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Single Payer Health Care is Having its Moment, One Vaccine at a Time

REBECCA KOLINS GIVAN , ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, RUTGERS SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT AND LABOR RELATIONS


“The COVID-19 vaccination program is giving many Americans their first glimpse of an alternative to our current health care system.

The horror stories we’ve grown used to—uninsured and underinsured Americans dying because they cannot afford life-sustaining medications—simply do not apply to the vaccination effort. Vaccine eligibility is based on age and health risks, not insurance status or ability to pay. Those who have the good fortune to be covered by employer-sponsored health insurance cannot jump in line ahead of the uninsured.

After vaccination, you can snap a selfie, take a picture of your vaccination card and continue on your way. You don’t have to worry about a co-pay, or a confusing “explanation of benefits” statement, or a denial of benefits or even a bill. Like the best of socialized health care, the vaccine, paid for by general taxation, is free at the point of use and comes without a mountain of paperwork.

All of this is possible because the federal government decommodified the entire program. It purchased the vaccines, intervened in the supply chain to increase production and distributed doses to public and private providers with a mandate to inoculate the masses. Washington determined that such an important resource should be distributed on the basis of need, rather than left to the free market.”

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