On Health Care

A single-payer plan would be a plan like Medicare for all, or the kind of plan that they have in Canada, where basically government is the only person — is the only entity that pays for all health care.  Everybody has a government-paid-for plan, even though in, depending on which country, the doctors are still private or the hospitals might still be private.  In some countries, the doctors work for the government and the hospitals are owned by the government.  But the point is, is that government pays for everything, like Medicare for all.  That is a single-payer plan.

via Obama’s healthcare townhall transcript — remarks, audience questions | Top of the Ticket | Los Angeles Times.

The first letter I ever wrote about health care was in 1996. It was addressed to Senator Diane Feinstein. I was 13, and working on a letter writing campaign with my father to help prevent the closure of LAC-USC Medical Center. I was able to convince my teacher to get my entire class to write letters.

When I taught high school in South L.A., the closure of the King-Drew Medical Center was imminent. I taught that, too. My math students looked at budgets. My journalism students read news articles. And I wrote more letters.

I have not dedicated my life to public health like my father has, but watching him for my entire life, I have seen and understood the importance of it. Living with sick family members, I have felt the pain of inflated drug prices and ridiculous add-on elements such as oxygen tanks and ambulance rides.  I have struggled finding insurance during two periods of unemployment.

I fully support a single-payer system. Not because I am a socialist, but because it is the right thing to do. Health care should not be another capitalized opportunity to further stratify an already-segregated society.

When I hear someone like Sarah Palin say “death squad” and all of her cronies supporting her absurd claims, I am literally sickened. Not because it’s an absurd attempt to slander a plan that doesn’t even fully cover the needs of all Americans. I am sickened because her description of someone deciding whether or not her Down’s Syndrome child is a productive member of society, is exactly, exactly what the current system does every single day.

A stratified system is a death squad by its nature.

It decides who gets quality care and who gets less-than quality or no care.

It decides who gets to see a doctor and who does not.

It decides who benefits from technological advances in medicine and who does not.

It decides who gets preventive care and who does not.

It decides who gets to live and die.

And for those who get to live, it gets to decide the quality of life received.

So, that death panel that gets to sit around and decide who lives and who dies? Take a look at our current system. Looks like a death panel to me.

And for the record, panels are common. Diseases require specialization. And specialization often requires multiple levels of care. And multiple levels of care require discussions. So, before you start spewing your Republican, capitalistic venom all over the country, take a look at all successful hospitals.

I have said before that I think the core of our problem lies in the drug companies, and I still believe that. They run health care in this country. The only way to get past that is with true, full government regulation.

Socialization. Fair. Humane. Whatever you want to call it. That’s what we need. We need a not-for-profit system which has one goal and one goal alone: to keep people healthy and provide for an equitable quality of life for all Americans.

I commend President Obama for trying to push through the public option. I really do.

The problem is that’s not what I voted for. Someone rightly referred to Obama’s support of the single-payer system in the past. A system that he wrote extensively about. I voted for that.

At the same time, I fully support progress. I think a public option is an excellent step in the right direction.

An excellent first step.

I just don’t think we should rest until a universal plan is the final step and all people are cared for exactly the same way.

You should not be able to use money to make your physical quality of living better simply because capitalism says you can.

We need to stop. It’s enough that education and jobs and opportunities are determined by wealth. More than enough. And conservatives should rest in that knowledge.

But, I say no. You cannot, must not continue to make health care something that can be bought.

Your life is no more precious than mine.