"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.

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snoopydawg's picture

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.

We chose to go to the moon...and we can choose to give every American universal health care! As it says here, if congress and their masters had to rely on the same system we do they would have fixed it by now. That they haven't is telling us that we aren't worth it. BS! The same thing goes for all of the injustices listed here.

Ugh, Le Frog, why u so mean?

Not mean. Just tired of seeing our country doing and not doing what it should. I'm right there with you.

Great essay.

edit spelling

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28 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

i mean, look -- do you think those iraqis are just going to give us control of their oil? i mean, come on!

and also, if health care is free, then stupid sucky-babies will have no reason not to go to the doctor every time they have a boo-boo or a runny nose, and then I'll have to pay for it! is that fair? isn't it more fair that some other kid doesn't get his broken wrist looked at -- some kid whose parents don't have what it takes to earn enough money to deserve to have kids in the first place? I mean ... come on!

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17 users have voted.

The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

Not Henry Kissinger's picture

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.

Reminds me of this guy:

The enthusiasm with which people will argue against their own best interests can be truly astounding.

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22 users have voted.

Peace Sells

@Not Henry Kissinger
the canonical Python, but Palin's mad, cheery, irrepressible lunacy is my own preference.

I love the scene where he plays a beggar who's been put out of work because Jesus cured his infirmities. He expresses contempt for Brian's meagre charity, Brian says, "There's no pleasing some people," and Palin responds, "That's just what Jesus said!"

Absolutely brilliant.

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17 users have voted.

The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

Magnificent performance Mssr. Le Frog.

I have found a kindred spirit. I just don’t write for shit.

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19 users have voted.
Alligator Ed's picture

@vtcc73 I read this essay with awe because it is so well-written. Please, M. Le Frog, can you get me some of that vitriol, undiluted? It was delicious. Your essay brilliantly deflates the M4A--Except for. We may abbreviate these pseudo M4As with exceptions as M4A-X4

Glad you passed on the Cheetos. One in the White House is enough.

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18 users have voted.
Centaurea's picture

left out the most important part of their statement:

private care provides options to maximize profit to Big Insurance and Big Pharma when the public system can't won't, because that's not M4A's purpose.

I wonder if that Yang supporter understands this? How well do they understand how the healthcare industry works at present? And how much research and consideration have they given to viable alternatives? That includes looking at how healthcare operated in the 1950s to early 1980s, before Nixon's HMO Act went into full effect.

Yang presents himself as an original, visionary thinker. In fact, I gave him a donation in order to help him reach the debate stage, because I wanted new ideas, including his, to be discussed.

But that Yang supporter seems to be arguing for the status quo, thinking "inside the box". A definite lack of vision.

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15 users have voted.

"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

Cassiodorus's picture

"Choice" is a ridiculous concept when applied to health care. Did you choose your ailment? How are you supposed to "choose" between useful and useless health care -- they both are advertising to fetch your money, no?

I thought it was Buttigieg who was promoting "choice" in health care, though. Was it Yang? Or maybe both of them?

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20 users have voted.

"I was Zuckerberging people before Zuckerberg's balls dropped." -- the Devil, on "Rick and Morty"

We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.

--Louis D. Brandeis

Which wolf wins?
The one you feed.

--apocryphal fable

Thanks for this, Le Frog. Mad respect to you.

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19 users have voted.
Pluto's Republic's picture

...because intellectual honesty is the standard around here:

Yang: The health care of every American will be fully covered because health care is a human right.

Yang's goal, he said, is to "demonstrate to the American people that private insurance is not what you need" and that the Medicare plan is "superior to your current insurance." He would do that, he said, "without pulling the rug out from under you and saying that the insurance no longer exists."

He condemned the private insurance business model, saying it is "ratcheting up prices, year after year" and hurting families and businesses. But, he said, a majority of Americans are content with many aspects of their current coverage. "You can't completely upend an existing system that tens of millions of Americans rely upon, in my view," he said.

Proponents of Medicare for All want to create a single, government-run health insurance program. Yang echoed other Democratic candidates and said he regards health care as a basic human right, and that under his plan every American would have coverage.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/03/politics/andrew-yang-medicare-for-all-pri...

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2 users have voted.

The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
– Albert Camus
TheOtherMaven's picture

@Pluto's Republic
Doesn't sound like it to me. "Covered" is just paper.Actually being able to afford care is the real deal.

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3 users have voted.

There is no justice. There can be no peace.

Pluto's Republic's picture

@TheOtherMaven

...instead of... what's the word? Health care on demand?

He intends to implement Medicare for All immediately, following a much easier path. The difference in his strategy is that he is not going to outlaw private insurance right away. He is going to let people see how M4A is far superior and let them transition into it as jobs are lost or employers cut back on their insurance perks. The individual insurance market will naturally transition right away to M4A. Commercial insurance cannot begin to compete with the quality and costs of M4A. Employer health insurance, with co-pays and deductible and narrow networks and shared premiums, might not look as attractive as a higher salary would. Yang expects that market to dry up in a few years. Single payer health care is key to Yang's platform.

The American people pick up the entire tab spent on health care right now. Last year, the people paid in full $3.5 trillion or $10,739 per person. That covers the multimillion dollar salaries of the private insurance executives and the enormous waste of their business model. That covers the enormous waste in doctor's office overhead in order to be reimbursed by insurers, and it covers the enormous waste in hospitals and other providers to satisfy the arcane intricacies of billing the insurance corporations.

When that $3.5 trillion is cut in half, which the American people will pay in full — it will be a much lighter financial load than they currently carry. It will be in line with what other developed nations pay for excellent care. As it stands, Americans are asset-stripped $1.5 trillion yearly above the normal costs of health care. What kind of leadership would allow that to happen?

Actually being able to afford care is the real deal.

The Americans who join M4A do not need to "afford" health care. They just need to go to the doctor. The people who remain on their employer's health care plan, which have been trending much less generous and more costly to use year over year, are the people who need to think about what they can afford.

Basically, Yang plans to finesse the transition. The entire nation will settle into national health care soon enough, without the hysteria and resentment and calls for a violent revolution.

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0 users have voted.

The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
– Albert Camus