Maya Angelou stated: “When people show you who they are, believe them.“
Although the quotes above are fictional, Trump’s first response to coronavirus, a disease that started halfway around the world, was essentially “Let poor Americans freeze.” Dogwhistling to wealthy cronies and his true believers, the administration’s initial proposal for containment included taking $37 million from LIHEAP, a program that funds low-income home heating assistance, rather than sacrificing a handful of his own golf weekends. (latest estimate – $130 million, an item not covered in his 2021 budget “Stopping Wasteful and Unnecessary Spending.”)
So far, he’s been rescued from publicly facing the true malignity of his proposed budget cuts by Democrats stepping in and reversing them (**See Sen. Schumer’s $8.5 proposal here) along with the public’s short memory. But not before his messaging has reached the audience it was intended for…
(**Note: The House just passed an $8.3 billion coronavirus response package which, amongst other provisions, includes funding to reimburse programs the administration had tapped for initial COVID-19 response efforts, including LIHEAP.)
Action #1 – Redirect money being wasted on the border wall to “Prioritizing Pandemic Prevention Act.”
Our racist and destructive border wall, in a tragicomic hat tip to reality, now needs hundreds of large storm gates left open for months to prevent devastating floods. Combine that with drones, $100 saws and the traditional medieval enemies of walls – ladders, tunnels, and catapults, we’ve wasted $11 billion dollars on a construction grift that personally profits Trump’s re-election campaign
Senator Elizabeth Warren’s still unnumbered bill would redirect wall funding to coronavirus efforts. States Sen. Warren: “The coronavirus outbreak poses serious health, diplomatic, and economic threats to the United States, and we must be prepared to confront it head-on. Rather than use taxpayer dollars to pay for a monument to hate and division, my bill will help ensure that the federal government has the resources it needs to adequately respond to this emergency.“
Minimal script: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Senator [___] to support Sen. Warren’s “Prioritizing Pandemic Prevention Act.”
Contacts: See below.
Action #2 – Let’s have a dry run of “Medicare-for-all” and start waiving all fees for coronavirus testing and treatment.
Here’s a clip of our
drug company executive and pharmaceutical lobbyist Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar stating that many Americans may be priced out of a coronavirus vaccine. In Trump’s America, our health in the face of a pandemic is ultimately not the government’s responsibility, but just another consumer demand.
Q: Word problem: Which of the following statements would encourage citizens to participate in nationwide testing and treatment for coronavirus, or any other pandemic that comes along?
- Nearly 40% of American adults do not have ready cash to deal with a $400 emergency.
- In 2018, 27.5 million Americans had no health insurance, an increase from 25.2 million the year before.
- Nearly half of the 160 million Americans with health insurance through their jobs have high deductibles, at least $1,400 for an individual or $2,800 for a family, with total yearly out-of-pocket expenses (including deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance) maxing out at $6,900 for an individual or $13,800 for a family. (This limit doesn’t apply to out-of-network services.). See Note #1 about $400.
- A 2018 national poll found that 44% of Americans declined to see a doctor due to cost.
- Nearly a third of Americans polled didn’t get their prescriptions filled due to the high cost of their medicine
- Stories have gone viral about people getting multi-thousand dollar bills for routine flu tests. The new “junk plans” in the health insurance market are often useless. (Chart from Businessinsider)
- Nearly one third of all workers do not get paid sick days
- Nearly two-thirds of all low-income workers do not get paid sick days.
A: As you suspected, TRICK! There was no right answer. Americans’ lack of affordable access to healthcare and our lax social safety network is a perfect system to spread disease, not to prevent or stop it.
Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) announced Tuesday he would introduce a bill that would make Medicaid cover testing for and treatment of COVID-19 for every American, no matter how they get their insurance in case of a “national emergency.” This would be an important change to US health care: The federal government would assume responsibility for medical care for every American under these particular circumstances.
We’d like it to go further. Those who are affected by a communicable disease still have to pay rent and feed their families. Two weeks of required isolation would be financially devastating to many moderate and low-income Americans. Compensation for lost pay should be part of the package.
Minimal Script: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Rep./Sen. [___] to support Rep. Ruben Gallego’s bill for Medicaid coverage of all costs of coronavirus testing and treatment. I also want him/her to add compensation for those of low or moderate means without paid sick leave, for whom staying in isolation for the recommended two weeks is an extreme financial hardship.
More Script if you want it: If the coronavirus is serious enough to ban people from coming to the US, the federal government should have already declared it a national emergency.
Rep. Julia Brownley: email, (CA-26): DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
or Rep. Salud Carbajal: email.(CA-24): DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
Senator Feinstein: email, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
and Senator Harris: email, DC (202) 224-3553, LA (213) 894-5000, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 355-9041, SD (619) 239-3884
Who is my representative/senator?:https://whoismyrepresentative.com