FROM THE LEFT
by Marvin Jacobson
Crisis shows need for universal health care
Every crisis we have had in the world has brought about huge changes to our cultures. Mainly because they exposed weaknesses in the way we lived and how we were governed. The early plaques exposed our weaknesses in our sanitation systems and brought about huge changes to the systems.
The Civil War our largest internal crisis we ever experienced did not provide the desired changes, due to the untimely death of President Abraham Lincoln. It did give us Amendments 13, 14, and 15, which outlawed slavery, made slaves citizens, and gave them the right to vote. The slave patrols and slave codes were replaced by the KKK and Jim Crow laws, which gave us a century of ugly history.
The “Robber Baron Era” of the late 1800s, created msonopolie and moved wealth to the 1 percent, was corrected by the government with anti-trust laws and more regulation of business. The monopolies of that period pale in comparison to the monopolies of today, like Amazon.
The “Roaring Twenties” with the laissez faire philosophy of no regulation of business brought us our worst economic crisis, the Great Depression. The changes it brought are too numerous to state in a column, it would require a book. The Social Security Act of 1935 is the center piece of reforms taken.
World War II, a crisis, thrust upon us by outside forces tested our resolve of how to win this war. Our actions and leadership made America the world leader. It was America’s finest hour, it created the “Greatest Generation” includes more than those who stormed the beaches of Normandy, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. It includes everyone who served, worked in our plants, accepted restrictions on travel and rationing.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought awareness of how to prevent the spread of the virus. Simple precautions, like not shaking hands, washing your hands, wearing face masks and social distancing will become part of our virus prevention for the future.
The weaknesses of our employer-based health care system were exposed in the COVID-19 pandemic. The first flaw exposed was when people lost their job their health care coverage was also gone. Imagine the fear it can create in individuals during a pandemic. Employer based coverage does not provide the security, universal health care coverage does.
Employer based health care is a product of world war II when wages were frozen. Companies got around the wage freeze by offering free health care to attract new employees.
The health care coverage provided by companies is not completely paid for by the companies. First, they receive a huge tax break for the money they spent on providing coverage for their employees. So, taxpayers are paying a huge part of the insurance provided by companies. The rest of the cost of the insurance for companies is passed on to the consumer of the product. Instead of paying taxes for universal health care. we pay a higher price for the products we buy. What a huge burden we place on our companies large and small when we ask them to provide health care for their employees. We put our companies at a huge disadvantage in world trade, when we are the only nation that places this burden on our companies. And we wonder why manufacturing jobs have moved to other nations without this yoke on their neck.
We the taxpayers already provide health insurance coverage for a huge segment of our population. We provide health care for all who work in our educational system. We cover every one that works in government on the local, city, state, and national levels.
We cover all those over 65 years old with Medicare, those under 65 unable to work with Medicaid. We provide health care for our veterans and we help people with ObamaCare. We the taxpayers wind up paying for the health care of those without coverage, with the most expensive health care there is, emergency room care, Like all great changes made after a crisis, it will require bold leadership to change our obsolete health care system. Universal health care for all would be a godsend for newspapers and small businesses. Why would any business oppose having every employee come in with health insurance?
We the voters have the ball in our court and with our vote we can start the transition to a system that covers everyone and removes the burden from our employers.
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