A group of leftist medics protested the "Hometown Heroes Parade" in New York City on 7 July, claiming it was being used by politicians to avoid addressing systemic issues within the American healthcare industry that existed before – and exacerbated issues during –the pandemic.
The group, Left Voice, shared images of medics on Instagram holding signs that called for an end to capitalist medicine, referring to the US's privatised healthcare industry that forces citizens to pay high prices to medical insurance companies or face bankruptcy in the event that they become sick or injured.
"Don't call me a hero, end capitalist medicine," one medic's sign read. Another said front line and essential workers were not "martyrs for your 'back to business' capitalism" and that they are "workers for socialized healthcare."
The parade was launched by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and its stated purpose was to celebrate frontline and essential workers, which includes healthcare workers, teachers, transportation workers and grocery workers.
Socialised healthcare – in which the government pays for the healthcare needs for its citizens through taxes, ensuring everyone can access healthcare – has long been a priority for American leftists and progressives.
However, politicians in both the Republican and Democratic parties have opposed nationalising the American healthcare industry, opting instead for hybrid systems like the Affordable Care Act, which expanded coverage but still left many Americans priced out of high quality healthcare.
The group of medics put out a statement alongside the Left Voices Instagram post explaining their protest.
"We as healthcare workers see straight through this disingenuous attempt to glorify us (along with our fellow essential workers who work in education, transportation, grocery, etc), in order to bolster their political clout and rewrite history," the post said.
The group said that "essential workers don't need your parade," but rather needed "tangible improvements in our lives and working conditions."
"We weren’t provided what we needed during the height of the pandemic and we continue to face problems such as low wages, high rents and inadequate healthcare. Yet you believe this is time for celebration," the message said.
The medics called for the nationalisation of the "entire medical industrial complex under worker control to guarantee the access to healthcare everyone needs."
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