We all have read about the efforts of every citizen to help during World War I and World War II, and been impressed with the collective determination and willingness to contribute resources to an urgent cause. In our time the urgent causes have changed. Health care should be at the top of the agenda, because the lives of our neighbors and elders and children depend on us.
Union members struggle with every contract to negotiate for good health insurance at the risk of stagnant salaries. Diabetics die in our own state for lack of insulin, elders and others forgo food for medicine or choose between medical care and heating their homes. Delayed preventive care for these reasons results in more extreme measures having to be used to save lives later at higher cost.
We hear that we should oppose socialized medicine, which would literally mean that the government would own all the hospitals and clinics and employ all the doctors. Even if we were to have Medicare for all, this is not being suggested and detracts from what is truly needed. I believe we all, despite political party, want the same things: Good health, a fair shake, clean water and a healthy environment, and a chance to solve our own problems with good leaders.
Single payer universal health care means we can stop having fundraiser dinners for our friends and neighbors and not feel guilty for the friendless and isolated, for whom charity is not forthcoming. Hospital ownership will not change. By rejecting the confusing rhetoric which seems to be a panicked denial of the obvious truths, the path forward looks clearer.
Even Jason Lewis at his Town Hall in Bemidji admitted he takes advantage of MNSure. As a local pastor says, faith is the refusal to panic. It’s time for all of us, purple, blue or red politically, to have faith, refuse to panic and act, with urgency.
Jean Christensen, Bemidji, is a leadership team member for Indivisible Bemidji.