You may never have heard of this place. The city it is in, LA, is far more famous. The same can be said about the part of town it is in, Hollywood. The street it is in is even more famous, world-famous in fact, Sunset Boulevard.
The Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic is a medical centre that provides free healthcare. It is the vision of Medicare for all, basically realised. A GP clinic where you can see a doctor, do tests, and all for free. A novelty in a country where free healthcare is not the norm.
The problem is that a revolution sounds more interesting than some clinic.
That revolution, promised by Senator Sanders, is to completely bring down the current healthcare system to build in its place something new, something historic, and something indeed truly revolutionary.
Sanders' promise is something that comes across as far more exciting than merely supporting some clinic.
In Australia, we technically have Medicare for all, but it seems to take something grand to make us do more in health as well. The Close the Gap campaign, to end the unacceptable gap in health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, is a case in point.
It was historic, it was something grand, and motivated people to get onboard. Get onboard to address an issue that had existed for a long time.
Simply asking people to support charities to help end that disadvantage was not enough.
There was also the issue of medical research funding. It seemed to get much attention because of the Australian government’s announcement in 2014, of a new kind of funding model.
The creation of a medical research fund, that by 2020-2021 should become the biggest medical research endowment fund in the world, we were told – though, actually, there are bigger ones.
Yes, it is all very exciting, but the government simply increasing funding to medical research would have done the trick. Australians donating say $100-200 every year to medical research would have done the trick as well. In fact, it would amount to more money than the fund’s final projected annual giving rate.
It just may not have been as newsworthy as a new fund.
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