Healthcare One of ‘Two Human Rights We Lack’

David Swanson (OpEd News, 7/22/09) has “another name for ‘what’s called a single-payer system'”–namely: “healthcare as a human right, not a commodity to be purchased. Many humans have this right. They just aren’t Americans.”

Of Barack Obama’s July 22 news conference “mention of single-payer in passing, as something that would be better than anything else, but something that mysteriously lies out of reach,” Swanson notes that the same view “is typical of the very few mentions of single-payer healthcare in the U.S. corporate media”:

I just did some searches in the Lexis Nexis databases of major U.S. and world publications, news wire services, and TV and Radio broadcast transcripts. Searching for “healthcare” in July 2009 found over 1,000 documents, the maximum number that Lexis Nexis will display. In fact, searching just the past two days found over 1,000 documents. Another search confirmed that this is “Michael Jackson” level coverage. And another search confirmed that virtually none of these documents mentioned single-payer at all, much less told anyone what it was. A search for documents later than July 1 containing single-payer OR “single payer” turned up only 197 documents.

Americans have consistently told pollsters for decades that they want single-payer. But America’s government refuses to provide it, and therefore America’s state media refuses to discuss it. Of the 197 records of the media mentioning single-payer in July, almost half were congressional records or press releases or otherwise not media reports at all.

Still “others were articles in medical trade publications,” and “even so, those articles tended to mention single-payer very briefly and dismiss it.” Read the recent issue of FAIR’s magazine Extra!: “Media Quarantine of Single-Payer Continues: Fifteen Years Later, Public Health Insurance Still Taboo” (6/09) by Julie Hollar & Isabel Macdonald.