"When November comes, vote like your life depends on it"
This time around, it truly does.
Since the beginning of March, 2020, our lives have totally changed.
This was the time some of us decided to isolate, for as long as possible, in order to avoid COVID 19. As a retired senior, vulnerable because of age and pre-existing conditions, it was a relatively uncomplicated decision for me. But for most in our community, it was much more difficult. The essential workers, first responders, and those with dependent families had a more challenging decision: go to work and risk infection or face economic disaster.
And this reality, complete with those undesirable choices, are faced by those who have not lost their employment and still have access, through their jobs, to health insurance.
But, what about those without health insurance?
And this is where we see COVID-19 plainly revealing the unfairness in our healthcare system as it has been changed by this administration. According to the CDC, it is stunning that Latinx have a hospitalization rate approximately four times that of non-Hispanic white persons.
Our healthcare and the response to COVID 19 must be better.
How is it that the most powerful country in the world, the wealthiest country in the globe, the country with the most science Nobel prizes, the most advanced scientific research cannot gain control of a pandemic which has killed over 140,000, and counting, as well as infected over 3,000,000 Americans in less than six months?
The speed at which this illness is going out of control is faster than lightning. It is not as if this pandemic cannot be brought under control. We watched with horror how the pandemic spread in Italy. It is now under control. At the first signal of the disease going out of control in South Korea, they took appropriate steps and it is now under control. And as South Korea has reopened, they have experienced surges. But they take appropriate steps instantly and bring it under control.
The lack of leadership we have seen out of the current government constitutes a plan for how not to handle a pandemic.
In a USA Today opinion piece from Jan. 27, Joe Biden unequivocally stated he would follow science in confronting what we now know were the first signs of an upcoming pandemic.
Subsequently, he has laid out a detailed national program of free, regular COVID-19 testing for everyone, complemented with a program of contact tracing dedicated exclusively to tracking COVID-19 cases, their contacts, and their progress through the healthcare system. When this plan was unveiled in June, it was thought to be a nice blueprint, but not needed. Certainly, COVID-19 cases would be under control by January, 2021.
Reality has turned out to be very different.
Additionally, Biden’s healthcare plan will do more to make sure low-income people have health insurance. Whether we are covered through an employer, buying our insurance on our own, or going without coverage altogether, Biden's plan will give the choice to purchase a public health insurance option like Medicare. As in Medicare, the Biden public option will reduce costs for patients by negotiating lower prices from hospitals and other health care providers. Hence, this public option focus will ensure better healthcare for our communities.
Because of Trump’s malice or incompetence, COVID-19 is ravaging the Latinx community. So, when November comes, vote like your life depends on it. This time around, it truly does.