Behind the Scenes of Last Night’s Health Care Vote
Senator Chris Murphy

Imagine for a moment, that Universal Healthcare is a huge, robust, 300-year-old oak tree. Big, healthy, magnificent. Austria, Belarus, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. These countries have Universal Healthcare. They have healthy trees.

By contrast, the US has a small pile of wood shavings, and it appears that Senator Murphy’s job mostly consists of keeping the lunatic GOP from setting it ablaze. I can understand the effort that he conveys in this essay, and I have great sympathy for the beleaguered, pro-NHS members of both the House and Senate, but — sir, what truly did you accomplish last night, in a game that is so patently rigged against you and your colleagues? You put out another fire. Will we have Universal Healthcare, in this country, within my or your lifetimes? No.

I pay Kaiser-Permanente about $6000 / year now (that’s the lowest-level, healthy-person Bronze Plan yearly premium), out of my own pocket, for literally nothing except a few screening tests and a yearly flu shot. That money doesn’t go into a personal health savings account at Kaiser, and it doesn’t mean that, should I fall ill, I can be seen and treated at a hospital or ER without fear of being bankrupted (as it would in a country with Universal Healthcare where yes, you pay more for it out of the public taxes, but then your routine checkup, ER or hospital stay is heavily subsidized or nearly free — yes, free) .

No, that $500/month simply evaporates, and, should I sprain my wrist or twist my ankle, the bill waiting for me at the end of treatment will cost me thousands of dollars, on top of the yearly $6000 that I’m already paying. And a dinged ankle or wrist, remember, are trivial complaints. Something more serious, like a broken leg, could run me $60,000 .

This is not a war being won by inches. This is trying to bail out the Titanic with a thimble, while the GOP is drilling holes in the ship’s side with one of those tunnel-boring machines.