Another reason why we need universal healthcare

NYT: “But more than rate cuts or bursts of spending, economists say, the best short-term measures to prevent an economic downturn may be “automatic stabilizers” — existing programs or regulations that protect workers, provide low-cost health care or help companies get through a lean period. Some of these measures were adopted during another time of financial stress: the 2008 financial crisis.

“Assurances that many workers won’t have to choose between caring for their health and paying their rent is a crucial psychological factor as Italy and France shut hundreds of schools, Britain unlocks an “action plan” to prevent the virus’s spread and businesses across the Continent cancel trips and meetings to limit their employees’ exposure to the epidemic.”

More importantly, workers with paid sick time are more likely to stay home when sick and people with guaranteed access to healthcare (that won’t bankrupt them) will seek treatment promptly when sick and get the treatment (and quarantine, if necessay) they need. Our lack of universal coverage and reasonable sick leave policies endangers us all.

Europe’s social policies are sometimes seen as overly generous. Yet they may help cushion the economic impact of the virus.

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