"But private care provides options when the public system can't"
This is an open letter to an Andrew Yang supporter I stumbled upon on Reddit. You wrote the above as part of a larger comment on why Bernie Sanders and Medicare4All won't work. You broke my heart and made me cry, and you deserve a response. Pull up a chair.
I spend a lot of time conversing and arguing with Americans; I enjoy it. One thing that never ceases to outrage me is how casually and vociferously some Americans come out in defense of inequitable systems and unjust destruction. This happens all the time, whether I casually mention for instance murdered Iraqis, the environmentally devastated Niger delta, or the constant overthrow of other people's govenrments. Doesn't matter (but murdered Iraqis tend to inspire the most vitriol in response. Just for your FYI). Mr. Yang's fan, I found you on Reddit; your anonymous soul was lamenting the shortfalls of healthcare systems in countries with universal healthcare, forcefully arguing that people are turning to private healthcare and insurance to get better care faster because the system just doesn't work!
At this point, my eyes could have rolled to Saskatchewan and back. As a Canadian, I am well-acquainted with the two-tiered healthcare system and the arguments against universal healthcare that is allegedly unaffordable. You know why this exists? Because people with money would rather pay through the nose to get a faster procedure than do the work AND PAY THE TAXES to ensure the system improves for everyone. That's what private insurance is: a get-out-of-society's-ills quick card.
Supporter of Mr. Yang, you didn't literally say it, but you completely meant that someone with more money deserves better. Yeah, you did. Do you think Donald Trump deserves better healthcare than you? What if he was forced to participate in the same system as you? He would be in a hell of a hurry to fix healthcare, wouldn't you say? And the great news is that this applies to so many other things too! If the Bushes and the Clintons and the Obamas had to send their children to public schools offering the same education that the poorest children in Baltimore and Chicago receive, would public education in America transform rather quickly? If Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi had to drink Flint's water on the regular, you suppose they'd find the time and money to show up and solve the problem?
You know why they don't? Because *you* have accepted that anyone can check out on society if they have money. Son, this is a problem! They won't tell you this, but I will because I care: you have internalized that *you* deserve shit, and *they* think you deserve shit too! They are banking on it, some would say. I know it, my cats know it, some of the people reading this know it, maybe some of your friends know it.
When an American tells me that "we tortured some folks" is okay with them, I clench my jaw to the point of pain. My clenching and tooth grinding as a reaction to stress has earned me the moniker Chainsaw, because I sound like one. Visualization exercises help me with this problem, and I believe it will help you too, Supporter of Mr. Yang. The next time you imagine improving access to healthcare in America with privatization, visualize a little boy, let's say in Kentucky. He is small, blonde, bare-foot, corn-fed, and lives in a trailer with no electricity. His daddy and granddaddy worked in mines and both died from lung cancer, and this little boy is destined to work in the same mines, because that's all there is around his home. Now, picture a giant designer loafer, let's say Ferragamo loafer, dark brown, size 12, maybe a tassel, stepping out of the sky and stomping on our apple-cheeked boy. Pre-existing condition, stomp! The inhaler for his asthma is TOO EXPENSIVE to cover! Shareholders, stomp! How will shareholders make money off this kid getting treated? Keep visualizing this stomping until the giant loafer has ground our boy into a paste. Feels good, right? That kid should have arranged to be born a Trump, or a Bloomberg, or an Adelson. Fuck that kid for making poor choices!
That loafer isn't an HMO executive or a lobbyist. That loafer is you, Mr. Yang's Supporter, every time you come out chanting for a solution that enriches someone by stepping on someone else. It's so insidious because you really believe you have the best answer; is that who you are, Supporter of Mr. Yang? You are a shill for profiteering from misery, poverty, and death? (But your blue hats are so wholesome!) Who is going to bat for our Kentucky boy and the other millions of poor and impoverished children in your country? Would that be you and Mr. Yang, or would that be the army of lobbyists they secured to speak on their behalf? (I know, right? Those dumb wiener kids probably don't even know what a lobbyist is; way to not know how to get things done, kids!) Keep visualizing, supporter of Mr. Yang; you are standing over what remains of our Kentucky boy. He looks like a placenta. Tell the placenta what you told me and the rest of Reddit: "but private care provides options when the public system can't." Your heart beat faster with joy, right? Because you just schooled that kid!
Ugh, Le Frog, why u so mean?
Because I am tired of listening to so many Americans pretending that it's impossible to do the right thing when it isn't and not calling it out for the bullshit it is. Mama Frog told me that doing the right thing is sometimes difficult and tedious and uncomfortable, but we don't solve problems by doing what is easiest. It it would be super-easy for me to rip open a bag of Cheetos and emotionally eat my way through my annoyance with you, Supporter of Mr. Yang; I'm almost certain that you will never read this and, if by some chance you do, I'd probably be in the right ballpark if I thought you cared at the rat's ass level. Instead, I appeal to the tentative supporters who are reading about and getting on board with half-measures and incremental change. Only people who want you to think a shit system can't be changed will tell you that. Do not listen. I hope that I have challenged you to think about what you are saying and what you are actually supporting if you get behind Mr. Yang's position on healthcare, or for that matter, anyone who isn't going full throttle on policy positions that work for everyone. Last time I checked (recently, maybe last week), Mr. Yang was using "Medicare for All" language but is nowhere near clearly committing to a public option or an equitable, just system of healthcare. So many platitudes come to mind about loving thy neighbour and first they came for poor children but I didn't say anything and all the rest of that yadda yadda jazz, right? That's commie-adjacent talk, Le Frog! That doesn't work in America! No, friends, no. You are better than that. Call that bullshit out and have the painful but honest conversation about who loses in a private healthcare system. And speaking of bullshit, so is Mr. Yang's promise as a leader; he's running on at best misrepresentation but at worst, and most likely, on lies. You all deserve better than that.
Okay, so, my work here is done for the evening. I was thinking maybe next time, we can talk about the poor Bangladeshi children disproportionately suffering due to climate change or the Iraqi orphans created by America.