By the time Trump is out of the hospital and fully recovered from COVID-19, his medical bill will be hundreds of thousands of — if not over a million — dollars. But: he’s the President of the United States, and so American taxpayers (i.e., those who pay taxes) will be paying his bill.
It doesn’t matter if you’re “the worst president America has ever had” or a baseball player or a factory worker at Amazon sick with the disease: everyone going to a hospital in the US should get free testing and free medical care, regardless of citizenship or medical coverage.
Everyone with COVID or COVID symptoms should get automatic, free medical care, and the government should be automatically sent the bill, the government should pay the bill, and the matter should be closed. It doesn’t matter if the end result wasn’t COVID, they should still get that free pass. A person can’t know what they have until tested, and tests are still very difficult to get. If a person believes they’re sick and have COVID-like symptoms, they should get a free pass to the ER. If they have medical coverage but that coverage comes with a deductible or co-pay, the government should pay that, too.
You might be asking, how would the government pay for all of this? To start with, let’s actually tax trillion-dollar businesses and tax the wealthy their fair share. Let’s also stop this ridiculous ballooning of hospital care bills. The ACA attempted this, but we really need to re-think the entire system.
You might be asking, how would hospitals handle the strain of so many patients? First, test results would need to come back in a couple of hours, not days, and those testing negative, unless deathly ill, could simply leave. Those with positive results should have their medical history reviewed for high-risk complications and, if safe to go home, should go home with special quarantining instructions.
You might be asking, why should illegal immigrants get free testing and medical coverage? While you’d be right pointing out that our taxes would be paying for their coverage, there are many US citizens who don’t pay taxes and are getting very expensive medical care right now. But testing and care can help prevent the spread, inform policies, and keep communities safe. The virus doesn’t care if you’re a citizen of a man-made box on a map or not, and if people don’t know that they’re sick or are too afraid of seeking treatment, it puts all of us at risk.
You might be asking, and I’ll stop you right there, because this is a national pandemic, and people are dying. Whatever qualms you have with people getting access to free medical care are irrelevant.
This is a societal problem. COVID-19 is bigger than you or I or any individual. It’s a problem we can only solve as a society. And while you may feel safe and secure with your health and medical coverage, not everyone is so fortunate.
According to NPR, Black and Latino Americans are more likely to get infected with, and more likely to die of, COVID-19. Further, they’re less likely to have health coverage, and less likely to seek treatment. “It’s a legacy of structural discrimination that has limited access to health and wealth for people of color,” said Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, director of the Equity Research and Innovation Center at Yale School of Medicine.
Nobody deserves to die from COVID-19 or suffer through it alone. We, as a country, have lacked the leadership and the patriotism to fight this virus, resulting in (as of the evening of October 4th, 2020) 209,802 deaths. We as a society should, at the very least for those who become sick, ease their recovery just a little by paying the bill.