The following statement was issued Aug. 9, by Lisa Potash, Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor of Atlanta.
Thousands of working people — and their pets — turned out to stand in long lines at the weeklong military-run free medical fair in Hayesville, North Carolina. It’s the only thing they can afford. But there are only 18 such fairs across the country this year. And there’s no time for individualized treatment. If your tooth hurts, they pull it.
Working people need — and deserve — a health care system that provides free, quality, preventative health care, from cradle to grave, as a social right.
Obamacare and the different failed Republican insurance schemes, as well as calls for a so-called “single payer” government-regulated insurance plan, are all designed to be cash cows for the owners of the parasitic insurance industry. And health insurance is just one division of the massive for-profit “health industry” rooted in the giant drug, hospital and related corporations. Workers who do have some insurance increasingly face soaring premiums and deductibles, and growing “donut holes,” for the privilege of getting less and less care. Especially in rural areas, hospital bosses are deciding they can’t make sufficient profits and are closing maternity wards, operating rooms or shutting down entirely.
Individual union-won, company-based insurance plans are under increasing attack by bosses trying to solve their worldwide capitalist economic crisis on our backs. Medicare and Medicaid, conquests of past workers’ struggles, are in the gunsights of government cost cutters. Millions simply don’t have any coverage.
We can’t look to the Washington “swamp” to solve this burning social question for us. The capitalist politicians of all stripes won’t and can’t do it. It’s up to us.
We need to strengthen and transform our unions so they can fight to unite working people in the struggle for free, nationwide health care. We must fight to expropriate hospitals when bosses threaten to shut them down, to be run by health care workers themselves.
Expropriate the drug, hospital and medical equipment corporations and place them under the control of those who work there! Industries vital to workers’ needs can’t be the business of private capital.
These steps would sound the death knell of the insurance racket, whose only role is to generate profit, providing no care for anyone at all.
This fight is possible as part of building a movement of millions to carry out a social revolution to replace the political power of the ruling rich with workers power, to build a society based on human solidarity.
This perspective is not impossible or utopian.
In revolutionary Cuba there is no health insurance. The Cuban people use the fruits of their labor to guarantee health care for everyone. In 1959 Cuban workers and farmers overthrew the U.S.-backed dictatorship there and took political power. They carried out a socialist revolution, and created a world-renowned, preventative health care system that is available as a social right. This is an example we can emulate.
Workers discuss way out of capitalist health care disaster
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