Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local Stories, Events

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Books, Films, Arts & Education
Letters

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

09.19 Air pollution linked to much greater risk of dementia

09.19 Shell and Exxon's secret 1980s climate change warnings [that capitalists suppressed this for continuing profit is the most unforgivable crime ever]Trump administration rolls back methane pollution rule despite harmful health impacts [continuing in the tradition of stupid capitalism at all costs]

09.18 'I was horrified that children are breathing air this dirty inside the school' [if your government isn't working, change it!]

09.17 California plans to show the world how to meet the Paris climate target

09.16 Universal healthcare was unthinkable in America, but not any more

09.16 Air pollution particles found in mothers' placentas

09.16 Portugal’s radical drugs policy is working. Why hasn’t the world copied it?

09.13 The Guardian view on electric cars: stopped by industry inaction [Vroom Vroom is Dumb Dumb]

09.13 Electric future? Global push to move away from gas-powered cars

09.12 The Secret Drug Pricing System Middlemen Use to Rake in Millions

09.12 Jerry Brown: Trump's 'gross ignorance' main obstacle in climate change fight

09.12 Medicare for All and the Myth of the 40% Physician Pay Cut

09.11 Global hunger levels rising due to extreme weather, UN warns

News Media Matters

09.19 Taibbi: Bernie Sanders’ Anti-Amazon Bill Is an Indictment of the Media, Too

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

09.18 Voters Are Ready for a Green New Deal. Are Democrats?

09.18 'This Election Is Last Chance to Stop Them': Kudlow Confirms Trump and GOP Ready to Gut Safety Net After Midterms [Yes, there are far too many sociopaths]

09.18 You'll miss Trump one day

Justice Matters
High Crimes?

09.19 'Killing a generation': one million more children at risk from famine in Yemen [Does America's government have empathy? Does it understand the concept of morality? The Saudi Air Force would be ineffective without U.S. military assistance...]

09.19 ‘Tied to trees and raped’: UN report details Rohingya horrors

09.16 Merchants of Death Profit from the Bombing of Children as a US-Backed War Goes Largely Ignored

Economics, Crony Capitalism

09.16 If Jeff Bezos wants to help low-income people why not just pay them better?

09.16 Central Banks Have Gone Rogue, Putting Us All at Risk

International & Futurism

09.18 Racist rioting in Chemnitz has reopened Germany’s east-west split [We are all mixed-race after 10,000 generations. Helping suffering people makes us feel good, so become their friends instead.]

09.18 'Unconscionable' and 'Appalling': In Affront to Those Fleeing US-Backed Wars and Persecution, Trump Slams Door on Refugees

09.17 For Whom the Climate Bell Tolls

09.17 How to Humanely Solve Europe's Migration Crisis

09.15 A Warning From Europe: The Worst Is Yet to Come [SCARY]

09.15 Crossing Germany's divide — encounters with far-right protesters

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web
  A Few More Thoughts About Single-Payer and Medicare
Newspaper logo

OPINION:

A Few More Thoughts About Single-Payer and Medicare

by Dave Lindorff
Originally published in This Can't Be Happening on Thursday, 13 August 2009

This is not a case where the right thing to do is push for any bill, and then try to move on. This is a case where Democrats have whored themselves out to the greedy industry that is causing all the problems, and are pushing a plan that is worse than nothing.

Some critics have written, in response to my article calling for extension of the single-payer plan called Medicare to all Americans, that actually Medicare is a badly flawed program that leaves America's elderly without coverage for many important health services, and which requires them to pay for supplemental insurance, or to go on Medicaid, too.

These critics are correct. Medicare is great as far as it goes. It is simple for people to use, allows them to go to the doctors of their choice, covers 80 percent of their care, and is liked by nearly all who use it. But it doesn't pay for needed tests, only lets seniors buy mediocre medical devices like hearing aids, and most importantly, it has been requiring more and more contributions by the elderly year after year. Today, Americans over 65 and the permanently disabled pay a greater percentage of their income for medical care than they did in 1964 before Medicare was established!

But having said that, I have to say that it has nothing to do with whether or not it makes sense to expand Medicare to all Americans as a way to solve our health care crisis--as Rep. John Conyers' bill, HR 676, would do.

The reason Medicare is inadequate is because the Republicans and the conservative Democrats--the very "Blue Dog" vermin who, engorged on health insurance, hospital and pharmacy bribes and campaign donations, are undermining and destroying the already lousy health care "reform" plan of President Barack Obama--have been underfunding it, and performing a slow "privatization" of the program, chipping away at its benefits, adding increased self-pay requirements, and raising the Medicare tax on all workers.

They get away with this treachery because their actions only affect the minority of Americans served by Medicare.

If Medicare were expanded to include all Americans, suddenly this kind of political backsliding would be opposed by everyone who was in the program. It simply couldn't happen. Rather, the public would, as one, demand better coverage, fewer self-pay requirements, and an end to supplemental insurance.

The right knows this, and the health care industry knows this, and that is why they are all bitterly opposing the expansion of Medicare--and yet it is so obvious that Medicare is the answer to America's health crisis--and it's staring us all in the face. It works, it's cheap, and it could be implemented immediately.

We are being betrayed by President Obama and by the Democratic leadership in Congress, who will not talk about single-payer.

Not one of the committees working on the health reform bill in Congress allowed any discussion of Rep. Conyers' HR 676. Under pressure from the public, and groups like Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP.org) and Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has agreed to allow a floor vote next month on Conyers' bill, but that is a sop. Floor votes are heavily manipulated by the leadership and never go anywhere unless a committee has already held hearings and voted to approve a bill, which was not allowed to happen in the case of HR 676.

The so-called "reform" bill that is going to emerge from the current process is going to be the legislative equivalent of road kill, barely recognizeable either as health care or as a "reform." It will be a Christmas present for the insurance industry, the hospital industry and the phramaceutical industry, all three of which struck secret deals behind closed doors with the White House.

It will set back health reform in America a generation, will require everyone to buy inadequate and overpriced insurance, overpriced drugs and to go to overpriced hospitals. And the cost of healthcare to individuals, businesses, and the nation as a whole (already the highest in the modern industrial world), will continue to soar.

This is not a case where the right thing to do is push for any bill, and then try to move on. This is a case where Obama and the Democrats have whored themselves out to the greedy industry that is causing all the problems, and are pushing a plan that is worse than nothing.

We should all be working to kill this whole thing and start over, with HR 676.

If Congress won't do it, we need to start working for a new Congress in 2010 that will.

No Democrat running for House or Senate in 2010 who isn't solidly for expanding Medicare to all should get a single vote.


Dave Lindorff in Washington

About the author: Philadelphia journalist Dave Lindorff is a 34-year veteran, an award-winning journalist, a former New York Times contributor, a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, a two-time Journalism Fulbright Scholar, and the co-author, with Barbara Olshansky, of a well-regarded book on impeachment, The Case for Impeachment. His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net.



Copyright © 2009 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.

This story was published on August 13, 2009.
 

Public Service Ads: