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Ross: Coronavirus is perfect argument for universal health care

The healthcare debate continues in the United States. (AP)

We’ve been debating forever whether Americans need universal health insurance, and now we have something that might finally help us decide.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Trump Administration is considering using government money to reimburse doctors and hospitals that treat uninsured Americans who may have contracted the coronavirus.

That strikes me as an excellent idea.

You have about 27 million Americans who don’t have health insurance, so a serious epidemic could saddle hospitals with a lot of patients who can’t pay. There are rural hospitals that have trouble staying open as it is.

Some uninsured people might be too afraid to even go to a doctor. They might just ignore their fever and keep spreading the virus.

And yet I’m sure there are politicians who would see this as a slippery slope toward the government insuring everyone. So, how about a real-world test: In states run by politicians who truly believe universal coverage is un-American, leave things as they are during the epidemic. In states that are pro-universal coverage, everyone who feels they need treatment would get it at government expense.

The argument against universal insurance is always “how will the government pay for it?”

But what we don’t know yet is – what’s the cost of not paying for it?

This would be the perfect time to find out.

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