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Medicare For All: Accept No Substitutes


Medicare For All: Accept No Substitutes

Richard Eskow

Today, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced the Medicare for All Act of 2019. A companion bill of the same name has already been introduced in the House by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA). That’s good news for the country. Unfortunately, these bills are facing opposition from what, for some people, will be an unexpected direction.



Hope everyone listens to The Zero Hour. Great show.

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It’s time for healthcare for all. I worked most of my career with no healthcare coverage. I made too much money to qualify for assistance. So I suffered several illnesses that needed medical attention. Screw that, it’s time and Bernie represents the best hope.



After making the ACA a profit in complexity program, the Democrats are attempting to make further health care actions profit in confusion programs.



There is only one single payer. It is the government as the payer. A multi-payer system is not single payer by definition, because single denotes one. It’s really complicated for the centrist types I know, since they want to pretend to support something they don’t.

People often claim that the polls show that support for single payer isn’t as strong as some say. KC here likes to use the term “soft polling”, but that’s ridiculous. Yes, if you “bring in more facts” support can drop, but Sean Hannity “brings in more facts” about Democrats and the left all the time, and that too impacts how people think, now doesn’t it? The question is whether those facts give an accurate picture of an issue, or if they are (like Hannity) facts brought up to get people to think in a particular way.

For example, one fact that could be brought up but never is by polls done by organizations like Kaiser (Kaiser opposes single payer, never mentioned); in the US system, up to 45,000 people die every year. This isn’t found in single payer systems. Would you be more likely to support single payer if it saved 45,000 Americans every year, almost half a million of the course of a decade (think about how sick we are as a country that we are even debating this)? Is that ever asked?

Polls will ask about taxes. If taxes increase in order to fund single payer, would you support moving to a single payer system? But, that too isn’t honest. If you want to fund single payer in a revenue neutral way, yes, taxes would go up for most. But, what they don’t mention is the elimination of out of pocket expenditures. Not mentioning this is dishonest. So, instead of asking about increased taxes, it would be more accurate to say that single payer could lead to more taxes, but for most the reduction in out of pocket expenditures would more than offset any tax increases for most people. Do the polls ask a question on taxes and single payer that reflect this reality, or do they pretend that taxes would go up and there would be no offsetting reduction in out of pocket expenditures?

Do they ask about how we force people into bankruptcy because of healthcare related expenditures and single payer doesn’t? Do they ask about the job lock being gone?

Or, do they go over single payer systems and studies showing trillions in savings and ask something like, “If we could have single payer, it would be comprehensive and wouldn’t be tied to work, and if it could save you money and the country trillions of dollars, would you be more likely to support it?”

Again, could they bring up more facts like that and ask questions in an objective way? Yes, but they frame the questions to get the answers they want. Hannity does that on TV, KC does that on sites like this, and Pelosi does that everywhere there is a mic.



Hi JoanRobinson: Yes , Yes, Yes, there is only one payer in Medicare for ALL and it is the GOVERNMENT.
Dear Democrats and GOPers and all you in Congress, if you’re looking for a different party:
Please reread the Preamble: Are you fulfilling that? No, and it’s been so many years since 1776, and even 1787 too. If you read what this says and ask, would MEDICARE for ALL totally complete the health care part of everything in this preamble???
YES, YES, YES is the answer:
“WE the PEOPLE in order to form a more perfect union; establish Justice; insure domestic tranquility; promote the general welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

In case Congress doesn’t understand, here’s your translation:
CONGRESS YOU can’t have a more Perfect Union if people are dying , people of all ages in all families:and without care for all there is NO Justice, and you certainly won’t have Domestic Tranquility where the people feel like they are living in a Charles Dickens novel, and really how can you provide for the Common Defense when , you Congress won’t help your fellow citizens? That’s s not promoting the General Welfare at all! Without health there is NO liberty, so you can’t be securing any blessings of Liberty when you exclude all the People
YOU can’t have a more perfect union with sick people,—besides those people back then when this nation was forming, THEY secured all these blessings for themselves and Posterity—everyone who comes after.
So Stop screwing around Congress, and fulfill the Preamble for the People—IT’s TIME!
And MEDICARE for ALL, is the first step towards the MORE PERFECT UNION! : )



Eskow writes:

“Neither Medicare for All nor its alternatives will pass the current Senate, so we need a plan that will help shift political power. Medicare for All is compelling enough to do that in a way that the weaker alternatives aren’t.”

That’s exactly right and points to the fact that almost no one in the Democratic Party has been willing – for DECADES now – to STAND UP AND FIGHT for anything at all that would impinge upon the looting class.

It is by having strong principles, and speaking boldly, that you inspire people. The Democrats (and their apologists in these threads) often act as though they “own” your vote, and that you are somehow betraying them (and the country!) if you do not vote for them. As if it truly does not matter that what they offer voters is an insipid mish-mash AT BEST. At worst, transparently seen and understood now by most voters (at least viscerally understood if not intellectually), what they offer is progressively selling-out the people and the republic to predatory corporate profiteers.

