Democrats & Liberals Archives

MEDICARE FOR ALL

During the recent presidential campaign, every Democratic primary candidate produced a health plan. Senator Kerry, the Democratic nominee, had a good health plan. What has happened since? We were told that “moral values” trumps health plans. So Democrats are busy demonstrating to everybody that they, too, have “moral values.” They forget that getting the poor, the disabled and the unfortunate covered by a decent health plan is not only a great moral value but could be a boon to our economy and our society. It’s time to propose and challenge the Republicans with a Universal Healthcare System.

As Democrats, we spend entirely too much time talking about and answering our critics. We say the Republicans are doing this, that and the other thing, and they are winning. Therefore, we have to do this, that and the other thing to beat them. This is ridiculous. It's the same as saying Democrats should become Republicans in order to win.

Every day, or more likely several times a day, a Republican criticizes a Democrat or Democrats in general. How do Democrats respond? By pointing out that Republican criticisms are not right or not true. Republicans offer advice, and it frustrates me to see that Democrats take the advice seriously.

Why would anyone accept advice from an opponent?

It's time Democrats talked about what they stand for: helping every citizen, not merely rich plutocrats. One of the best ways of doing this is to push for a Universal Healthcare System - a single-payer system. There are about 45 million citizens that do not have health insurance. Millions more are without insurance when between jobs. Employers are reducing health coverage and forcing employees to pay more. The health system, such as it is, is collapsing.

The public is already with us. A 2003 Pew poll found that 72 percent of Americans favored government-guaranteed health insurance for all. And it should be a single-payer system because this is the most efficient method. It's common knowledge that Medicare's overhead is a fraction of the overhead lost from the balkanized private-sector system now in place. According to N.Y. Times columnist Paul Krugman:

"The savings from a single-payer system would probably exceed $200 billion a year, far more than the cost of covering all of those now uninsured."

Senator Ted Kennedy calls his single-payer system:

"MEDICARE FOR ALL."

Medicare has been around for several generations. Medicare works. It works well, as I, a senior and a beneficiary of Medicare, can attest. I choose my own doctors, procedures and hospitals. It is not "socialized medicine." All healthcare providers, insurance firms and HMOs do well under the system.

If Democrats want a piece of moral legislation that the country will appreciate, let them advocate

MEDICARE FOR ALL
Posted by Paul Siegel at June 14, 2005 1:42 PM