by Donna Smith –
Everybody in, nobody out. It’s the battle cry of millions of people throughout the United States who believe healthcare is a basic human right and who advocate for Medicare for All system as an achievable and just answer to that cry.
Everybody in, nobody out. It’s the way we are all looking at the suffering and injured people of Haiti. We are not asking for hospital finance officers and bookkeeping staff or insurance company personnel to pre-screen the injured for acceptable methods of payment or evidence that their pre-existing living structures did not contribute to their crush injuries. We are just rushing in to help.
Everybody in, nobody out. Words sometimes breathe life into places we’d rather not go and make us look at who we are and how we treat one another. Which one of us has an illness less worthy of care? Which one of us has an untreated injury we deserve to suffer for years without care? Which American life is worth less than another American life or Haitian life?
Everybody in, nobody out. We are giving huge amounts of money – and rightfully so – and sending ships and supplies and nurses and doctors. We see the tragedy and the human suffering and we cannot turn our heads or our hearts away – thank God most of us have not yet become that brazen or that hardened.
It seems that today, on a day when we honor the memory of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., we might want to ponder why we cannot seem to extend to one another in our own nation when we clearly know it is just in the face of horrific disaster. Healthcare, everybody in and nobody out, is more than words when we see the immediacy of human needs thrust at us when earthquake or tsunami or hurricane or fire or tornado or flood or the ravages of war strike our fellow human beings. We get it when we get it up close and personal.
MLK, Jr., said, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”
Everybody in, nobody out. In Haiti, in Los Angeles, in New York, in Chicago, in Miami, in Seattle – healthcare when we are sick or injured is what we need and what we most surely can provide to one another.
It is our moral imperative and our national heritage to do what is right by one another. And we cannot do that with the for-profit health insurance industry dictating that some of us are in for care and others are out. We have to do that for each other by extending healthcare to all not by forcing the purchase of a defective financial product that does not protect health or wealth.
It’s time to let our own healthcare disaster in the United States give us the same resolve we can show in times of external crisis. It is right to care. It is right to respond when we see suffering. Everybody in, nobody out. Until justice rolls on like a river, we cry, ‘Everybody in, nobody out.’
Donna Smith is a community organizer for National Nurses United (the new national arm of the California Nurses Association) and National Co-Chair for the Progressive Democrats of America Healthcare Not Warfare campaign.