healthcare

A protester makes her thoughts known about the GOP healthcare plan.

We bought ourselves some time. For now. Kind of.

The barrage of noise doesn’t seem to end these days. I wouldn’t be surprised if decades from now there was a scientific report (those blasphemous things) that stated that people alive during the Trump presidency have brains that deteriorate faster due to higher levels of stress that have accumulated.

But I digress. I am a 31-year-old who is chronically ill from complications with a brain tumor. I have been in a wheelchair for 21 years, and have been following the healthcare saga closely.

Since the inception of the Affordable Care Act, I and many others around me have always thought of it as a first step. Obviously, the Affordable Care Act has things wrong with. I know people who can’t afford to even see the doctor, and if I had to pay the same high premiums — with all my visits — I’d be dead or homeless. No one is arguing that healthcare needs to change, but to simply repeal Obamacare with nothing to replace it, no definitive plan in place, is asinine. The 32 million that would be uninsured by 2026 according to the Congressional Budget Office — which is higher than the 22 million uninsured the CBO estimated if the Republican replacement of Obamacare was enacted — indicates this. Make no mistake about it, this is all a juvenile chest-thumping contest between Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer — and all that is at stake is the health of millions of Americans.

I do have Medicare and Medicaid, and, so far, they — along with my mother’s government health insurance — have covered everything I’ve needed over the years. I am willing to bet that those politicians on Capitol Hill, the ones pulling the strings on your financial security and physical well-being, have a robust healthcare plan like mine. We might not be the world-leader we thought we were, but we are the wealthiest, most medically advanced country in the history of the world. Yet we can’t provide our citizenry with healthcare that’s as good or better than other developed countries with strong healthcare systems?

It’s Time for a Single-Payer Healthcare System

The best development to come out of the recent healthcare debacle is awareness: awareness that Medicare and Medicaid are actually good programs that help a surprisingly large number of people. Similar to the pride the British have in their universal healthcare system, Medicare and Medicaid could be America’s symbols of humanity. That’s why America should move as quickly as possible to a single-payer healthcare system. Everyone knows our healthcare system is headed that way. Everyone has known since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act. Even the ill-informed electorate is cognizant to the reality of single-payer. For this reason, the political party that first embraces single-payer and implements it successfully will be the one that wins the hearts of the American people.

If everyone joins into the single-payer pool — young and old, healthy and sick — the expensive people like me will be set off by the cheaper, healthier people. And trust me, there is a gargantuan number of healthy people compared to the number of chronically ill people like me. America has one of the largest populations — the cost of single-payer is not a problem.

Opponents will also say that single-payer will never work because you could never suddenly shutdown the private insurance companies and all those jobs. That’s what they said about coal and coal factories. Tech-companies replaced a multitude of businesses in the ’00’s, and automations and Amazon are improving, spreading daily, yet no one seems to be concerned about the automated robot stacking consumer goods in a warehouse or how Alexa delivers the news. People have come to the realization that healthcare is a right, that financial profit should not even be in the same vicinity as healthcare, and — maybe, just maybe — this is one of those things that should be government-run.

Let us step back, look at this on a macro-level: the experiment that is America — which is going through a rocky time right now — is only 250 years old. European countries have had much longer than that to perfect their systems. In these socially progressive times when we have Black Lives Matter, gay marriage is a law, minorities have more of a voice than they ever have via the internet, and everyone is increasingly health-conscious, I am optimistic that everyone’s health will be taken care of instead of a select few. it’s up to the individuals of America, though, to make the right choice about the form of healthcare.

When you lose faith in Congress, as I have done many times, remember: this issue, healthcare — this one matters.

C.R. Reardon has been published in several literary journals, and had a screenplay that was a finalist at the Catalina Film Festival. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday he posts a poem from his four self-published books on his website, This Road I Roll.