Trump announced a limited form of Medicare For All, funding testing and treatment for pandemic patients during the current crisis. It comes with the stipulation that patients will not be double-billed, something which was not even included in ACA billing procedures. Meaning doctors, labs, etc cannot bill a patient with the claim that they are not part of the same medical treatment system, which has always been ludicrous.
No matter how you feel about Trump, this action deserves kudos. I know many will offer criticisms which are justly deserved that this comes rather late. Still, if this is made retroactive for those already affected, it becomes less of a point.
Yet there is a very valid criticism to be leveled here. The fact that this policy focuses solely on one specific illness. Millions of Americans are being left without health insurance during this crisis. Some suffer chronic illness, others will suffer separate acute illnesses during this time and have no medical insurance coverage, leaving them at risk of catastrophic financial consequences or long term serious medical repercussions which they would not otherwise suffer if not for the suspension or complete loss of medical insurance at this time.
So this policy should be expanded to include all uninsured Americans during this time for basic medical care of life and health-threatening illnesses or injuries. Obviously, elective and cosmetic procedures should be excluded.
The events we are experiencing right this moment would be the perfect test bed for universal healthcare in this country. Doing such a trial, even on a limited basis, would take the discussion from any abstract into real world practice and proof of concept to confirm it would be a realistic system in the US. Just as it has been highly functional in many countries for many decades.
Obviously, we could count on capitalistic influences making every attempt to sabotage the effort. Politically and capitalistically biased creative accounting would be painting the darkest view imaginable. We may see actual attempts by detractors to institute the feared “death panels”, which would be easily overcome and rejected outright. Insurance companies and their paid-for elected puppets attempting to divert the effort back into corporate welfare ala ACA is to be expected and aggressively put down like a rabid animal.
However, if implemented in real world terms, even if the system had flaws, it is absolutely certain that the American public would all but instantly adopt it wholeheartedly and would prefer working out kinks in the system over going back to a for-profit corporate wholesale robbery of the populace.
There could be no argument at the present time that such a program would cause massive job losses while capitalism is doing precisely that. It would actually create and sustain jobs. There could be no claim that it would damage the stock market because the stock market is already imploding on itself.
As of this moment, insurance companies are already planning on increasing insurance premiums by 40%. That number will only increase as the pandemic stretches on longer and expands. Obviously, our government will do absolutely nothing to stop such crippling premium increases, as long as campaign donations continue accordingly. With half the workers in the nation unable to afford a $400 emergency before the pandemic, that would mean at least that same number would be unable to afford medical insurance at all by next year. Most likely far more than half of Americans could not afford insurance at all. Of those that could afford premiums, as much as 75% would be unable to afford deductibles, which will also increase. Small and medium sized businesses would be unable to compete for labor and would be completely erased from existence.
As a nation, at this point in time we need to stand our ground and demand our government begin implementing universal healthcare immediately. Right now and in the future after this crisis is over, our health, our lives and our economy depend on it to an extreme which cannot be overstated.
I have been writing for years that this crash was mandatory. That it absolutely had to happen for the American people to awaken, to become aware of what has been taken from us incrementally over decades. Only then would enough of the populace rise up and demand changes for the better. However, we’re not there yet. We have much further to fall before many people are ready.
Even now, as many are nearly at that point, too many still focus all blame on a single administration, ignoring the fact that we had the discussion in 2008 with the ACA, in which we were then cheated of the public option. The discussion reignited in 2016 with the push by not one but two candidates in two separate parties endorsing universal healthcare. The discussion for universal healthcare has been resurrected every single decade, in the 90’s, the 80’s, the 70’s, the 60’s and further back. So attaching the issue to a single name is disingenuous at best, completely delusional propaganda at worst. Especially when that specific name chose to intentionally NOT pursue full implementation at this exact time, when the current administration is implementing it in part and over 80% of the population approves of universal healthcare.
The ball is now in our court and the momentum is on our side as it never has been before, as it never will be again. It is up to us to make use of our spare time right this minute to push for universal healthcare as if our lives depend on it. Because they do depend on it. We need to write and call our elected officials, sign petitions, do whatever we can do while maintaining safe precautions to raise our voices and DEMAND universal healthcare be implemented NOW. If we wait, we lose this chance.