Capitalism Sounds Good in Theory…

My EpiPen (which needs to be replaced soon)

So, sometimes I think it’s kind of shitty and manipulative to point at your own life’s anecdotes to make a political point when arguing because ultimately there is always some other person in the world with a very similar anecdote who will use theirs to argue the complete opposite point. It’s a move designed to outplay the person you’re arguing with because once it becomes “personal” to you it makes the other person defensive and worried about hurting your feelings. Buuuuuuut personal stories do seem to sway broader audiences more than studies or numbers or cold hard facts and all that so I’m gonna go ahead and get personal (i.e. try to compel you via my own emotional narrative)…

I’ve thrice had to use an EpiPen and it may have very well saved my life each time. It’s fucking traumatizing. Now, since this ruckus over the EpiPen’s 600 percent price hike I’ve seen a few people point out very true things about how the government manipulated the market for Mylan to reduce competition and essentially give it unfettered control over contracts to supply schools or other public facilities.

It’s funny because they use this as a reason to “get the government outta tha wayyy!” but then fail to mention that countries with single-payer systems or public options haven’t passed the price increase on to patients. In Canada the price won’t change. In the UK a twin-pack is $89. In Australia, $38.

So, as much as I’m sure it’s fun to hypothesize about how the invisible hand will fix everything, here in my world I rely on this thing to prevent me from dying. And there are real, already existing systems that work to make that possible for me and people less wealthy than me. But because so many of us in the US refuse to acknowledge the flaws in our conception of magical free markets (that don’t actually exist anywhere), we can’t even begin to discuss how to emulate the systems that already exist. The system we have was only implemented this way because Democrats were either too chickenshit to challenge this notion, or because they actually bought a slightly different brand of the “privatization is always better!” narrative. The only thing that makes this system better than what we had before is that it actually covers more people because of the expansion of Medicaid. To put it clearer: the government is subsidizing the health costs of people who couldn’t previously afford it because that’s what basic fucking human decency looks like.

So yeah, capitalism looks good on paper. But as insurance coverage gets shittier and shittier each year (like mine is) and health costs keep rising, it’s going to be harder and harder to convince people that it works in practice. At least be honest about your vision: a system that works really efficiently for everyone the market deems valuable, and agonizing, gasping, choking, last breaths for those of us it doesn’t.