The Next Health Crisis

Let’s assume that the rate of ordinary sickness is just about what it always is — if anything, perhaps somewhat higher given the added stress and changed lifestyles of quarantine.

And let’s further assume that a lot of Americans no longer have health insurance (previously provided by the jobs they don’t have), and that nobody is going to a doctor or dentist these days if they can possibly avoid it.

Play all that 12–18 months forward (the very best case for a coronavirus vaccine), and it’s not hard to imagine a sizable wave of deferred care and undetected conditions suddenly requiring treatment. It’s also not hard to imagine an awful lot of people struggling to pay for the treatment they need.

And all of this is to say nothing of potential subsequent waves of Covid infections.

It took decades to design a country in which too many people couldn’t afford to get sick in the first place, and now we’ve taken away even more insurance even as the whole world is getting sick.

As with so many things, coronavirus has speeded up the journey to the point where we can see the destination: of health, of food, of economics, of education, of politics, of culture …

If we don’t like where we can now clearly see that we’re headed, how quickly might we make some changes?