One thing the crash of the economy taught us is just how bound together our economic lives are. Single-payer health will reveal to us just how much our collective health binds us together as well. We know that uninsured people get sicker and we ultimately pay the cost of their care but our hospital bills and insurance statements make that cost hard to see. We know that people who can’t afford healthy food or are exposed to the most pollutants and toxins get sicker too. Again, we pay the cost but we can’t clearly see what it is.
When we are all in the same boat, there will be far more pressure brought to bear to prevent illness in order to keep costs down. I wonder if that is why powerful interests are so opposed to single-payer health? They know that ultimately, Americans will put their foot down about air pollution (asthma), access to healthy food (diabetes & heart disease), toxins in our personal care products and home goods (cancer, endocrine disorders), etc. With healthier people comes less profit for pharmaceuticals that are often owned by the same people putting chemicals in our food and products. People who get rich from the status quo do not want change.
I look forward to the day when people I know aren’t living in fear of getting sick, living with painful, chronic conditions that go untreated due to lack of insurance. I look forward to watching people dare to innovate and start their own businesses because they aren’t tied to a particular employer in order to have health insurance. I look forward to seeing resources that are currently sucked into health care being deployed in other ways in our economy. Will it be perfect? Of course not. But it will be much better than what we have now.