Summary: President Biden yesterday gave a critically important speech on the need to fight MAGA Republican efforts to destroy US democracy. Our health care system is similarly in need of improved alignment with democratic principles, achievable by adopting single payer.
“Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.”
“The Republican Party today is dominated, driven, and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans, and that is a threat to this country.”
“The soul of America is defined by the sacred proposition that all are created equal in the image of God. That all are entitled to be treated with decency, dignity, and respect. That all deserve justice and a shot at lives of prosperity and consequence. And that democracy…must be defended, for democracy makes all these things possible. Folks, it’s up to us.”
By Jim Kahn, M.D., M.P.H.
Last night, President Biden delivered a powerful and much-needed speech about preserving US democracy. Standing in front of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, arguably the birthplace of modern democracy, he forcefully called out MAGA Republicans for their attempts to replace loyalty to our republic and its rules of fair play with lies, manipulations, and violence in pursuit of absolute power, outside of the historic to-and-fro of our political parties. He publicly emphasized, for the first time, that his hopes of bipartisan cooperation have been dashed by the new Republican party’s “semi-fascism” (a term he used recently, not in the speech). We should be deeply grateful for his (finally) saying in this high-profile way what many historians and observers have long noted: Trump and his followers threaten to destroy our democracy. A functioning democracy is essential as we strive in the US for greater humanity and equity.
However, as I listened, I did wonder how the same words would apply to achieving an admirable, highly democracy-compatible US health care system. Here’s my adaptation:
“Our reliance on private insurers and price-gauging drug companies represents an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our health system.”
“The health sector today is dominated, driven, and intimidated by profiteers, and that is a threat to our medical care and our well-being.”
“The soul of America’s health care is defined by the sacred proposition that all deserve quality health care without financial burden. That all patients are entitled to be treated promptly, respectfully, and with clinical focus, undistracted by burdensome insurance rules or lack of insurance. That all deserve a shot at lives of excellent health and long duration. And that universal health system … must be defended, for covering everyone and removing excess profits make all these things possible. Folks, it’s up to us.”
Universal single payer health insurance, favoring people over profits, is well-aligned with the laudable democracy-preserving exhortations of President Biden. Let’s adopt it to enhance our personal and democratic well-being!