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Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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After years of he and his boss complaining about “socialism,” Vice President Mike Pence is promising healthcare to all Americans–whether they have health coverage or not.
“And I will make sure that any American knows — even those with no insurance–will be able to receive treatment in the hospital and never have to worry about the bill,” Pence said, going on to thank the American people for their help getting through the coronavirus outbreak.
But stop and reread Pence’s healthcare promise to the American people.
It sounds much more like something that you would expect to come out of the mouth of a Democrat than a top member of the Trump administration.
To be sure: Pence is extending his generous offer as part of a response to a pandemic (and don’t doubt that this national emergency comes in the same year that he and Donald Trump will face an already dicey re-election campaign has something to do with it).
Let’s set those ulterior motives aside and take Pence’s guarantee for the generous offer it represents.
Yes, certainly, we are in the midst of the worst pandemic in decades.
But what, intrinsically, makes being stricken with COVID-19 somehow more morally worthy of a government guarantee of treatment than say, a 60-year-old hotel housekeeper who suddenly finds herself with advanced breast cancer, but her job doesn’t afford her any coverage?
Or, for that matter, young parents whose new little one is diagnosed with spina bifida but neither one can afford coverage with their jobs?
The real answer is none of the above is somehow more ethically or morally worthy of government support than the other.
If the federal government can guarantee treatment of COVID-19, it certainly can guarantee treatment of other maladies, as well.
And, certainly, on costs: if the federal government can guarantee treatment now–in the midst of federal budgeting thrown out the window so that the government can throw literally trillions of dollars at the US economy in an attempt to save it–the government could craft a coverage program which pays for treatment for all Americans at a point when federal policymakers can sit down and work out a rational plan.
Perhaps Republicans will have to give up anymore of their tax giveaways for the rich, but Mike Pence has already shown that he can embrace coverage for all.
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