I am not going to get into the finger pointing around cuts to federal staffing against communicable diseases, cuts to budgets at the CDC, or the appointment of Vice President Pence as the lead in containing the coronavirus outbreak. [but I couldn’t resist getting snarky and opening with this!]

But let’s just get down to the facts around how this citizens of this country will act if the disease becomes widespread.

Over 27 million Americans don’t have health insurance coverage. What do they do if they think they are getting sick? Do they seek out medical assistance? Or do they avoid it because they can’t afford it? Or avoid it because they can’t afford to take off from work (since we don’t have guaranteed paid sick leave either) and they risk getting quarantined?

So 27 million Americans may be unwilling victims of the disease…and active carriers to boot.

And what about the additional 28 million who are under-insured? They are exactly in the same situation.

And certainly none of this second group of people will want to face the co-pays for doctor visits or deductibles or quarantines or missing work either.

So how many of this second group skip care…continue to work…and continue to suffer from the disease and spread it around their community.

But what if every American and comprehensive universal single payer health insurance? They could visit any doctor, clinic, or hospital and not take on any debt because all expenses would be paid for. The visit, lab tests, hospital stays, medications, etc. without cost to the patient. No one would be afraid to visit medical professionals for economic reasons (well except for that aforementioned sick leave issue).

Besides being the right thing for the individual, it would be the right thing for the nation! This is a perfect example of how comprehensive universal healthcare is a necessary investment for the nation.

But then today, the Trump regime, particularly the Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, said they couldn’t insure that when the coronavirus vaccine is available, well that it will be affordable. Even though the government is going to invest at least $1 billion in its development.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Wednesday declined to promise that a coronavirus vaccine would be affordable for all Americans. 

“We would want to ensure that we work to make it affordable, but we can’t control that price because we need the private sector to invest,” Azar told members of Congress during a hearing concerning the coronavirus outbreak and the administration’s budget request. “Price controls won’t get us there.”

Well: screw price controls, screw the private sector. The government should just pay to develop it, pay to manufacture it, and pay to distribute it. This would be another perfect example of universal coverage…but in fact this is a national defense issue.

And again if we had single payer insurance we wouldn’t even have to think about this. Everyone would just be eligible and would get it.

And when the vaccine is ready (in 12 to 18 months per the experts and a few weeks according to the president), I hope the president has a live press conference in the Oval Office and rolls up his/her sleeve and gets the first vaccination.

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