Just days before the UK's National Health Service’s 70th anniversary, writer, actor and comedian Rob Delaney is sharing a powerful message: winning healthcare for all Americans is not only necessary, it’s achievable within our lifetimes. Delaney spoke to DSA Medicare for All about his personal connection to the M4A movement, explained how a truly universal healthcare program is affordable and achievable, and encouraged people to get involved.
Delaney is an American citizen born in Massachusetts and now living in London with his wife and two children and an active member of the DSA. While he’s widely known as the co-star and co-writer of the TV show Catastrophe, and recently starred alongside Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool 2, he is also an outspoken democratic socialist with a deeply personal connection to the Medicare for All movement. In the video, Delaney describes his struggle to afford healthcare for himself and his family while living in the US, which is an all-too-familiar struggle for millions of American families. After the family moved to London in 2015, Delaney says the country’s comprehensive healthcare program, administered by the British National Health Service (NHS), radicalized his views on healthcare.
Earlier this year, while living in London, Delaney’s 2-year-old son, Henry, died of brain cancer. He describes how his family endured horrible grief and sorrow, but at the same time, they never had to worry about debilitating medical bills that financially ruin many American families.
“[Henry] benefitted so much from the healthcare system here and so did we as his parents. While we endured stress that was truly unbelievable, we didn’t endure the financial stress of wondering, ‘Are we going to be able to pay for this? Are we going to have to move during his treatment because we have to move into a smaller house or with relatives?’” Delaney explains. “There’s nothing more certain than the fact that you’re going to need medical care of some kind or another, and you should be able to have it. And the United States of America can afford it. What we can’t afford is the system we have now.
One thing that I would like to stress to people who are thinking of getting involved is how fun it is. How fun canvassing is, how fun phone banking is. How fun it is to talk to people about this stuff. It’s fun to advance good ideas that will help and heal and enrich. If you like to have fun, you should get involved with Medicare for All. If you don't like to have fun, you should still get involved."
Delaney's message comes just in time for the 70th anniversary of the NHS which was formed July 5, 1948. It was the first healthcare system in the world to provide free medical care to the entire population, and it was also the first to provide comprehensive care on the basis of general taxation rather than insurance. The formation of the system is often heralded as one of the greatest achievements of the 20th century for the working class.