Author: Annette Gaudino is a member of Healthcare for the 99% and ACT UP New York.
The Supreme Court of the United States made two recent decisions that affects the access to healthcare for every American. The most obvious decision is the recent support for the individual mandate to purchase private insurance contained in the Affordable Care Act. However, it is the Citizens United decision, which ruled that money is equivalent to free speech and further codified the doctrine that corporations are people, which arguably had the greater impact on our healthcare system. Because of Citizens United and the selling of our political system to the highest bidder, a system based on private, for-profit insurance was presented to the American people as ‘reform.’
Corporations don’t breath, corporations don’t bleed, they don’t die and they don’t grieve. Only people do those things. Healthcare is a human right, a public good, and not a commodity to be traded or a luxury for those who can afford it. Wall Street and corporate executives — rather than health professionals — run the U.S. healthcare industry. The profiteering of private insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies is killing and impoverishing Americans every day. America’s system of for-profit, job-based healthcare is a threat to our human rights and economic stability both as individuals and as a country. We believe the work of dismantling Wall Street’s stranglehold over our economic and political system can begin by freeing our healthcare system from their control by creating single payer systems at the state level. But to finally free our human needs from their corporate greed, we must overturn Citizens United.
Healthcare for the 99% is a working group of OWS. We are doctors, nurses, medical students, people living with illness, the momentarily healthy, the uninsured, the insured, burdened by debt or facing bankruptcy because we needed medical care. Together, we are a united front committed to changing the way our system segregates us into these separate and unequal classes of patients forced to compete for care. Our stance is based on overwhelming evidence from around the world that it is possible to have better healthcare for much less than we currently spend by treating it as a universal public good, free from profit and barriers to access.