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A New Opportunity to Push for Medicare for All

By mflowersmd - Posted on 10 January 2011

A new year and a new political party in power in the House of Representatives provide a new opportunity to keep pushing for a single payer/Medicare for all national health program. For Americans suffering through the increasing cost of health insurance and its decreasing coverage, the health care crisis continues and the health debate has not ended.

Reform passed but our health care problems are far from solved. The number of un-insured people continues to rise dramatically with 60.8 million people un-insured for some part of the last fiscal year (see here). Insurance premiums continue to skyrocket with absurd increases such as the 59% jump in the price of California Blue Shield premiums (see here). As the new bill rolls out, multiple waivers are being given to businesses and insurance companies who cannot comply with the coverage specifications required by the legislation (see here and here). Even the temporizing measure, the creation of a national high risk pool which was expected to cover an additional 6 million people with pre-existing conditions, has only seen an enrollment of 8,000 people (see here). And a recent report by McKinsey indicates that despite the new health bill, 30 to 40 million people will remain un-insured in 2016 (see here).

This growing health crisis is unacceptable.

The people of America, most of who support Medicare for all, expected a real health debate in 2009 and instead got a preconceived plan to further entrench the insurance industry, satisfying the rich and powerful corporate interests who control Congress. Many Americans expected more from a Democratic majority. However, the health care industry contributors gave 2 to 1 in favor of Democrats, especially those who sat on important committees, during the 2008 election cycle. Their voices were the ones heard.

In the 2010 election cycle, health corporations turned their dollars and attention to the Republicans. The current Republican calls for repeal of the President’s health law mean that health care is still on the agenda of corporate America which seeks even greater profits.
Republican talk of repeal is political posturing and will not succeed. It is an alarm to let us know they will defund and deregulate the law in order to further enrich their corporate sponsors and gain their continued financial support in the next election.

The Republicans do not offer an effective alternative solution to the health crisis. While I do not support the President’s law because it falls far short of what we need, I also do not support its removal without a plan to provide care to the millions who are suffering daily in this nation.

The good news is that with health care still in the news cycle and the accelerating deterioration of the 2010 health law, we have an opportunity to raise our voices and demand a real solution: improved Medicare for all.

Medicare for all builds on the successful American legacy of Medicare which has lifted seniors out of poverty and improved their health. Medicare for all is universal: everybody in and nobody out. Medicare for all will control our health care costs, end bankruptcy due to medical illness and relieve businesses, small and large, from the burden of paying for health care. It is the only way that we can rein in our federal deficit which is being driven by health care costs.
The Republican leadership in the House is calling for increased transparency and democracy. If they are calling for repeal, then we can challenge them to give us the open and honest health debate we expected in 2009. Transparency means no secret meetings or backroom deals with industry executives. Democracy demands that all viewpoints are heard. It is time to put single payer/Medicare for all on the table.

Don’t give up and don’t give in. Demand a clear solution: Single payer now.

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