COVID-19 crisis sparks demand for US to nationalize hospitals

"A beautiful silver lining": Hope springs from coronavirus tragedy

By Eoin Higgins
Published March 27, 2020 3:00AM (EDT)
American Flag | Woman sitting on a hospital bed (Getty Images/Salon)
American Flag | Woman sitting on a hospital bed (Getty Images/Salon)

This article originally appeared at Common Dreams. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.

The news that Ireland is nationalizing its healthcare system for the duration of the coronavirus crisis inspired observers including Rep. Ilhan Omar to call for the same approach in the U.S. as the world's largest economy faces the disease.

"For the duration of this crisis the State will take control of all private hospital facilities and manage all of the resources for the common benefit of all of our people," Ireland's Health Minister Simon Harris announced Tuesday. "There can be no room for public versus private when it comes to pandemic."

The move follows a decision by Spain on March 16 to do the same to that country's system and represents a "massive change" in Ireland's social safety net, tweeted Irish author Caelainn Hogan.

"There should be no going back from this," said Hogan.

Ireland's decision to nationalize the nation's healthcare system was made for the country's "national unity of purpose," Harris said. 

"We must of course have equality of treatment, patients with this virus will be treated for free, and they'll be treated as part of a single, national hospital service," said Harris.

The move was seen by observers as a sign of hope in a world battered by the coronavirus pandemic, which has sickened hundreds of thousands around the globe and killed at least 22,184 people.

"How wonderful is this," tweeted journalist Beena Sarwar. "A beautiful silver lining."

Omar, in a tweet Wednesday, cited Ireland's move as evidence that the coronavirus outbreak requires thinking outside the box.

"Maybe it makes sense to think of bold solutions that save lives in times of national crisis," said the Minnesota Democrat.


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