The importance of universal healthcare, and why the government is against it

Credit: Flickr

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe, important issues like universal healthcare and universal basic income are being taken more seriously. More and more people are being forced to stay home and not go to work and as such have no access to funding to buy things like food, water or the all-important toilet paper.

This disease is reinforcing the necessities of plans from people like Bernie Sanders or Andrew Yang, and all it took was a pandemic to see how badly we need them.

When the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, people flocked to clinics all over the province to get tested for coronavirus. The citizens of Wuhan could do this partially because China, like most other countries across the world, guarantees healthcare as a human right. You can’t speak out against the government or even speak ill of them online, but if you’ve got a sore throat, then feel free to head to a clinic.

In America, if you were to try and get tested for COVID-19, you’d have to pay for it. That being said, a press release last week did confirm that insurance companies would begin to cover the cost of getting tested, but that’s only for COVID-19, not any of the numerous other diseases and conditions that Americans have to deal with.

For example, if someone was a diabetic, insulin costs about $30 a vial in Canada; here in the U.S., that price is closer to $300. Wildly inflated prices come from the fact that the American government does not regulate insurance and pharmaceutical companies like the rest of the world does, and as such, they can charge whatever prices they want as long as it’s something people need.

Thankfully, COVID-19 is giving the United States a monkey’s paw wish by starting serious conversation at the cost of human lives. Universal healthcare is not a perfect plan by any means. The age-old question of price comes up often and rightfully so. It’s going to cost a lot of money to cover every citizen in America. The only way Bernie Sanders can justify the cost is several different long-term plans that will eventually drum up the money necessary for universal health care. It would take time, but Bernie wants to make sure that the process impacts people in the smallest way possible.

In the middle of Americans having an important conversation about healthcare and universal basic income, in the middle of everyone beginning to come together and make some decisions, the U.S. government drops 1.5 trillion dollars into the stock market, only for it to immediately get shredded by the continued drop in stock prices. Evidently, money is not the issue.

What is probably the real issue is that pharmaceutical companies spent 3.4 billion dollars on lobbying for congress. If the healthcare market switches over to being controlled by the government, its profits will certainly take a hit from being forced to operate at reasonable prices.

It’s sickening how so many people are suffering across America from not just COVID-19, but so many other diseases and conditions that could be prevented or alleviated by a simple trip to the doctor. People shouldn’t have to pay money to keep themselves alive, and hopefully, that will become law in the near future.