Medicare for all. A test for Democrats.

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Wakarusa, Indiana. 2009. Photo: Fred Klonsky

From today’s The Intercept:

“Brent Sanders the chief executive of Allergan, one of the largest pharmaceutical firms in the world, is concerned that Americans will become fed up and, in an era of increasing political polarization, come to embrace the single-payer health care plan being unveiled Wednesday by Sen. Bernie Sanders.”

A lot of us have been fed up for a long while.

I’m fed up but not because I’m on Medicare. I have been for a couple of years. In fact, this months bill came just yesterday in case anybody thought Medicare was free. I have to pay it by check because as a teacher on a state pension I’m not on Social Security so Medicare isn’t automatically deducted from a Social Security benefit.

While Medicare is not free, it is affordable. And it is what everybody ought to have whether they are sixty or six.

In his op-ed piece in the New York Times today Bernie Sanders wrote: 

We remain the only major country on earth that allows chief executives and stockholders in the health care industry to get incredibly rich, while tens of millions of people suffer because they can’t get the health care they need. This is not what the United States should be about.

“I don’t think it’s a litmus test,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) of Medicare for All.

Why the hell not?

Pelosi’s use of the words “litmus test” is totally bogus. Those are the words they use to talk about things they are against.

A “litmus test” sounds like pissing on a piece of paper.

Like a women’s right to choose. When some Democratic Party politician tells the voters he doesn’t think choice should be a litmus test, it usually means he doesn’t want to go there.

I want to go there.

I want to hear from Democrats that they agree that women’s choice and Medicare for All should be principles and a part of the  platform of the Democratic Party. And I want to hear it come out of the mouths of Democrats at all levels.

Enough with Schumer and Pelosi making nice with Trump. Why is all the fighting going on within the Republican Party?

Bernie introduced his Medicare for All bill in the Senate and fifteen senators have signed on so far.

Not Illinois’ Durbin nor Duckworth. Why not?

In July, The Intercept posted this:

Activists across the country have provided real momentum to the idea of a single-payer health care system, pressing the issue in California and among leading figures in the Democratic Party.

The mere prospect of single payer, however, has elicited swift derision from some corners of the party, with Dick Gephardt, the former Democratic House minority leader, laughing off the idea at a health insurance conference earlier this month.

“Not in my lifetime,” scoffed Gephardt, when asked if the United States will ever adopt such a system.

Gephardt, who serves as a Democratic “superdelegate” responsible for choosing the party’s presidential nominee, was asked about the possibility of single payer at the Centene Corporation annual investor day conference at The Pierre, a ritzy five-star hotel in New York City.

Centene, which merged with Health Net two years ago, is a health insurance company that sells coverage in 28 states. At the conference, which included investors and Centene executives as well as lobbyists, an unidentified participant asked Gephardt about whether the industry should fear being replaced by a single-payer-style system. Such a move, the questioner remarked, would present an “existential threat.”

“There is no way you could pass single payer in any intermediate future,” Gephardt declared. America, he added, has the “greatest health care system in the world, bar none.” And while single payer would provide universal coverage, there would be less quality and innovation without the “involvement of the private sector.”

Haley Barbour, the former Republican National Committee chair, another speaker at the event, chimed in to agree. “Hear, hear. Put me down as agreeing with Leader Gephardt as usual,” Barbour chuckled.

Apparently there is a litmus test for what I call the National Unity Party of Pelosi, Schumer, Clinton, Gebhardt, the insurance industry, big pharm and Trump’s Republicans.

All are in opposition to Medicare for All.

However, if the Democrats want to win back the House and Senate next year, it better be a principle and on the platform of their party.


2 Replies to “Medicare for all. A test for Democrats.”

  1. “And while single payer would provide universal coverage, there would be less quality and innovation without the “involvement of the private sector.”
    “Quality and innovation’ coming from the private sector? Who is he kidding. The private sector has had years to prove that they are interested in making money off of sick people. I have yet to see any demonstrable ‘quality and innovation’. Denying care to anyone with pre-existing conditions is a private sector idea of ‘innovation’. Denying care to pregnant women is another ‘innovation’. Paying CEO’s millions of $$$ every year must be their idea of ‘quality’…they’re obviously getting the best CEO’s that money can buy.

    Medicare for All!!!

  2. And don’t forget that the “laboratories” in which to test the single payer idea already exist around the world(and have for many decades). These are functional, successful systems and there are many variations in terms of how they are organized, which negates the viewpoint from some that the USA is a special case not amenable to a single payer system.

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