The following statement was released July 27 by Osborne Hart, Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor of New York.
Both so-called Obamacare and the various Republican health care schemes being pushed in Washington today illustrate the inability of the dog-eat-dog capitalist system to provide lifelong health care for all as a birthright.
Cradle-to-grave health care will only be possible when working people take political power from the hands of the billionaire propertied families, install a government based on our organized and mobilized power and create a society that serves the interests of workers and farmers — those who produce all the wealth.
All the plans pushed by Democrats and Republicans, including “single payer” plans, are health insurance schemes, not health care. They are designed to boost the profits of the insurance, pharmaceutical, and hospital bosses — the “health industry.”
While some health insurance is better than nothing, the daily reality for working people is rising premiums, deductibles and co-pays for shrinking plans available on the “insurance market,” as the ruling class seeks to cut back social gains won through struggle — like government-funded Medicaid for those who can’t afford insurance premiums and Medicare for seniors.
Under capitalism, health care — like all basic needs of working people — is turned into a commodity produced and sold for profit. The propertied ruling families don’t wait in line to see a doctor or worry about whether they can afford exorbitant new drugs. But these are life-and-death questions for working people.
A shrinking number of workers and their unions have wrested some health care coverage from their employers. These plans are on the chopping block today, as bosses drive to slash costs, cut corners and speed up work in an effort to maintain profits at our expense. They work overtime to divide us, telling the majority of workers who have no union, “Why should these people get better care than you?”
Health care is a social question — the working class and our unions need to organize a broad social struggle to demand government-funded medical care for all as a basic right! Workers can only hope to wrest concessions on medical care for our families and ourselves by fighting independently of the bosses’ Democratic and Republican parties on the road to taking political power into our own hands.
Revolutionary Cuba is the only country on this planet where health care is not a commodity. Since the 1959 revolution that put the working class in power, the social surplus generated by the collective labor of Cuba’s workers and farmers has been used to provide lifelong free, quality, preventative health care for every single person. Thousands of Cuban doctors and health workers volunteer to provide care to working people throughout the world, as they did during the recent Ebola crisis in West Africa.
The Socialist Workers Party is convinced it is necessary and possible for the working class in this country — and others — to overthrow the dictatorship of capital and open the door to work with others worldwide to build a socialist world, as workers and farmers did in Cuba. There is no better goal for which to dedicate your life. Join us in this struggle!