what it’s like without Blue Cross staring at your obliterated body trying to decide whether or not it’s in their fiduciary interest to cover your trip to the emergency room.
I don’t know about you right now, but I’m humming the national anthem and seriously considering getting an American eagle tattooed on my forehead.
When our health is just another commodity, it’s reduced to balance sheet morality — a source of wealth for some, a hardship for others. Which manifests in preventable deaths, the rising number of uninsured, and the high percentage of bankruptcies related to medical debt.
The fact that stockholders are owed more consideration than a patient is the putrid rot at the core of the entire US free-market healthcare scheme. Health insurance, as a notion, for anything other than non-essential nose jobs and polymer boobs, is an abusive scam perpetrated on a disempowered populace.
It’s Not Brain Surgery. Oh. Wait…
So, can we do better than private insurance and some sacrificial, doomed-to-fail public option? Absolutely!
Unfortunately, Republicans, with the help of a few Democrats, persist in voting behaviors intended to “starve the beast,” or otherwise cut government resources, which deliberately reduce the efficacy and success of any government-funded (e.g., social safety-net) program.
Plans such as Medicaid suffer not because the concept of society pooling resources and creating a more equitable system is faulty, but because plans based upon low-income qualifications mean one thing: “it’s just poor people care.”
And remind me again who has the most influence in our society?
What petulant class of squeaky wheels manipulates congressional policy to suit their own needs?
Which country club cohort keeps yelling, “Look unto me serfs and rejoice, for I am a job creator!” to drown out the sound of their tax-avoiding sharts?
And which demographic is it that decides to run for president halfway through an election season by procuring millions worth of primetime advertising?
If you answered “the poors,” you’ve probably suffered a traumatic head injury and fingers-crossed you don’t live to see your medical bills.
When we segregate service of any kind by financial need, we run the risk of isolating the most vulnerable people within a defective system they have no power to improve or escape. The reason universal programs, such as Medicare for All (M4A), are the best route, is for the profoundly simple fact that everyone participates — EVERYONE. There is no private for-profit insurance to undercut the government single-payer plan and everyone is invested in the success and the quality of care.
Sure, if you’re Lex Luthor — I mean, Jeff Bezos — you’re more than welcome to pay a plastic surgeon (or warlock) to give you a less punchable face and you can certainly buy some top-notch, elective health insurance to cover your new skinsuit (as if Jeff would need insurance, like a peasant). In either case, you probably don’t give a shit about M4A, but you’re sure as shit gonna contribute to it.
It’s Medicare for All, Stupid.
So yeah. We should do this Medicare for All thing. ASAP. No more insurance, no more premiums, no more costs at the point of service, and no more surprise bills. We all chip in, and we go see any doctor when we need to. Period.
For those understandably worried about the loss of jobs when the health insurance industry becomes obsolete, that’s a legitimate concern. A few points:
- We’ll need folks to administer the new M4A plan.
- We should implement a serious jobs program prior to the full rollout of M4A.
- Since when is it acceptable to maintain an unjust, immoral practice because some people will lose their jobs?
Always. It’s always been “acceptable.”
But it shouldn’t be! We shouldn’t say, “We can’t end mass incarceration! All the prison guards will get lonely!”
Of course, we also fought a civil war because some assholes thought ending slavery was super mean to slave owners.
And to anyone who whines, “We can’t afford it,” may I just say, what THE FUCK world do you live in?
Haven’t you noticed all the other crap that we blow prodigious wads of cash on with literally no return on investment? Like, we regularly spend money on evil shit all the time!
- Senseless wars. Check.
- Huge tax-cuts for greedy wealth hoarders. Check.
- … well, mostly just those two things.
Don’t tell me that we can’t afford to provide high-quality healthcare including mental, dental, vision and long-term care for all of us. Stop believing America is only capable of exporting jobs, devastating the environment, paying Sean Spicer to dance, badly, and droning people who don’t appreciate our dick wagging war-profiteering.
It’s never been a question of money; it’s always a question of will.
And look, no one ever said it would be easy — I too live in this shitty version of reality. It’s hard as fuck to change any money-making system. But the only genuine power we the people have is the uniquely human ability to imagine something better and the determination to fight for it.
To be clear “fighting for it” doesn’t mean sitting around and moaning:
“It’ll never pass.”
“It’ll never work.”
“I watch CNN.”
“If you studied history you’d know that socialism is just another word for satanic cannibalism and free stuff.”
“As a Democrat, I’d rather keep my expectations buried in the earth’s crust and vote for someone who preempts all negotiation by rolling over and playing dead.”
I mean, holy shit. Are we really that pathetic?
Don’t answer that.
To learn more about Bernie Sanders M4A plan, visit the Physicians for a National Health Program website.