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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

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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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

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.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • 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.
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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 economy

World economic crisis: A Marxist approach to the coronavirus crunch


Workplace news

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


Coronavirus news

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


Workplace safety

The history of struggle to make the workplace safe


Campaigns

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?


Readers' opinion

Covid-19 patient speaks out: fantastic support from under-resourced health workers

Going viral: Socialist comments and letters


 

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