Divide and Conquer vs Single Payer Now

Alabama GOP congressman Mo Brooks said that people who make “good choices” deserve better healthcare, thus framing the sick as morally inferior, as culpable. It’s not a new argument.

“It will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool that helps offset all these costs, thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, they’ve done the things to keep their bodies healthy.”

The natural retort will be to hold up other members of the worthy sick, people struck with cancer in infancy or wounded by the actions of others. My first instinct was to talk about my son, who is not sick, but whose pre-existing condition (Down syndrome) happened when his cells divided in the first moments after conception, copying an extra copy of a chromosome into each new cell.

But the GOP is ready for this. Their messaging on health, disability, and poverty is to divide the worthy from the unworthy. To say to me – oh we’re gonna take care of your son, we’re just going to divide out the fraudsters. We’re going to take care of the “good poor,” but not “those people.” 

And for many, it will work. We have seen this around social security, medicare, medicaid, welfare, and so much more. Americans are far too willing to believe that they deserve the government supports they would deny to the less deserving. To signal our virtue, rather than espouse a philosophy of universal support and basic human rights.

We cannot play the GOP game of determining who is and isn’t worthy. A just society provides healthcare to all.

Single payer now.

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