From the Democrats of Hemet-San Jacinto
One Size Fits All (Or Not)
There are many lessons to be learned from the current COVID-19 pandemic such as the importance of having a fully functioning pandemic response team within the CDC, of a very quick response at the first sign of a potential problem, of having a President that listens to scientists and experts instead of his gut. But perhaps the most important lesson to be learned is that a “for profit” health care system will never be responsive to a pandemic.
From the Merriam-Webster online dictionary “established, maintained, or conducted for the purpose of making a profit”. Profit, not service, is the ultimate goal of a for profit organization. In order to make a profit, an organization must keep costs low. Inventory levels of a “for profit” organization must be enough but just enough to meet demands. Excess inventory has caused many businesses to fail. The cost of storing extra inventory or the risk of the inventory becoming outdated is too high for an organization. Non-profit is not the answer either. Non-profit organizations must still cover their costs with revenue perhaps supplemented by contributions. Excess inventory is that same problem for them.
The only way to be prepare for the next pandemic is to build a public system, funded by taxes and keeping a large inventory of critical items. The COVID-19 virus has left us needing large number of protective equipment like masks, gowns, gloves, goggles, antiseptics, beds, thermometers, ventilators not to mention trained personal. Lives are being lost because of shortages. Research must be done quickly after an outbreak. It is impossible to test for a strain that has not yet evolved but a system for immediate response can be established including trained experts and well stocked labs.
Very conservative politicians tell us strong capitalism is the answer, that a profit motive is most efficient for a good economy. But one size does not fit all. Competition in many if not most parts of our economy works. No one would build a better mouse trap if there was not a profit motive. By that same logic, no one will develop a cure if only a few people have the disease or the disease occurs so infrequently it is not worth the investment now for something that may not happen for decades. Insurance companies had to be forced to cover individuals with prior conditions because making a profit and including them was extremely difficult if not impossible. I’m not advocating here for socialism in any area other than health. For the health and welfare of ALL the people we need a tax funded single payer healthcare system that will invest those things that are not profitable like large inventories of critical medical items. And we need a President capable of responding in a timely manner when the next pandemic occurs.
President of Democrats of Hemet-San Jacinto