Coronavirus fears lead to Americans demanding government intervention In health care
As we find ourselves in the midst of a terrifying pandemic — which already claimed the lives of thousands across the globe and severely crippled financial markets — members of Congress scramble to offer Americans some degree of economic relief.
The “New York Times” listed all the ways in which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hopes to stimulate an economy and help those who are most vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19:
“The legislation…will include enhanced unemployment benefits, free virus testing, aid for food assistance programs and federal funds for Medicaid. The package also ensures 14 days of paid sick leave, as well as tax credits to help small — and medium-size businesses fulfill that mandate.”
It’s fascinating to see the same lawmakers who vociferously attacked single-payer health care as “too expensive” advocate for billions of dollars in emergency funding. That’s the way we do things here in the United States. We ignore wounds until they become so infected that the government ends up spending astronomical amounts to stop them from killing us. But what if we treated the wound at the first sign of bleeding?
The U.S. is in a particularly precarious situation when it comes to slowing the spread of COVID-19. We’re the only developed nation that does not offer universal health care, and we rely on a gluttonous private health care industry that consistently prioritizes profits over lives. This is exactly what one should expect in a privatized system with a profit motive.
As a result, Americans consistently put off seeing a doctor out of fear that they’ll discover an unmanageable and gargantuan medical bill in the mail soon after. Considering that 40 percent of people in the U.S. are living paycheck to paycheck and cannot afford a single $400 emergency, it’s ridiculous to expect them to get tested for Coronavirus or see a doctor for treatment. In many cases, it can lead to financial ruin.
A Kaiser Family Foundation report found that 26 percent of adults have put off or postponed getting health care due to their finances, and 21 percent said they’ve skipped a recommended medical test or treatment for the same reason. Financial destruction due to health issues isn’t rare in America. Medical problems contribute to 66 percent of all bankruptcies in the U.S. Keep in mind that Medicare for All – Bernie Sanders’ signature legislation — would prevent more than half a million Americans from going bankrupt each year.
It is not difficult to grasp: our system is broken even after the passage of the Affordable Care Act that presidential candidate Joe Biden cites as one of his greatest Obama-era accomplishments. But we all know a single-payer system like “Medicare for All” would solve many of the issues we’re currently facing. If more people were able to see a doctor without worry about the cost of COVID-19 testing and treatment, it would help to stop the spread of the virus.
If people were able to take time off work without losing the wages they depend on to pay their bills and feed their families, it would also help to stop the spread of the virus. Instead, we have a situation in which people show up to work when they’re sick because they literally cannot afford not to.
So, why don’t we have single-payer health care?
It all traces back to corruption and money. Sure, our politicians are certainly corrupted by private health care industry contributions to their campaigns. But they still need media disinformation campaigns to dissuade the public from supporting Medicare for All. That’s where the character assassins come in.
In “Manufacturing Consent,” Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky argue that U.S. media, “are effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry out a system-supportive propaganda function, by reliance on market forces, internalized assumptions, and self-censorship, and without overt coercion.”
It’s easy to see how this plays out in real-time. While more than 26,000 people in the U.S. die each year due to lack of health care, the corporate press decided to trash Bernie Sanders — the only Democratic candidate who authentically fought for a single-payer system. Rather than provide an in-depth and fair analysis of Medicare for All, the mainstream mostly focused on manufactured outrage regarding Sanders supporters and their behavior online.
Americans likely won’t get single-payer health care because online rebuttals by the so-called “Bernie Bros” shattered the sensitive emotional state of corporatist cheerleaders. That’s what the handsomely-paid character assassins parading around as journalists focused on incessantly during the Democratic primary.
Nevermind the fact that a Harvard University researcher poured through millions of tweets and disproved the notion that Sanders supporters are more toxic than those of other Democratic primary candidates. A survey by In “These Times” found that CNN’s coverage of Sanders was three times more negative than coverage of Joe Biden.
That powerful propaganda props up candidates like Biden — who seek to maintain a status quo that makes us more vulnerable and ill-prepared for a pandemic — and crushes those who dare dream of a better society.
Ana Kasparian is a host and executive producer of The Young Turks, and host of No Filter on TYT.