“Clearly, Most People My Age Don’t Have a Brain”
On February 11, 2020, a caller from Brooklyn, New York expressed his nervousness about the possible nomination of U.S. Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders. He’s worried about Bernie’s “stupid programs,” said that older people “who want more stuff” are “killing” him, and finished his remarks with “clearly, most people my age don’t have a brain.”
The 19-year-old young man from Brooklyn feels that universal health care would result in a bureaucrat deciding what can and cannot be prescribed for him when he gets sick or injured, and believes that had his father, who suffered from three bouts of cancer, been a resident of a country in Europe, he wouldn’t have gotten the care that he needed. This alludes to the “death panels” narrative from a decade ago, which was frequently used by political figures like Sarah Palin to describe federal health care legislation that was being worked on by the Obama Administration, which ultimately resulted in the Affordable Care Act. In actuality, former Cigna executive Wendell Potter, who in recent years has become an advocate for health care reform, has stated more than once that “death panels” do exist, but not with government bureaucrats sitting around a table; they exist in the U.S.’ private health care system. From his website in 2011:
“Yes, death panels do exist. They exist inside the big health insurance corporations that every day make decisions on whether or not people enrolled in their health benefit plans will get the care their doctors believe might save their lives. I know this firsthand from nearly two decades inside the insurance industry.”
The caller from Brooklyn asserted that he would have to pay a lot more taxes to pay for the government programs envisioned by the Sanders candidacy, but evidently fails to realize that, while taxes would go up, he’d have less bills to pay. Medicare for All means no more fees paid to your health insurer, It means no more surprise bills by the hospital for emergency care, and the company that owns the x-ray machine for CT scans. It means every American is covered, regardless of one’s income. This last point is important, because under our current system, in which 45,000 Americans die every year because they don’t have and cannot afford health insurance, income determines whether you are victimized by the death panel or not, without quotes.