We’re not going back. However we slowly open up, it will be into a new normal. What do we want this to be?
COVID-19 has shown us clearly how we’re all in this together. At the same time, the poor and working class continue to take the hardest hit in our economy.
Over two centuries ago we affirmed that we’re all created equal to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. This remains more aspirational than reality.
May we value our essential workers. Over the past 50 years, service workers have been left behind. Now they’re correctly called essential. Let’s value essential service workers like our economy has been valuing financial services.
May COVID-19 rekindle our commitment to shifting how we energize our economies to renewable sources, so we have a sustainable way for our great-grandkids to live on this planet. No tax breaks for fossil fuels; incentives for alternatives. We need these disruptions to create the workforce with which we thrive.
May our families have the peace of mind provided by the social support for child care, family leave, and sick leave we need to stay solid.
May our young who aspire to higher education not be burdened for decades by debt — we need them to succeed.
May we have publicly funded elections, to buffer our elected officials from the stranglehold of special interests. Let’s have paper backup for our ballots and mail-in alternatives, so we can trust in, and be assured of, safe elections.
May we have an economy that works for us, not one with us enslaved to corporations. Government of, by, and for the people and the taxes that go with are essential to balance the interests of the marketplace. May the current partisan divides not be enshrined to maintain the excessive advantages of the one percent.
And may we have an equitable, cost effective health care system, one where we pay less to cover everyone with better health outcomes. We definitely can no longer afford to spend twice as much per person, leaving many financially depleted, and getting spotty health care.
We can take the Medicare that seniors have come to depend on, improve it where needed, and cover everyone. The 2% overhead of Medicare gives profound efficiency savings on the payment side and much lower overhead and distraction on the provider side. We’d have full choice of providers, not the narrow networks and related surprise bills that are essential to for-profit insurance. Publicly funded, privately delivered health care gives us the heft to negotiate fair, not rip-off, prices for drugs and hospitals. Medicare for all will appeal to the millions recently laid off, as well as the many contract and other workers who have no employer coverage. A prepaid system leaves us free to focus on what care is needed in the time of need—high deductibles and copays be gone! Being based on income, paid through taxes, makes health care affordable to all. Higher death rates of minorities from COVID-19 lay bare the longstanding inequities in health care that Medicare for All can address. A unified way of paying for health care makes us more prepared to respond.
Let’s make COVID-19 an opportunity to take good care of ourselves and our loved ones, while we also embrace the reality that we all do better when we all do better.