Covid has not gone away
Recent events in Washington have captured the news cycle. However, out of sight, Covid continues to rampage across America, As someone who lives in a country that has what you would call a single payer healthcare system, (National Health Service). I have an insight into provision on both sides of the Atlantic. Let me say at the outset, I am NOT fully conversant with the US healthcare system, but I am spending time to get to know more and am committed to being more informed as time moves on, especially given the political importance of the issue.
Let me start by introducing you to how the UK healthcare system works. Our National Health Service (NHS) provides free healthcare at the point of need for every UK citizen. Of course it's NOT free, as it is paid out of UK tax and National Insurance contributions. It's important to note that the US has a lower marginal tax rate than the UK. The last time I looked, it was about 5.9% less in the US, but don't quote me on that. What you have to bear in mind, is that we in the UK, do not get the choice of opting out of the NHS. We do however, have the option to buy supplementary private healthcare insurance. As the private healthcare sector here makes up only a fraction of the national healthcare provision, it is a very different animal to the giant US healthcare providers.
So what does this mean in practical terms? It effectively means that everyone pays into the system through their taxes, in return for access to care. From Local Doctors to wellness clinics, to hospitals, it's an all inclusive package that leaves no citizen without healthcare. So if I accidentally fracture a toe, or have a brain aneurysm, the care is there, free at the point of delivery, regardless of cost to the hospital, to provide my care. Now before you all apply for British citizenship, there ARE problems within the NHS. It seems , that governments of all persuasions have over the years, failed to come to terms with the ever evolving demands of national health provision. I could spend ten blog posts writing just about waste in the NHS, or the cost to it, from self imposed obesity and other societally avoidable ills.
IT DOES WORK. Does it need reforming? You bet your life it does, but as governments have found again and again, to mess with the NHS, is political suicide. The biggest challenge to the system, is not government. it's the British public, who abuse it beyond comprehension. Treating it like the 'all you can eat healthcare buffet', dig in and keep going back for more. It doesn't matter if I get fatter and fatter and become a diabetic, the NHS will fix it. I need to stop now, or I'll never stop, because so many of the problems the NHS faces, are from self imposed stupidity.
One interesting point worth raising, is that we in the UK should be at a huge advantage with Covid 19, because we have a NATIONAL health service. By definition, the NHS delivers a similar service regardless of where you live. Any UK readers at this point will be throwing the device they are reading this on out of the window in disgust, There are of course, inequalities in service delivery and these have resulted in what we would call a postcode lottery, on some care delivery. The point I'm trying to make, is that the UK has a network of delivery points for vaccination etc. I realise the US has similar provision, but it is certainly not as networked as here in Britain. Despite these advantages, UK governmental failure has led to far too many Covid deaths. I intend to do a UK assessment of the government's handing of the pandemic in due course.
Turning back to the US,. it is evident that the abject failure of government and Trump's gross incompetence, has let to unconscionable loss of life. I remain of the view, that the president is guilty of state sponsored reckless negligent homicide. Some would even say genocide. The involvement of Scott Atlas, must NEVER be forgotten in the sea of unimaginable loss, emotional pain and heartache suffered by famiies. His recomendation to Trump of herd immunity and the subsequent secret adoption of that policy, has seen the unnecessary loss of at least 150,000 Americans. That number is heartbreaking for those who have have had to endure the unimaginable pain, resulting from the loss of a family member or friend.
So where did it all go wrong? As you have all lived through it, I don't want to relive the horror that many of you have had to endure. Having said that, there are a couple of points I'd like to make if i may? The first of these, is that Covid simply didn't need to kill so many Americans. We can talk all day about failed testing and the wasted month of February. I could go on and on, but the single biggest failure was MESSAGING. Messaging was the bullet in the gun that delivered the fatal blow to efforts to contain the virus.
Murder is a very strong word, but put simply, the words that came out of the mouth of the leader of the free world, murdered hundreds of thousands of Americans. Had he shot them with a gun, it may well have been more merciful than the agony many of them suffered before they died. So, manslaughter or murder? The answer is simple. IT WAS MURDER. Why? because it was pre meditated and what's more, there's a confession to the crime in the president's own words on tape. In February, Trump was informed that Covid was a deadly virus, he later admitted this, when he told Bob Woodward in a recorded telephone conversation, that it was 'deadly stuff'. He knew this in February, so the messaging from his own mouth to the American people from March onwards, was a premeditated lie. The misrepresentation of the known facts, makes his actions, murder.
To make matters worse, he repeated the lie again and again, whilst instructing Republican allies in the form of governors, elected representatives and surrogates to amplify the lie to the soon to become victims. This makes it a conspiracy to commit mass murder. So why did he do it? Simple, GREED.
Trump has long held the view that the stock market is the economy. I really haven't got the time to go there, other than to say, 80% of stocks in the US are owned by the wealthiest 10% of the population. The reason the stock market was important to him, is because he was only ever president for those at the top. As a result, he protect only the interests of the top 10%. Translation - he protected his wealthy friends and deemed it acceptable, to kill 400,000 Americans by the end of the year, in order to secure a further 4 years in the White House. Republicans have spent all year, justifying this catastrophic loss of life as acceptable, in an endeavour, not to destroy the US economy. This is a fallacy.
Time to wake up America! As a result of this single action, the economy has not recovered, job growth is going backwards, food insecurity, no wait, why am I using that horrible 'right on' phrase? Let's call it what it is; HUNGER, is rocketing out of control. With the addition of the threat of eviction, the US stands to mirror a failed African state by having to setup fiscal refugee camps for homeless hard working Americans who's only crime, was to trust in their president. Just pause for a moment to think about that. There is no way America should have found itself in this position. It arrived at this point because of an absolutely criminal act of fiscal malfeasance.
Instead of saving for a rainy day, Trump had previously provided a totally unnecessary tax giveaway to corporate America. Take a look at this great article on the subject. Trump, aided by Mitch McConnell, gave trillions of dollars they didn't have, to large corporations who said, thanks very much and then embarked on a bonanza of stock buybacks. Just out of interest, what would happen if you were to go to your bank and say to the bank manager 'I need a $100,000 loan to give it away to my friends'? Let me take a stab. After he fell off his chair laughing louder than a judge in a Trump fraud election filing, you'd be asked to leave. However, when you're the president of the United States and have the keys to the US Treasury, you don't have to suffer that kind of humiliation.
Just to add insult to injury, Trump then stuck the knife into the everyday Americans and twisted it, by signing off on a Covid stimulus package that allowed corporate America to stick their snouts in the trough yet again, at the expense of the taxpayer. He knew it was wrong, because he then removed oversight from the distribution of funds, I suspect because of money being diverted to companies associated with his crime family. I don't know what more evidence is required to demonstrate that the American people were the victim of a robbery in which no shots were fired. Their tax dollars were stolen from them, their family members were callously murdered in an attempt to perpetuate ongoing theft from the public purse. The crime was so profitable, that Republicans embarked on a seditious conspiracy to overturn a fair election, in order to continue perpetrating their crime.
Back in March I was recording a daily diary of the day to day response of the administration to the pandemic. It's an extensive collective of work that I'd like to share with you. However, I don't want to bore you with history. I do think however, it will open your eyes to how events unfolded. At the time, I was going to send the musings to Anderson Cooper on AC360, I had compiled it into an email, but I never sent it. I think it would wrap some really interesting context around my next original blog, looking at how the healthcare system has been overwhelmed as a result of the administration's abject failure to act.