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An "Exciting But Dangerous Moment" for Medicare for All

An "Exciting But Dangerous Moment" for Medicare for All

Michael Winship

Dr. Adam Gaffney is the brand new president of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), the national, Medicare for All advocacy group of medical professionals and others committed to single-payer—universal healthcare “provided equitably as a public service rather than bought and sold as a commodity.”


We progressives need to simplify rather than complicate the narrative regarding universal healthcare. One basic issue that should be easily “sold” to the people is whether their dollars (via taxes, insurance premiums, or out of pocket) should go to their treatment or to the minions of the “health” insurance industry’s owners in order to further commodify the lives of the People. It is such a simple concept yet the noise machine on the right has just amped up their messaging by vilifying social ideas as treasonous. That the right stoops to ridiculing a duly elected congressperson by showing her dancing during her college years is tragically comical. That the drooling MAGAts lap up this narrative is even more tragic. Sans improvements in civic education, this country is doomed. Perhaps the key to political victory should be to promise a corn dog in every hand.


“… my union healthcare plan is really good, why would I give it up for single-payer?”

The answer is that you know that group health insurance works best for everyone and we’re simply going to let everyone participate. Even middle aged, white, Trump-voting ex-factory workers can understand that.

The ACA has proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, that piecemeal legislation will always be vulnerable to dismantling by a thousand cuts, legislatively and in the courts. Trying to defend the public good from armies of lawyers and lobbyists will always be a hopeless task. Single Payer needs to be implemented all at once and, like in Canada, it can become the most beloved institution in the country.


One thing I wonder about is why the argument has not been sharpened regarding the fact of MASSIVE “socialism” for corporations, and capitalism for individual human persons. In this case the “corporation as person” indicates a sociopath if not psychopathic priorities - which also applies in general. EPA/ecological priorities for example.

Medicare / single payer seems to represent the keystone in overarching struggle against this Feudalism 4.0 being clawed at by ALEC and related legislative poseurs cannibalizing an economic model of predation that has hit the wall.

Doctors should be laying the goals and politicians and pharma working under and with them to provide a coherent system. The tail is doing its damdest to wag this dog to kingdom come.

The fight is ON!


For ‘MASSIVE “socialism” for corporations, and capitalism for individual human persons’ we could probably just use the term “CRONYISM”, says this disenfranchised representative of the People.

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It is very simple, we cannot put our Health in the hands of FOR PROFIT private Insurance Companies.

It is immoral, unethical and idiotic to think that a corporation dedicated to their Stockholders would put the Health requirements of their customers before the need to increase PROFITS.

Yesterday Republican light Senator Klobuchar said she did not support Medicare For All because she did not want to put the private insurance companies out of business.

Now we understand where this corporate hack stands.

She would rather her constituents pay exorbitant fees, especially for pre-existing conditions, to private insurance companies, than be concerned that her constituents get the Health Care coverage they need.

Let the private insurance companies concentrate on insuring homes and automobiles and not People.

Another congress person putting the Profits of Corporations before the health and well being of WE THE PEOPLE.


Pelosi “giving assurances to the insurance industry” confirms that the Democratic Party leadership is exactly where it was a decade ago when Obama (after serially criticizing Bill Tauzin during the 2008 campaign) launched the ACA process in February 2009 by secretly meeting with Tauzin to assure him that the ACA would continue the ban on the US gubmit negotiating drug prices.

Tauzin was the Congressman who spearheaded the huge corporate welfare program disguised as 2003 Medicare Part D legislation. Upon its passage, Tauzin resigned from Congress to take a $2 million/year K Street gig with the drug industry.

This article is a fantastic consolidation of analysis that I and many other CD posters and authors have expressed during the past decade, and Dr. Gaffney’s fears that real health care reform will again be co-opted are well founded.


This country uses taxpayer money to fund the most technologically advanced medical system in the world, then turns it over to private, for-profit corporations whose only goal is to charge as much as possible while delivering as little care as possible. NO ONE can dispute that simple truth, and still we refuse to confront it.


Very impressed with Dr. Gaffney, his knowledge of the subject and proven progressive background makes him a perfect fit to lead PNHP at this critical time.
Physicians, IMHO either support single payer, or they’re against it. The first group reminds me of the physicians of my childhood who truly cared about their patients physical and financial wellbeing, the latter care about money, their money. There are far too many in todays system that fall into the second group.


It also stupid to suggest that something like healthcare should operate under “Free Market” principles. When someone is suffering a heart attack they do not shop around for the best price or run to the internet to see where they can get the most bang for the buck.

Nor would people sit with a Doctor and discuss options that could lower costs as in…

Doctor: Mary we need to put a stent into the artery going to your brain or you will suffer a stroke.

Mary :How much will that cost?

Doctor: 168000 dollars but you can expect to live another 20 years in good health.

Mary: I only can afford 8800$ and that my entire life savings.

Doctor: Ok we can give you this pill for that much. You can get a 1 year supply for 8800$$.

Mary: And after my money runs out?

Doctor: You die. Who wants to live without money anyways?

Mary: Maybe I should just die now.?

Doctor: Not until I get that 8800$$.

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I’ll take mine --straight up.

Dear Senator Clockbar, Good Bye and Good Riddance.

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If we take back the Senate, this is my plea, and it is from the heart: Please please don’t waste months fiddling with the details; just extend Medicare eligibility to a younger group. Time is on ‘their’ side, as the Hillary health care committee debacle demonstrated. We need the momentum of a quick win and fast results. We can visit the details later.

Your point is well taken. Progress is a bitch: There is always tension between incremental change and revolutionary change. Too rapid change can be destructive, losing the baby with the bath water, but incremental change often fails to maintain itself. ACA (“Obamacare”) was an incremental change, neither great nor small, and its internal contradictions (like those of capitalism itself) are as great a threat to its continuation as the attacks from those who oppose all change that benefits anyone except those they see as peers.

I have been following this issue for at least 30 years, at first rather casually but in more detail for the past decade. For many reasons I doubt that any incremental step between tiny tweaks to ACA and at least universal single-payer financing (leaving the private provision of actual health care intact but subject to strict regulation) will fail if it is implemented. Some but not all of the reasons are presented in the article. A lot of people have been putting a lot of thought into this transition for a long time. We have dozens of examples worldwide of what works well and what works only poorly, and they have been studied widely and deeply

To simplify more - ‘you’ll pay less in taxes than you pay now for private insurance, but get better care.’


“Doctor: Not until I get that 8800$$.”

Either that or - Doctor: Not until I get my fee for this sixty second medical consultation.