Archive for medicare for all

Democrats have already compromised by abandoning the goal of a single-payer system

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How many times have many of us on the left have openly wished for Medicare for All instead of a health care system centered around Big Insurance?

We get sick, they profit. We don't get sick, they profit. We kvetch, they profit. We vote for Progressives, they profit. We point and laugh at Fox and Friends, they profit. We endure endless Cialis commercials, they profit. We hold our ears and scream "Lalalalala!" they profit. We mock Miley Cyrus, they profit. Miley Cyrus mocks us, they profit. We write inane lists like this one, they profit.

In the Los Angeles Times, there's an op-ed by Jane Mansbridge, a professor at Harvard University's Kennedy School and a member of the Scholars Strategy Network. She reminds us of how much we've already given (given IN):

Fundamentally — and infuriatingly for the Democratic base — Obamacare is inherently a compromise because it is a health insurance reform law rather than an overhaul of the structure of our nation's healthcare system. [...]

Yet the single-payer system had already been compromised away when the final 2009-10 healthcare negotiations began. ... [M]any Democrats compromised, even those who considered the single-payer approach to be by far the best policy.

Instead of pushing for single payer, they rallied around another approach: the "public option." The public option would have preserved the current employer-based system of private health insurance coverage while providing a government-run healthcare insurance alternative as well as a safety net for the uninsured. Importantly, it would have also injected much-needed competition into an environment where private insurance plans are increasingly consolidated.

But even that wasn't good enough for Republicans and some ConservaDems. The most conservative Democrats were the ones who really got my blood boiling, but that's another post for another time.

For many Democrats, these compromises have been hard to swallow... Despite all these compromises and concessions, House Republicans still forced a government shutdown.

Indeed, now we have the Affordable Care Act, a law that is based on Romneycare, a Republican health insurance plan.

But Dems are the ones who aren't compromising. Got it. Jane Mansbridge called it a "shell game." She's right:

The Democrats have compromised over and over again. Now it's the Republicans' turn to play fair.

That last sentence? Great sentiment, impossible demand. Republicans don't know the meaning of the word fair.

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"One day a single-payer system will provide better care at less cost and aggravation."

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Today's L.A. Times letter to the editor, because our voices matter:

Re "Another surgery — while knee-deep in the red tape," Column, Jan. 6

Steve Lopez asks, "Can't we switch to a healthcare system instead of a paper-shuffling, profit-driven, CEO-bonus-building system?" Great question.

There are dozens of for-profit health insurance companies astride the U.S. healthcare "system." Besides profits for their owners, their premiums must pay for exorbitant executive salaries and benefits, lobbyists in Washington, political contributions, marketing programs, lawyers and lawsuits, redundant computer systems and staffs trained to deny claims. These parasitical organizations contribute nothing to actual healthcare.

One day a single-payer system will provide better care at less cost and aggravation. As Winston Churchill said, "Count on Americans to do the right thing — after they've tried everything else."

Ed Carstens

Santa Clarita

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Rep. Jim McDermott's legislation may enable states to offer single payer healthcare

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David Lazarus has a column in the L.A. Times that is very, very, VERY cautiously optimistic about universal coverage making its way to the state level, as long as the federal funding is there. That's a BIG "as long as."

Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) is drafting a bill that would make this happen, but you know how those Republicans can get all obstructiony and stuff, which tends to spoil all those legislatively smart options that would benefit so many Americans.

So, because a national Medicare-for-all plan would never make it through Congress, it's up to the states to do their own thing, and McDermott's long shot State-Based Universal Healthcare Act would offer the mechanism for each state to ask for federal funding once they establish their own health care programs:

McDermott's bill ... would allow federal funds for California's 4.5 million Medicare beneficiaries and 8 million Medi-Cal recipients to be pooled with state tax money for universal coverage. [...]

People in a statewide Medicare-for-all program would no longer pay annual premiums, deductibles or co-payments for private health insurance. Instead, they would pay a percentage of their income into the system, just as wages are taxed for Social Security and Medicare. [...]

Gerald Friedman, an economist at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, estimated in a recent paper that a national Medicare-for-all system would cost Americans about $570 billion less annually than the amount spent on private plans.

Moreover, gone would be the problem of private insurers charging higher rates or denying coverage to people with preexisting medical conditions. If you pay taxes in the state, you'd be eligible for coverage.

Also gone would be healthcare as an issue between workers and employers. Businesses would no longer be the primary conduit for health insurance, relieving companies of what has become an increasingly costly obligation.

Does this idea appeal to you? If so, you can email McDermott at his website and let him know. He could use the support and encouragement, which is why Lazarus provided the link.

You can read more here.

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VIDEO: Why are some Republicans for subsidizing universal phone/broadband service but not health care?

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David Lazarus, in the video, also has a column about this in the L.A. Times today:

Conservatives tend to become apoplectic at the thought of the government requiring people to pay for health insurance or any form of public program designed to provide universal coverage.

Yet most of those same conservatives — including Republican lawmakers — are perfectly at ease with the idea of requiring that all phone users pay a fee intended to provide universal coverage for telecom services.

Art Brodsky, a spokesman for the digital rights group Public Knowledge:

"Many of these guys who scream about socialized medicine represent largely rural states, and without these subsidies, there wouldn't be universal phone and broadband service... Basically, the phone subsidies are a form of corporate socialism."

Socialism!? Why, the very idea!

It's all about serving the interests of the greater good. In the case of telecom, every phone customer ponies up $2 or $3 a month to ensure that each of their fellow citizens has equal access to phone and Internet services. [...]

[A] Medicare-for-all program would make sure no one slips through the cracks. As it stands, the healthcare reform law would extend coverage to an additional 30 million people. That would still leave about 20 million more out in the cold.

Roughly 100 million people in this country now lack broadband Internet access, and Republicans and Democrats agree that this is unacceptable.

Half that number lack health insurance. And we can't forge a consensus on doing something about that as well?

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