Last fall I met a retired couple living nearby in an RV. Their daughter had contracted a debilitating disease requiring costly treatments. Although they had health care insurance, their daughter did not.
Out-of-pocket expenses devoured their savings, their possessions, and finally, their home. Care for the daughter was available, but their insurance company would not approve it, and she passed away. In addition to their deep grief and dire financial suffering, the couple carried a sense of guilt, as if they had failed their child.
A uniquely American scenario.
In America, 62% of bankruptcies are due to medical bills. Over one million Americans go medically bankrupt each year, stacking financial ruin on top of suffering an often life-threatening illness.
These days we hear hard-hearted political discourse designed to protect corporate profiteers and no one else. Well-funded think tanks pump out anger-stoking messages against “socialist” medical policy, pretending that caring for “the least of these” – what Jesus stood for – is a bad thing. Many uninformed voters, understandably angry at poor health care, are ready to blame someone. This think tank propaganda fools some voters into actually believing that we’re not all “the least of these.”
All other developed countries love their universal healthcare. In 2004, Canada overwhelmingly voted Tommy Douglas, the originator of Canada’s universal health care system, to be “The Greatest Canadian”.
America can also have a health care system that covers everyone. By removing the profit motive from health care, National Improved Medicare for All will cover us all and for less than we’re paying now.