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Richard McGowan: Let COVID-19 mobilize us to demand single-payer health care

Richard McGowan: Let COVID-19 mobilize us to demand single-payer health care

Dear Editor: Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis and VIP medical treatment with a cocktail of antiviral drugs, including an experimental monoclonal antibody, serves as the latest glaring example of the gross inequality in health care we experience in the U.S. The president’s idiotic boosterism aside, having called the unproven treatment he received “ a cure,” it remains an unjust reality that the extremely wealthy such as him are able to utilize our for-profit health system and get timely access to potentially life-saving drugs without facing the prohibitively high costs millions do if they fall ill. Elites like Trump have not had to worry about being tested, the threat of medical bankruptcy, or endangering their livelihoods as millions have during this pandemic.

COVID-19 has infected and killed disproportionately minorities, immigrants and the poor, and by doing so more clearly exposed the fault lines of American inequality. These realities call for a mass people’s mobilization: to demand our politicians from both parties embrace and then enact single-payer health care, as envisioned in the Senate’s Medicare for All Act 2019. This would eliminate the cruel, nonsensical for-profit health care system that serves few well, except for insurance and pharmaceutical CEOS, and the same one that has also undermined our already fragmented public health system during the deadliest pandemic in a century.

Let this pandemic be the last straw where we declare that as a country we do not believe that the ability to receive medical care, or survive a deadly infection should be based on a tier system. COVID-19 represents the critical opportunity, to paraphrase Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, to acknowledge that we are not living in advanced society until the day health care is something we guarantee to everyone. It's time to demand it.

Richard McGowan


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