Joe Biden Can Make Universal Healthcare Also Global

by Bobby Reyes

President Obama Signs Health Insurance Legislation Into Law | Photo by Lawrence Jackson/White House via Wikimedia Commons

Part XLI of the “EDEN America” Series

Universal Healthcare (UH) is a healthcare system that assures all residents of a particular country or region access to healthcare. Some medical experts call it universal health coverage or universal care. (And if this columnist may add, on back-to-basics and affordable care like “preventive medicine” for a start.)

Democratic presidential candidates, especially those that won the White House, traditionally batted for the UH to become law and implemented. Their political opponents have always relied on the private insurance companies to peddle healthcare policies with so-many exclusions like prohibiting coverage to patients with existing medical conditions. And the insurance premiums were not always affordable, especially to the poorest of the poor, to use an oft-quoted adage. The question of adopting a doable yet affordable UH usually stood at a stalemate. Yes, a political version of the deadlock in a chess game can continue nearly forever. (To those that do not play chess, it is a position that counts as a draw. It means that one of the two players is not in check but cannot move except into checking the opponent.)

Yes, they broke the “perpetual stalemate” when the 111th U.S. Congress enacted the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and signed it into law by President Barack H. Obama on March 23, 2010. It was a landmark federal statute. It is formally known as the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” But most people use its colloquial name, the “Obamacare.”

“Yes, they broke the “perpetual stalemate” when the 111th U.S. Congress enacted the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and signed it into law by President Barack H. Obama on March 23, 2010. It was a landmark federal statute .”

Many political pundits said that it was then-Vice President Biden, as the presiding officer of the U.S. Senate, who came up with the right strategy, leadership, and guile to persuade both major parties in the U.S. Congress to approve the ACA bill. After all, Mr. Biden was a U.S. senator for almost four decades (from 1973 to 2009). Many legislators from both houses of the U.S. Congress (and from both aisles) owed him so many big and small favors needed in achieving a successful legislative process.

This column suggested as early as December 2020 to then-President-elect Biden to do the UH on a global scale. Why do it in 50 strategic countries in the world? Because pandemics have to be fought in all four corners — and in all continents — of our planet to defeat it. We urged Mr. Biden to follow in President William McKinley and his appointee, then-Governor General William Howard Taft. President Biden can do a bold, nay, bolder 21st-century version of the first American “MedCenter.” And build them in some 50-countries, starting with “reinventing” its prototype in the Philippines that was so successful in the 1900s. The “MedCenter” in the Philippines can handle — for instance — all the medical needs (including manufacturing therapeutics and vaccines) of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), to which it belongs.

There is also another reason why there should be at least 50 “MedCenters.” Because there are 50 U.S. states and the U.S. territories can join the smaller states in doing the project. Imagine the impact of the “MedCenter” also in the partner-state. A “MedCenter” has three components: schools of medicine, nursing, and other medical fields, a general hospital, and a research and development (R&D) center. It means that the current medical, educational, and R&D infrastructures of every state will have “branches” — for all intents and purposes — in the foreign location that would be chosen (by lottery, if needed) to be its “ward.”

” … pandemics have to be fought in all four corners — and in all continents — of our planet to defeat it. We urged Mr. Biden to follow in President William McKinley and his appointee, then-Governor General William Howard Taft.”

Imagine if President Biden calls all the 50 state governors and governors of the U.S. territories to a “Renaissance Summit” at Camp David to finalize the “MedCenter” proposal. It will be an earth-shaking monumental, if not a historic, event. We at the Philippine Daily Mirror believe that no governor (irrespective of their political color) will reject President Biden’s invitation and proposal. Just think of the impact of a state (or U.S. territory) governor participating with President Biden and world leaders at the ground-breaking ceremony and the formal inauguration of the “MedCenter.” They will all elevate themselves from a state politician to a statesman — just like that.

The governors will also think of what happened to then Civil Governor William Howard Taft, who continued the “MedCenter” project even after the assassination of President McKinley on September 14, 1901, in Buffalo, NY. Governor Taft was elected in 1909 the 27th president of the United States. And then later, nominated and confirmed as the 10th chief justice of the United States. He is the only American to have held both offices. People (and their political leaders) know how to reward public servants that do exemplary jobs. And history is always kind to them.

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