I Have a Dream: Free Universal Healthcare in America

    I have a dream that when a daughter wakes up with a swollen eye, her mother is able to take her to the doctor. She needn’t pause because she doesn’t have insurance, worry if the insurance will cover it, or if it will cover the doctor down the street. She may just go. 

    I have a dream that we integrate alternative healthcare with mainstream medicine. That our herbalists work alongside our medical doctors. That we are given options in treatment plans.  

    When we find that we have a cold or the flu, our evidence-based plant medicines and natural supplements are prescribed. We make full use of the medicine offered to us on this planet, knowing full well that the safety and efficacy of our antibiotics and symptom-relief medicines are limited. Plants may be the answer to viral infections.

    I have a dream that we marry preventative medicine into our healthcare system. All are welcome to monthly massages, six-week vacations, and yearly check-ups. Yoga, tai-chi, stress reduction and meditation classes are freely available. Our government pays a mother (or father) a salary to stay home and raise a child for the first two years. Organic farming becomes mandatory, because pesticide-free and herbicide-free food is good preventative medicine. 

    I have a dream that when I find a spot on my skin, I can go in to the doctor to check for cancer. That if I have a cavity in my tooth, that I can go to the doctor and have it removed. If I have a lump on my arm, a fallen foot, a headache that just doesn’t go away, or a trauma that keeps me awake at night, I can just walk into a clinic and be cared for. Regardless of my income, my job, or my bank account. Regardless of my gender, my ethnicity, or the side of the tracks which I live on. Simply because I am a human being, simply because I live in America.

    There was a time that I considered moving to France, Britain, or Canada because we would then have healthcare. I was musing my thoughts aloud as my son and I were driving home. My son, then 16 years-old, challenged me with, “Oh...are you just going to give up on America...”

    And how could any parent model such a thing. Of course the right way is, “or are you going to do something about it?” For that surely is what our humanity is about, and certainly what we build America with. Doing something about it. What we can do for our country. Our 240 year-old independent country, still in the process of becoming.

    I have a dream that we carry our medical records on a plastic card, like the carte vitale in France. Any clinic we walk into can swipe the card into their computer system and receive and add to our electronic medical record. What a sigh of relief this would be for everyone. 

    I have a dream that all Americans receive free Universal healthcare. No matter who you are, no matter what your circumstance. You are able to take care of your self and your children, because, we as a Nation, can afford to take care of you. In fact, we cannot afford not to. 

    May we join the rest of the rich democracies of the world. May our vote simply be for what type of healthcare we adopt- the Bismarck model of France, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and Japan, the Beveridge model of Great Britain, Italy, Spain and Scandinavia, or the National Health Insurance Model of Canada.

    [To learn more about these healthcare models and how we can have better, cheaper, and fairer healthcare, please read, “The Healing of America,” by T.R. Reid].