Recognize healthcare as a human right – make it universal and free

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Of all the disappointments of President Obama’s three years in office, healthcare “reform” is one of the biggest letdowns for those who hoped for real change. Millions of people, including members of hospital worker unions, backed Obama because they expected him to make good on the promise of affordable healthcare for all.

The Great Recession made the issue of healthcare access a desperate one for hard-hit working people abandoned by the government. “Public hospitals like mine are supposed to be the safety net for people who can’t afford medical care and have no insurance,” says Dr. Susan Williams, a Durham/López supporter, senior gastroenterologist at the highly respected Metropolitan Hospital in Harlem in New York City, and delegate for Doctors Council Local 10MD, SEIU. “But our hospitals have had cut after cut, at the same time that more people than ever are unemployed and uninsured.”

Instead of stepping up to the plate and acknowledging that public healthcare is a need as great as public education, however, Obama made one concession after another to the pharmaceutical and insurance mega- corporations. As he restated in his February State of the Union address, his Affordable Care Act does not give the government the role of guaranteeing universal care; instead, it “relies on a reformed private market.” By mandating individual coverage with no control of outrageous and continually rising medical costs, the legislation delivers yet another windfall to private enterprise.

Freedom Socialist Party (FSP) vice-presidential candidate Christina López, 43, a feminist organizer and reproductive rights advocate in Seattle, also slams the new healthcare program for what she calls Obama’s “sellouts of the human rights of women and immigrants under corporate and right-wing pressure.” The program excludes undocumented immigrants, restricts the access of “legal” immigrants, and reaffirms the denial of federal funding for abortion.

Along with many, many other supporters of reproductive rights, López and her presidential running mate, Stephen Durham, are bitterly opposed to Obama’s latest compromise with the religious right, which proposes to exempt employers with religious affiliations from providing coverage for birth control.

According to Durham, 64, the FSP’s organizer in New York City, “On the basis of both human rights and economic justice, the healthcare system needs more than tinkering. It needs a complete overhaul. The only way to ensure that everyone receives quality care is to get the greedy private insurers out of the picture all together.”

Baltimore-area neurologist Dr. Steven Strauss, another backer of the Durham/López campaign, is a widely published author and speaker on topics ranging from dyslexia to the harmful “medicalization” of education through things such as student stimulant use. Asserts Strauss, “No one should be making a profit from providing – or, more to the point, denying – the medical care that should be treated as a basic human right. But insurance and drug companies are among the biggest money-makers in the nation, amassing billions each year from people’s suffering.”

FSP’s electoral platform calls for free medical care for all U.S. residents, regardless of immigration status, and including reproductive services, abortion, and comprehensive care for those with disabilities – paid for by taxing corporations and the very wealthy and the redirection of military spending to human needs.

The popular single-payer option, or “Medicare for all,” would certainly be a strong step in the right direction. But to fully implement recognition of medical care as a basic human right, profiteering must be taken completely out of the equation by nationalizing the entire industry, including pharmaceuticals, medical supply companies, and hospitals, with control given to healthcare workers in collaboration with users. This is the “un-millionaire” solution for the healthcare crisis.


Write in Durham & López
Freedom Socialist 2012 Presidential Campaign Committee
4710 University Way NE, Ste. 100, Seattle, WA 98105, 206-985-4621

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