Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1083/30673
From The Socialist newspaper, 22 April 2020
US private healthcare system in meltdown
US co-thinkers of the Socialist Party at a healthworkers solidarity protest, photo ISG (Click to enlarge)
Like in the UK, the coronavirus pandemic in the USA has resulted in the postponement or cancellation of non-urgent surgery in hospitals. But because the US healthcare system is run on a for-profit basis, these cancellations have resulted in a sharp drop in hospitals' income and hence profits.
As a result, in the middle of a pandemic, thousands of healthworkers have been laid-off, furloughed or suffered a reduction in hours.
According to the Washington Post: "Remaining front-line workers face longer hours, and some have seen their pay cut and benefits reduced."
And despite a $100 billion federal government bailout, it's estimated that 25% of US hospitals could go out of business over the next few months, significantly reducing available beds and staff and thereby putting a huge strain on remaining hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients.
Those hospitals most at risk are typically ones that treat low-income or uninsured patients.
In addition, there is also a crisis in primary care provision with 60,000 doctors' surgeries set to close or significantly scale back by June. This will result in 800,000 workers filing for unemployment benefit, being furloughed or having their hours reduced.
That figure amounts to a staggering 43% of the 1.9 million employed by family doctors.
Back in 2018, Donald Trump attacked advocates of publicly funded universal health care in the US by tweeting that the UK's NHS is "going broke and not working".
This disingenuous statement was made after a huge public protest in London - which the Socialist Party helped organise - against Tory government underfunding and privatisation of the NHS.
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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.
- The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
- When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.
In The Socialist 22 April 2020:
Frontline workers speak out
Where's our PPE? Where's our testing? Where's our money?
London bus drivers' action over safety stops front door boarding
Care homes coronavirus scandal: blood on their hands
PPE shortages: "I feel so bloody angry"
Trade union activists from across the south of England discuss the battle for safety on the frontline
Management tells carers PPE would 'worry' residents
Councils must demand control of supplies and reversal of austerity
More dispatches from the front: 'There are so many more patients dying'
World economic crisis: A Marxist approach to the coronavirus crunch
No 'back to school' until outbreak is under control and trade union agreed safety arrangements
DWP: Action on workers' safety, and protection of pay and conditions needed
JD Sports: Shut up shop and give us full pay!
RMT: Lift the suspension of Steve Hedley
Bromley Libraries 'restructure' in middle of pandemic!
Lenin at 150
Lenin at 150: A revolutionary life - and the relevance of his ideas to today's working-class struggles
National plan for testing needed
Capitalist press attacks Tory incompetence
Tory think tank proposes attack on pensions
Shocking increase in domestic violence killings
US private healthcare system in meltdown
Coronavirus news in brief
The history of struggle to make the workplace safe
Excellent support for Socialist Party special appeal
Why I joined the Socialist Party
Clapping, driving, postering - for workers' rights
The role of the Socialist during the corona crisis
Policies that really protect the NHS
Coronavirus: Students' charter
Socialism the Podcast: What do our listeners think?
Covid-19 patient speaks out: fantastic support from under-resourced health workers
Going viral: Socialist comments and letters
The Socialist 22 April 2020 |
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