Obamacare And Single Payer

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Above Photo: Single payer protest in NYC by Occupy

Note: It is our view with the failure of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) and the Republicans beginning the process of repeal without presenting an alternative, it is time for the people to organize and mobilize for improved Medicare for All.

During the Obamacare debate, President Obama made the same challenge: “If anyone has a better idea, let me know.” Doctors Margaret Flowers and Carol Paris, now president of Physicians for National Health Program, tried to give President Obama the better alternative. They tried to deliver it to the White House and deliver it to President Obama when he was in Baltimore after the White House refused to accept it. They were arrested for merely trying to give Obama “a better idea.” Now Obama is still asking for a better idea and says he will support it if someone brings it to his attention. But, will he even listen to the people?

One bizarre thing about democracy in the United States is that the demos — the people — have, at best, a muted voice that is not heard. In 2010 when Drs. Flowers and Paris tried to deliver the better idea – 60 percent of the people supported it; today, as ObamaCare is failing after seven years, still 60% support improved Medicare for all. Yet, this “better idea” — really a proven idea in the United States (Medicare) and around the world, is still kept off the political table. Why? For two reasons. US “democracy” represents money, not people. The oligarchs of the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries as well as the investors in for-profit healthcare oppose treating healthcare as a public good. They want it to be a commodity, a profit center, that serves their interests, not the people’s necessities.

Second, the people have not mobilized. When the people demand improved Medicare for all — really demand it — then we will get it. We have the power to make opposing universal healthcare political poison. We can make politicians run away from the profiteers of healthcare. It could become politically deadly for them to oppose what the people want — real healthcare for all. So, it is up to us. Can we organize and mobilize people to demand the change we need?   KZ

In his farewell address, President Obama bluntly laid down a challenge – “If anyone can put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we’ve made to our health care system – that covers as many people at less cost – I will publicly support it.”

There is such a plan. Not only does it cover as many people as Obamacare, it covers everyone. And at less cost than Obamacare.

Everybody in. Nobody out.

And Obama did publicly support it. Before he turned against it.

That plan was put together more than fifty years ago – it’s called single payer.

And we as a country implemented it for people of a certain age – it’s called Medicare.

The single payer Medicare for All bill has been languishing in Congress for decades – it’s called HR 676.

It will again be introduced into the new Congress sometime over the next couple of weeks.

And before Obama was against single payer, Obama was for it.

In 2003, as a state Senator in Illinois, Obama publicly supported single payer.

“I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care program,” Obama said at the time. “I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14 percent of its Gross National Product on health care cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. And that’s what Jim is talking about when he says everybody in, nobody out. A single payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. And that’s what I’d like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we have to take back the White House, we have to take back the Senate, and we have to take back the House.”

Which of course the Democrats did.

And then Obama let the insurance industry write Obamacare and push single payer off the table.