Millions of Americans Refuse to Get Vaccinated — Blame Their Doctors
Trigger warning: this article is heavily in favor of universal healthcare.
My mother was a pediatric nurse at the hospital where I was born. It didn’t cost her anything to have me, nor did it cost anything to stay over for either of her next two kids, and it wasn’t because she received a staff discount.
She was and is Canadian, and such things are covered as part of the nation’s universal healthcare program, paid for by our collective tax dollars.
I grew up in Canada, where universal healthcare is a big deal. Even conservatives like it, because they see how it saves $5,654 per person compared to the Yankees. (After all, it’s cheaper to buy medicines and MRI machines in bulk, and what are private insurance profits but the ultimate inefficiency?)
Sure, there is room for lots of improvement, but unlike our southern neighbors, at least we don’t have 40,000+ people dying every year from lack of coverage, nor do another half a million claim bankruptcy due to medical bills. And I don’t know anyone with medical debt, even cancer survivors.
Because my country subscribes to the radical notion that people don’t deserve to die just because they’re poor.
I recently moved to the United Kingdom. The NHS is the prized possession of the nation, though you’d never know it by the way Conservatives attack it constantly.
Still, my wife is pregnant with our first child, and we don’t have to pay a penny out of pocket because we’re already taxpayers.
I got my first Covid shot last week.
Free, fast, no drama.
All our friends have had it.
And all our neighbors.
We don’t know anyone here who isn’t going to get both doses.
Because, after all, they just went through a year from hell.
And they understand that vaccines work.
The Brits were some of the earliest experimenters with vaccines, after all.
Most of my British neighbors have never even heard of Q-Anon.
“What do you mean you’ve never heard of Q?!” I ask them excitedly. “Hillary’s pedophile pizza parlor? Lizard Jews controlling Congress? Babies dying in the womb from standing too close to someone who’s recently been vaccinated?”
They smile and nod like I’m the one who believes this malarkey.
And then it hits me.
America has a trust problem.
Obviously, there are doctors who genuinely care for their patients and don’t accept free trips and prizes from pharmaceutical companies, but we know for certain that at least 1,036,163 doctors have accepted more than $12 billion so far. Can you imagine trusting a neurological surgeon who’s received over $29 million in Big Pharma payouts? Can you imagine seeing a psychiatrist who’s received 1,140 payments from them?
The privatized healthcare industry is a massive conflict of interest.
- When you commodify healthcare and turn people into customers, you build distrust.
- When you train and incentivize doctors to prescribe pills instead of discovering and healing the root problems, you build distrust.
- When you let pharma companies accept huge government research grants and then turn around and hold the patents hostage for colossal profit margins, you build distrust.
- When you let health insurance companies lobby-bribe Congress to block any meaningful healthcare reform, you build distrust.
People in Canada and the UK generally get vaccinated because they generally trust that their healthcare system doesn’t see them as profit centers to milk for money until they're broke and dead.
America does the opposite.
America devours the poor.
It’s why more Americans claim bankruptcy than graduate from college.
No wonder people won’t get the vaccine.
Privatized healthcare lays the fertile groundwork of distrust in which conspiracy theories like Q-Anon can easily take root.
You end up with a country where states have to bribe their citizens to get vaccinated with free beer, donuts, hamburgers, guns, cash lotteries, hunting licenses, Six Flags tickets, university scholarships, and Girl Scouts cookies.
You end up with a country containing so many spoiled anti-science brats that millions of their vaccine doses are expiring while our brothers and sisters around the world suffer and die.
Essential private-profit medicine — withholding access to healthcare unless you can afford to pay for it— should be illegal in civil societies.
Want every person in America to get vaccinated after the next pandemic?
Universalize medicine now.
(Want to drive the cost of healthcare through the floor? Make med school free and flood the industry with doctors.)
But that’s a whole other can of worms. For now, we need to make access to healthcare an unconditional human right, knowing that we are only as strong as our weakest neighbor.
For now, we need to rebuild trust.