A Liberal Is a Conservative Who Has Been Sneezed on

For those who don’t get the reference (you whippersnappers with your avocado toast!), it refers to the old saw “a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged.” Anyway, it appears some conservatives are loving themselves some ‘socialism‘ (boldface mine):

The White House is reportedly considering a plan in which uninsured (and under-insured) Americans infected with the coronavirus could receive medical care at nearby hospitals, and the facilities would be reimbursed at Medicare rates.

In effect, as we discussed earlier, Donald Trump and his team is eyeing something akin to a Medicare-for-All plan — but only for a little while, and only for those with a very specific ailment.

How would Republicans in Congress feel about such an approach? Evidently, plenty on the right are on board — including some of Capitol Hill’s fiercest opponents Democratic proposals to expand public access to taxpayer-subsidized care.

“You can look at it as socialized medicine,” Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) told HuffPost on Tuesday. “But in the face of an outbreak, a pandemic, what’s your options?” Yoho, one of the most anti-Obamacare lawmakers in Congress, said it would be a “wise thing” for the government to pay for testing and treatment of the uninsured, while also saying he’s “not OK with socialized medicine.”

The Florida Republican added that the pending proposal appears to meet the standards for “socialized medicine,” though added, “[H]opefully it’s not the long-term.”

Well until he finds out that influeza kills tens of thousands of people every year.

Move along, nothing to see here:

Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.), chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, said he hadn’t heard about the administration possibly covering coronavirus hospital costs, but he didn’t exactly sound opposed.

“I think a pandemic is a distinct issue from the overall health care proposals that have been on the table for a while,” Johnson said. “We have to put politics aside and address the problem.”

And another Republican, Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), also told HuffPost he would support extraordinary measures to stop the spread of the virus. “I mean, this is a crisis right now, so we got to respond in any way that’s going to fix the problem,” he said.

Fitzpatrick also agreed that the coronavirus was challenging some of the arguments for our current health care system. “No doubt about it,” Fitzpatrick said.

In a more serious vein, one reason why we don’t have universal healthcare is the belief that Republicans and many in the liberal Republican wing of the Democratic Party hold: certain people don’t deserve healthcare (they do differ on who those deserving people are). In a very reductionist sense, that works for heart attacks: your heart attack doesn’t affect my heart (ethics and morality aside…). But that breaks down when dealing with infectious disease. Pathogens don’t assign moral worth to hosts. Personally, while I’ve always wanted universal healthcare, nothing radicalized me to the extent that working in infectious diseases has. We can’t do the things we need to do or do them well without a universal system.

Universal healthcare that allows effective surveillance (billing codes and the balkanized system we have aren’t it)–and not just of COVID-19, but also of problems like antibiotic resistance–is essentially. In the U.S., the only remotely realistic path is Medicare for All. One can argue that some hybrid system of three different countries’ systems would be better, but, pundit fever dreams notwithstanding, something like that is not an option on the table.

We do need Medicare for All, and not just on a very limited emergency basis.

This entry was posted in Healthcare, Public Health, Viruses. Bookmark the permalink.

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