Trump Trauma

The Antidote to Health Care Chaos Is a Single-Payer System—and That's Exactly Where the Debate Is Going

If you're suffering from Trump trauma, there's a solution.

L: Sen. Lamar Alexander (Brookings Institution/Flickr), C: Bernie Sanders (BestStockFoto/Shutterstock), R: Tim Kaine (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Not sleeping well since the election? Anxious about Trump? You're not alone. Sometimes you have to have a bedtime story to take your mind off all your troubles and all the things that are keeping you up at night, like Trump's policies and all the things currently screwing up the planet.

So I've started making short stories that should help us fall asleep—stories about ways to win on issues that matter, like health care. Here's a five-minute story about Medicare for All, featuring the voices of Susan Sarandon and Laura Gómez, and a leech with an existential crisis.

Are you all tucked in? Comfortable? Here we go:

Like the little girl in the story says, the real leeches in this country, the real blood-sucking parasites, are the CEOs of the major pharmaceutical companies extracting huge sums of money from sick people in America. They need to be run out of town on a rail. Bernie Sanders is doing it right now with Medicare for All. As Laura Gómez tweeted:

Trump's open attempts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act may not be constitutional (isn't the president sworn to make sure the laws of the United States are faithfully executed instead of actively trying to collapse them?), but they are having an effect. His actions are roiling insurance markets and causing your premiums to spike. But they're also making it unmistakably clear that the antidote to all the health care chaos is a single-payer system, and the healthcare debate is increasingly going there.

On Tuesday, centrist Democratic senators Tim Kaine and Michael Bennett introduced a lesser version of single-payer called Medicare-X which would give people a public option vs. private insurance and move us toward universal coverage. It's way watered down compared to Bernie's Medicare for All bill, but it's another sign that single payer is where the healthcare debate has to head.  

As Sen. Lamar Alexander said of the anxious GOP caucus (maybe they're having trouble sleeping too?) on Wednesday, "If we do nothing we'll create chaos, and chaos will lead to a birthday present for Bernie Sanders, which is a single-payer solution."   

What he didn't say is, we have chaos already, which will continue to mount. Medicare for All is an achievable present to give Bernie, but first, you're going to have to call your senators, work the midterms and get enough support on Capitol Hill to override a Trump veto. 

It can be done. A lot of things we need to do can be done. But you're going to need a good night's sleep, so tomorrow you can be well rested. We need you to fight against horrible oil projects like the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, and fracking, and racism, and police brutality, the tyranny of the billionaire class, the destruction of the EPA, the total degradation of the American Dream, chemicals in your water and in your air, and all those completely outrageous things that would keep any normal, rational, compassionate human being awake at night.

I'll be making more Anti-Totalitarian Bedtime Stories soon. Meanwhile, sleep tight. But tomorrow, call your senators and tell them Lamar Alexander is right: Today's healthcare chaos is why we need Medicare for All.

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Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Josh Fox is artistic director of the International WOW Company. His 2010 film Gasland galvanized the anti-fracking movement and his 2016 film How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can't Change aired on HBO in June 2016.