Opinion

(Maisie Plew/Daily Emerald

Corporate media is doing everything they can to quell discourse regarding a single-payer

healthcare system, calling it pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking because of cost and feasibility. A few

weeks ago, CNN’s Jake Tapper and his panel of pundits were obsessing over the fact that it

would cost around $32 trillion over the next ten years, but they never once mentioned that it

would save between $2 trillion and $5.1 trillion overall. This is a common theme across right-

wing and centrist corporate media outlets such as FOX, CNN and MSNBC.

Every other developed nation has some form of single-payer system in place for its citizens, and

our system continually ranks lower than theirs does by a wide margin. The trite and sometimes

pretentious reply of “how can we afford it?” is never asked when it comes to proposals such as

increased military spending, which the United States spends more than the next ten countries

combined, and most of them are our allies. Nobody asked how we would pay $1.06 trillion to

occupy Afghanistan for 18 years, where nobody can define what victory looks like, and more

terrorists occupy the region now than ever before.

Trump’s most recent annual raise of $80 billion to the military is enough to cover college tuition

for a year. The corporate tax rate is the lowest it’s been since before the Great Depression and

Trump just gave a $1.6 trillion tax cut to the top 1 percent, averaging out to an extra $61,000.

We can’t afford it because our government has been historically concerned with special

interests and maintaining economic hegemony.

Conservatives have been instilling fear of government-run healthcare for decades — even

though Obamacare was originally a right-wing idea — with Sarah Palin claiming back in 2009 that there would be death panels for the elderly and sick children. But this country already has

death panels, and they’ve been implemented by the avaricious health insurance companies.

Just before Obamacare was implemented, a Harvard study revealed that 32,000-45,000 people

die every year because they lack access to basic healthcare. That number is zero in other

developed countries because they ration care based on need, not how much money a person

has in their wallet. Despite the age of the study, things haven’t appeared to have gotten any

better, especially since the CBO estimated that 32 million Americans would lose their health

insurance by 2026 after Trump gutted Obamacare, which was originally a right-wing idea dating

back to the Nixon administration. Medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy. Nobody

should ever have to worry about dying or going broke because they don’t have enough pieces

of paper with dead guys on them.

A red herring that conservatives like to throw into the healthcare conversation is to accuse

those in favor of single-payer as being against the free market. I’m not against the free market

when it comes to consumer goods, I just don’t want the free market dictating the type of

healthcare I receive because the system puts profit over people. False comparisons have also

been made regarding auto insurance, forgetting the fact that many Americans don’t own

vehicles and will never need it. Republican Congressman Mo Brooks even went so far as to

blame those who get sick for not taking care of themselves. I guess those who have been

diagnosed with cancer should have been a little less myopic with their lifestyles.

Don’t be fooled by duplicitous republican and democratic politicians who say they support

everyone having access to affordable healthcare. The word “access” is political doublespeak

that favors the insurance companies. I have access to a Lamborghini, nobody is stopping me,

but I don’t have the money to actually buy one. “Affordable” is a subjective term in which the

meaning is different for everyone. Some people can afford to pay hundreds of dollars per

month to private insurers, but since half the country makes $30,000 a year or less and tens of

thousands die every year due to lack of access to basic care, it seems like “access to affordable

care” is the real pie in the sky.

Given these statistics, one would think that the mainstream media would give credence to the

idea of single-payer, but that’s not what they’re paid to do. The pharmaceutical industry

collectively pays corporate media outlets around $5 billion per year on advertisements because

single-payer would massively cut into their profits.

I’m aware that no healthcare system is perfect, but that’s no reason to reject single-payer

outright. Acknowledgement of our broken system is rampant among political pundits, but they

revert to the nirvana fallacy and anecdotes from other countries as a last-ditch effort to make

their case. The majority of the country supports single-payer, including 51 percent of republican

voters. It’s time to give the American people what they want, need, and deserve.


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