Pre-Collegiate Global Health Review
759,000 Americans Dead. Who is to Blame?
Updated: Dec 11, 2021
Liam Dekel, Zurich International School, Zurich, Switzerland
Seven hundred and fifty nine thousand people (Elflein, 2021). Friends, family, and strangers all over the United States have died from COVID-19. One can blame many things, but personally, I blame America’s horrible healthcare system that supports the rich and drives a double-decker bus over the poor. In a time when people are coming back together while COVID is still running rampant, what we need is a secure healthcare system that can protect our families and friends.
To the people who don’t know what the American healthcare system looks like right now, let me give you a rundown. Over 30 million Americans in the United States are not insured, and millions more are under-insured (Stasha, 2021). This means that people are postponing healthcare, and when they do have an emergency they can’t pay. This not only affects them, but it affects the insured population as well because this adds to our insurance premiums. What do we need to fix this crisis of the uninsured Americans? Universal healthcare.
Universal healthcare isn’t a new idea; it was first used in Germany in the 19th century (Palmer, 1999) and since then has spread around the world. For some reason, however, America has strayed away from universal healthcare for years. One reason is that Conservative politicians have convinced many Americans that free healthcare is the first step to socialism, and as Paul Krugman, an economist that has taught at Yale, M.I.T, and Stanford, said, “...today’s Republicans hate the idea of poor and working-class Americans getting the health care they need” (Krugman, 2019). Recently, it has been brought back into the spotlight by Obama with Obamacare, and even Trump with his Trumpcare, which has been called a “‘Garbage’ Health Insurance” by Jeremy Merill, a Washington Post journalist (Merill, 2020).
The American Dream. A dream that most Americans have woken up from and Conservative politicians use to make poor Americans support the rich. By pushing the American dream onto the typical American, Conservatives make them believe that one day they will be rich as well. And when liberals want to tax the rich, working class, Americans push back because one day they’re going to be rich and won’t want to be taxed! Which brings us to the critics of universal healthcare's biggest argument: won’t my taxes go up? No! If anything, healthcare for all would make the average American more money!
You ask, how will universal healthcare save you money? Well, sit down and let me tell you. Currently, the average American’s employer takes 15,000 dollars out of their employee’s paycheck to pay for healthcare. Yet, if we had universal healthcare, it is predicted that the average American making 50,000 dollars now would take those 15,000 dollars home, adding a 15% increase to their paycheck. Yet, they would be expected to pay a six percent income tax which would go towards universal health care (Saez and Zucman, 2019). Hence, critics of universal healthcare are correct that you would pay more taxes — but they seem to forget that you would still be making more money than with private insurance.
Maybe I have been a bit harsh on Conservatives' views on free healthcare in this article, but it is important to note that not all Conservatives are against this ‘socialist’ human right. For example, Mike Cernovich, a prominent alt-right internet “troll,” is a supporter; he said on 60 Minutes, “...if you have a lot of people, [of a] country … suffering, then I think that we owe it to all Americans to do right by them and to help them out.” Even Trump’s friend and Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy has endorsed universal healthcare (Matthews, 2017). Trump has even supported universal healthcare in the past saying, “Everybody's got to be covered … I am going to take care of everybody. I don't care if it costs me votes or not” (Baker, 2018).
After almost two years in various states of isolation, America is slowly opening up. With that being said, Americans are going to come into contact with more germs and diseases while working at the office or going to school. Americans will need to go to the already-packed hospitals and pay handsomely if they don’t have healthcare. That’s why it’s up to politicians and the people of America to stand against the privatized healthcare system of America and push for universal healthcare. Now, if you still don’t believe in free healthcare, you’re going to have to pay out of pocket to get your head checked.
Baker, Sam. “Trump Slams ‘Universal Health Care," Which He Once Praised.” Axios, 5 Feb. 2018, https://www.axios.com/trump-universal-health-care-single-payer-united-kingdom-6c19909c-9c55-4bd9-9f67-9542412277a3.html
Davis, C. (2020, April 18). Ambulance. Flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/146321178@N05/49798624783/in/photolist-2iSwYc2-2i7x8xa-cgrVh7-YnbGRB-cgrVeS-YtoktD-2ixZp8a-23tLofW-Z2QCtJ-2jexETq-HRS7US-5edCtN-qHVaYE-Trmm4C-2hbjKeJ-EEDKdR-9tfRZF-2fuZmmq-2fuZmiQ-2fuZmbA-4MhWXS-5D17b2-2fuZmoE-Trmm7o-2fuZmgA-KWoZbL-WgQ6F-28hZyge-58kgLZ-KoqH6j-imWTi-sYvaNB-PaSvgT-ugyC3q-8Ntydd-9Hoj1-Q15pE1-7izzAX-cKJJmw-2erv8LR-4T8sw7-p26KL2-A2fhSR-xJ7Ki1-8cUmBK-58khex-NzHAmo-58kh74-5hLctV-cfbfow
Elflein, John. “U.S. Covid-19 Cases and Deaths.” Statista, 18 Nov. 2021, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1101932/coronavirus-covid19-cases-and-deaths-number-us-americans
Jeremy B. Merrill, Marshall Allen. “‘Trumpcare’ Does Not Exist. Nevertheless Facebook and Google Cash in on Misleading Ads for ‘Garbage’ Health Insurance.” ProPublica, ProPublica, 20 Oct. 2020, https://www.propublica.org/article/trumpcare-does-not-exist-nevertheless-facebook-and-google-cash-in-on-misleading-ads-for-garbage-health-insurance
Krugman, Paul. “Republicans Really Hate Health Care.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 26 Mar. 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/26/opinion/republicans-really-hate-healthcare.html
“Make No Mistake: Medicare for All Would Cut Taxes for Most Americans | Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 25 Oct. 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/oct/25/medicare-for-all-taxes-saez-zucman
Matthews, Dylan. “Why the Alt-Right Loves Single-Payer Health Care.” Vox, Vox, 4 Apr. 2017, https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/4/4/15164598/alt-right-single-payer-health-care-trump
Palmer, K.S. (1999) A Brief History: Universal Health Care Efforts in the US [Speech]. PNHP, https://pnhp.org/a-brief-history-universal-health-care-efforts-in-the-us/
Stasha, Smiljanic. “Uninsured Americans Stats and Facts 2021: Policy Advice.” PolicyAdvice, 27 June 2021, https://policyadvice.net/insurance/insights/how-many-uninsured-americans