Last week I received a notification that El Rio Community Health Center would be doing free COVID-19 tests. I decided to set appointments for my mom and me. As I was making our appointments my mom stopped me to say she wasn’t going. Irritated I asked her why, she said, even if she were sick she couldn’t afford treatment anyway. I couldn’t believe that most of us are having to face this dilemma. The tests might be free but medical treatment can cost uninsured patients tens of thousands of dollars. According to the Census Bureau, the average South Tucson resident’s annual income is $23,603. DES makes it almost impossible to qualify for Medicare, leaving us with the existential choice of taking on overwhelming debt or assure our health care.
Health care shouldn’t be a privilege, it’s our human right! We live in the wealthiest country in the world and yet over 30 million of the American population including over 750,000 in Arizona, do not have health care. It’s preposterous that the U.S stands entirely alone among developed nations that do not offer universal health care.
Unfortunately, it took a pandemic for most of us to realize that the healthcare system is broken. We cannot allow our government to continue practicing inequalities by prioritizing private profit instead our citizens wellbeing. To take action against health disparities, we must hold our government accountable to immediately provide free Covid-19 testing and treatment for everyone. Most importantly, remember to elect the democratic candidates that care and will reform our privatized health care system.
Written by Roxanna Valenzuela
Casa Maria Catholic Worker