More than half the people do not vote now, and that is largely the fault of horrible Party leaders and the corrupt predatory profiteers who own them, NOT the fault of “the people” who are sick and sickened by voting for our own betrayal, election after election.

Sanders and the new crop of forthright, bold and unashamed progressives are a breath of political fresh air, and are inspiring voters in ways that have not been seen in decades. By pushing and not stopping Medicare for All, there is the real opportunity to “shift political power” as Eskow points out, and CHANGE the Party and the Senate over the course of a couple of elections to make these bold intelligent programs possible. “Medicare for All is compelling enough to do that in a way that the weaker alternatives aren’t.” Which is precisely why the neoliberal sell-outs and media mouthpieces work so hard on behalf of their predatory corporate backers to muddy the waters and confuse voters.




I would have agreed with Mr. Eskow last week. However, I heard Suzanne Gordon speak on Pacifica. She has studied the VA for many years, and determined that it is a well-functioning, government run, health care provider.

Therefore, I recommend that Veterans Administration health care (VHA) be expanded to include all those in the U.S.

Ms. Gordon has written extensively about the VA.



If you believe in the Overton window concept, it would be good idea for someone to put out a bill to do just that and then some people may be more likely to tolerate the Medicare For All concept. I’ve never been keen on the Overton window concept and so I’m not interested in advocating for something that has zero chance of moving forward. The likelihood of the VA solution (sometimes called the NHS solution since this is the way Britain does it) coming to the US anytime soon is about as likely as every household getting rid of every car and riding their bike every day instead. Sure it would be great, but it isn’t going to happen. Getting them to drive electric cars would make a huge difference just as an M4A solution will.

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I get my healthcare from the VA. It has equal quality care and my appointments are scheduled equally as fast. The one difference might be that the VA gets me in close to the appointed time. In contrast, regular doctors always seem to be running late.



Cuba actually has superior health care, and superior health outcomes, at a fraction of the cost of the murderous US system. Here’s a comparative chart that assesses health outcomes in both countries.

Every industrialized country in the world now has superior health care, and superior health outcomes, at far less cost than the murderous US system. Nobody is stealing anything to make that happen.

The stealing happens in the predatory murderous US system, where predatory profiteering corporate criminals and their corporate death panels skim literally billions annually from human suffering, and condemn tens of thousands to unnecessary suffering and early death, for no reason other than their greed and their billions stolen from us.

Reality does not matter to you. You live on Fantasy Ideology Island. Enjoy the weather.

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Plus your “constitutional” ruse is bullshit. Congress has the authority to raise funds, and to spend them, and “promote the general welfare” is in the first sentence of the Constitution, along with “we the people.”

Again, fantasy ideology. i’m sure you’ll wake up any moment from your fever dream…

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Gerald Friedman, professor at UMass, wrote an appraisal of a cheaper version of Medicare for All. “Medicare for all could be cheaper than you expect”, Sept. 2017. He published it at Dollars and Sense magazine. It was cheaper because it included only the current Medicare services which exclude vision, hearing and mental health. Friedman advocates for the expanded, more expensive version. He’s written recently for that fuller version. The costs are huge but not daunting, but they should be spelled out. This article is not as helpful as most Richard Eskow articles are. The current system of private insurers imposes a “medical insurance tax”, and MfA would eliminate that and the net effect would be a cheaper and better system, cheaper by 10%. Another article today at Common Dreams states that a family of four would pay a 4%-of-income tax on income above $29,000. Today the median four-person family earns pre-tax $94,000, so they would pay 4% of $63,000, or $2,520. Is that accurate? Is that too difficult to spell out? The average expense is about $9,000 per person, $36,000 for a 4 person family, and they pay in premiums around $16,000 a year I believe. So there is a huge savings for those high earning 4 person households. “How Will You Pay for It?” is the Common Dreams article. Simplify: Medicare for All will cut total spending by 10%, insure every citizen, and include more services, and reduce expenses to the, lets say, lower earning 90% of households, and will not eliminate private insurance for those who still want to buy it. And also mention that since 1972 the richest 1% has received 56% of all income growth in the U.S., see “The New Gilded Age” at epi.org, the pdf download, page 12. The richest 400 own more than the poorest 60% or 150 million U.S. adults. We’ve been through decades of rip-off economic policy and we should tax the rich to pay for normal human basic necessities. I write a blog: http://benL88.blogspot.com



Well, you’re as ignorant as a rock then. You simply ignore facts - the USA has THE WORST health care system in the industrialized world, with THE WORST health outcomes for the citizens, and pays BY FAR, BY FAR, THE MOST for this evil contraption designed to steal billions from our pockets. And you babble about libertarian fantasy ideology, the facts be damned, the tens of thousands of people who needlessly die every year be DAMNED, the actual desires of the people of the USA be damned.

You are a real God-damned piece of work!



You are free to cling to your ignorance, but the large majority of US citizens, including a majority of Republican voters, have left ignorance behind, and now support changing the US system from predatory corporate death panels, to Medicare for All.

Enjoy your ideology. We’ll enjoy reality.



Yes, you can’t believe what people say when asked! Damn those multiple public polls that demonstrate wide support! Ideologue Yankee just KNOWS, and damn those pesky facts!