Trump’s response has been inadequate but the system is rigged anyway. As always, the poor will be hit hardest. There is no public health system in the US, in short, because the richest nation in the world has no capacity to protect the public as a whole. Da “The Guardian”.
Dr Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and just about the only official in the Trump administration trusted to tell the truth about the coronavirus, said last Thursday: “The system does not, is not really geared to what we need right now … It is a failing, let’s admit it.”
Instead of a public health system, we have a private for-profit system for individuals lucky enough to afford it and a rickety social insurance system for people fortunate enough to have a full-time job.
At their best, both systems respond to the needs of individuals rather than the needs of the public as a whole. In America, the word “public” – as in public health, public education or public welfare – means a sum total of individual needs, not the common good.
Contrast this with America’s financial system. The Federal Reserve concerns itself with the health of financial markets as a whole. Late last week the Fed made $1.5tn available to banks, at the slightest hint of difficulties making trades. No one batted an eye.
When it comes to the health of the nation as a whole, money like this isn’t available. And there are no institutions analogous to the Fed with responsibility for overseeing and managing the public’s health – able to whip out a giant checkbook at a moment’s notice to prevent human, rather than financial, devastation.