MFA and COVID19 Update – April 3, 2022
By Dr. Bill Honigman, Healthcare Human Rights, Coordinator – Progressive Democrats of America
COVID & MFA REALITY CHECK
980,030 Total COVID19 deaths in US to date*
392,012 US COVID19 deaths prevented with MFA**
This week, world new cases of #COVID19 and the #Omicron variant continued to decline in some areas, most notably, the U.S., India, Brazil, and Russia, but continued increasing in others like France and Germany, and now at least showed some leveling in the U.K. and Italy. Global deaths have now surpassed 6.16 million, and some 58.7% of the world’s population is thought to be currently fully vaccinated, although still much lower numbers are protected in the poorer global south.
Meanwhile, the United States overall vaccination rate has stagnated at roughly 66% of our population, while other countries have progressed in their numbers. This has resulted in our falling yet further behind in world ranking, down to #63 this week, just behind El Salvador, and just ahead of Sri Lanka. And Alabama still holds the “worst state” status for vaccinations in the U.S. sadly at just 50.7%, which is now a full eight percentage points less than the world average. Not exactly something for Alabamians to be proud of, is it?
The United States, now a full two years into this pandemic, remains the world leader in confirmed COVID19 deaths, with now 980,030 total COVID deaths to date. And, as we have been following here, that means an estimated 392,012 of those in the US who have died from COVID19 would still be alive today if we had a #SinglePayer expanded and improved #MedicareForAll (MFA) system of #UniversalHealthcare in this country.
And that’s about 10,000 more preventable US COVID19 deaths since we looked at these numbers just one month ago. Or extrapolated out to yet another year’s time, that would be another 120,000 unwitting victims per year, of what amounts to purely political will in this country, that we don’t have a system of Universal Healthcare, where ALL of the people get ALL of the care, like we will have under MFA, once it is finally passed and implemented.
And just to remind all who are here, although admittedly you all might not need reminding, that means that still in this pandemic or in the next pandemic, which most certainly is headed our way due to rising global temperatures, that under MFA we will have proactive universal viral testing, where census takers, or social workers as they are called in Cuba or South Korea, can go door-to-door, offer routine and repeated testing to all symptomatic and asymptomatic occupants alike, and then universally contact trace any positive results, thanks to simplified and unified medical record keeping.
And, under Medicare for All, we can certainly offer not only universal vaccinations, but also universal anti-viral treatments, as complete for Amazon workers or for Disney resort hospitality workers as any treatment would be for the current White House occupants or staffers.
And just as importantly, to prevent those COVID19 deaths, MFA will provide comprehensive care for all medical conditions, like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, obesity, and asthma, that put us all at risk of worse outcomes from the SARS virus, or any other potentially devastating infectious disease, or yet-to-come environmental toxin, which is especially true for our underserved and overexposed BIPOC sisters and brothers in this country.
Sadly, this is exactly why the U.S. has performed and continues to perform so poorly in this global public health emergency. And sadly, the solution to this lack of initiative and resolve, continues to be shunned from public discourse.
This week, very notably at least to us, showed one of the strongest demonstrations of resolve by progressives in the U.S. House of Representatives, with a hearing in the Committee on Oversight and Reform in which member champions along with patients and Healthcare experts testified, one after the next, as to both the incredible life-saving and tremendous cost-saving benefits of MFA. Yet how much of that escaped the echo chamber of us advocates and activists?
This week, Congress is once again being led by corporate Dems and the entirety of the Republican delegation who refuse to fund continued pandemic relief, let alone entertain solutions that will help us climb out of the hole we have dug ourselves into, such as simply lowering drug costs and lowering Medicare and Medicaid eligibility requirements.
And this week, despite efforts on the part of Healthcare Justice and human rights advocacy groups working to have the Biden administration finally undo Trump policies such as the involuntary assignment of seniors to predatory priced Medicare Advantage programs, formerly called Direct Contracting Entities now called ACO REACH, and a move to finally lift the Title 42 application to immigrants and asylees that had been unjustly applied by Trump officials to those seeking entry at the southern border but not elsewhere in the country, despite all of this, interest in this critical issue and ratings as we approach the midterm elections is waning. CNN reported just yesterday on a recent Gallup poll that found that “only 3% of Americans now say that the coronavirus or diseases are the top problem facing the country.”
Unbelievable, really. And that’s just where the autocrats, oligarchs, and kleptocrats want us to be.
So, in light of that fact, what now must be done to elevate the voices of the victims still being claimed, and bring justice to the many over the interests of the powerful few? Who can articulate and motivate the electorate beyond these paltry poll numbers, to see that hundreds of thousands are still dying and suffering unnecessarily, and turn out the vote to address these existential threats of health, climate, poverty, racism, war, and political corruption? And what can every one of us, in our own way, do to help make that happen?
Well, the struggle continues.