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William Larsen: Many already have governmental sponsored health care

William Larsen
Other Voices

First things first … a huge shout out to Natalie Ennis, the young woman with multiple sclerosis who runs the local support group.

Her story is a hero’s story, and Natalie represents the incredible heroism of the disabled population who find ways to redeem suffering into spiritual and psychological growth. And let’s not forget Diane Ennis, Natalie’s mom who is a paragon of steadfast love and support helping to make her daughter’s journey possible.

Now the fun stuff. Here we go again, wobbling toward another election cycle and all the lying, manipulation and subterfuge that go with it. Alas, such is the political bloodsport we call “democracy,” and in this era of high tech social media and fake news, democracy is an increasingly fragile process.

Cynical attempts to mislead public perception — from all sides, but most glaringly from the far right these days — are to be expected. They also must be recognized and rebuked if voters are to have accurate information by which to make informed decisions.

So, if you really don’t want government-sponsored health insurance, are you willing to cancel your Medicare coverage?

One prominent issue in the forefront of this contentious onslaught is that of the dreaded “social democrat.” Red-baiting goes back several decades, coinciding, unsurprisingly, with the rise of the workers’ movement for fair wages and safe working conditions. As with nearly everything distorted into “fake news” by the radical right and their misguided followers, we are led to believe there is an inherent contradiction between capitalist development and social justice. But that belief is nonsense, and wholly inconsistent with the factual reality of our society.

The boogeyman here, of course, is health care. Do we continue a system of for-profit insurance and health care providers, or create a method that addresses the medical needs of all our people? Hmmm, Commie vs. free enterprise. Sounds simple enough, right? And there’s no doubt where “we” stand since we in the USA support a total free market health care because it is the “American Way.” Right?

Are you sure?

So let’s look at some facts, but be forewarned. Those of you intent on keeping our country away from “socialized medicine” might be in for a shock. Consider these facts regarding how Americans currently receive health care:

44 million of our citizens are currently receiving medical care through MediCare.

9.4 million individuals (including 1.3 million armed forces personnel and their families) receive subsidized health care through the military Tri Care program, administered by the Defense Health Agency.

74 million Americans receive health care through MediCaid.

Two million federal workers (and retirees) receive government-sponsored health insurance through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

Add in the number of retired senators, Congress folks and prisoners receiving socialized medicine and the total grows. The reality here is clear. The majority of Americans depend, wholly or in part, on governmental-sponsored health care. If not, “we” would be in the same perilous position as our 28 million neighbors who lack health insurance.

So, if you really don’t want government-sponsored health insurance, are you willing to cancel your Medicare coverage? Deny health care to our service men and women? Deny treatment to every ill citizen (and their children) who cannot afford private medical care?

Donald Trump now says after his re-election he’ll present his plan to replace Obamacare, which greatly reduced the number of uninsured Americans. I hope the American public can see through the deliberate attempt by the far right to mislead the voting constituency. But again, be forewarned because this kind of fake news is exactly what the far right will be inundating your mail boxes, answering machines and news sources with from here on.

Before federal regulations, workers had legal standing barely above that of livestock. For sure, “capitalism” is the economic engine that has generated our unparalleled wealth. But not capitalism alone.

The great American middle class was built on the twin pillars of private ingenuity and public support for individuals and communities in need. Those seeking to strip the majority of Americans from the most basic rights, seeking to maximize private wealth in the pockets of the few, desecrate both the Constitution and the core promise of “The American Dream.”

There are those who say that “all’s fair in love and war.” Maybe, but in a democratic system we need to find common ground on which both the mega-wealthy and the rest of us can stand.

If not, we simply do not have the means by which the process of democracy can succeed.

William Larsen lives in Nevada City.


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