Janine Jackson: The US healthcare conversation has come to an odd pass. We have an elected representative who maintains that, because you can go to an emergency room if you’re dying, it’s unreasonable to talk about insurance as a life or death issue. At the same time, there are those who think, in part because of the outrage around the widely reviled legislation the House just passed, that there might be a better opening for a move to a single-payer or Medicare-for-all system, as indeed some states seem to be doing.
How do we hold on to a vision for a truly humane healthcare system, while at the same time fighting just to hang on in the face of efforts to turn the country into something out of Dickens? Margarida Jorge is co-executive director of Health Care for America Now and Health Care for America Now Education Fund. She joins us now by phone from Washington, DC. Welcome to CounterSpin, Margarida Jorge.
Margarida Jorge: Thanks for having me.
Well, “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to healthcare,” said Raul Labrador of Idaho. That’s a pretty amazing statement, don’t you think?
Of course, it was met with derision, as well as factually debunked. But it does show, among other things, how differently healthcare can be experienced by differently situated people, which in a way makes the reporting very important in explaining the potential impacts of things. Now, I saw plenty of concerns raised about this Republican legislation — around pre-existing conditions, for example — but I wonder, what did you make of media coverage of this process? Is there more that might have been done?
Well, there’s a lot in the bill, and there were two particular pieces that Health Care for America Now and our partners worked quite a bit on that I thought didn’t get as much coverage as I would have liked, given that the impact of those things would have been tremendous. One of those things is the proposal in the Republican bill, not just to roll back Medicaid expansion, which is…