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Why Appalachia (and the Whole Nation) Needs a Single Payer Healthcare System


Why Appalachia (and the Whole Nation) Needs a Single Payer Healthcare System

Katie Lee

During a rural medical outreach visit in East Tennessee, I met a woman who had become concerned after she found a lump in her breast. She was 44 years old, only a year younger than her mother was when she died of breast cancer at 45. The patient had not seen a physician in many years because she could not afford the copay and she had to drive 45 minutes to reach her appointment that day. She was working as a waitress and had no health insurance, which further delayed her seeking care. She had a history COPD and methamphetamine abuse, but had been clean for five years.


We also have had a form of it in the UK since the early 1950s and it works brilliantly when it is not being dismantled by the neoliberal right.

A better strategy is to quit dodging these accusations of "socialism" and instead say "damn right it is socialism!"


Obama and Clinton once favored universal healthcare too until moneyed healthcare companies changed their minds. The allure of cash for most individuals who run for office is too strong for them to press on with their convictions no matter how much the people want to break free of this corporate nightmare we know as the American healthcare industry. Healthcare justice can only come about if a political party makes universal healthcare (with no health insurance companies allowed!) a core element of their ideological platform. Until that happens, don't expect people to come out and vote or if they do, don't be surprised when they vote for the least qualified candidate that corporate America has served up to us.
The Democrats for healthcare justice must abandon the Party if universal healthcare is not a core promise of the next candidate. Reversing Citizens United, defunding the military by at least half, recognizing global warming as a reality, increasing the Federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, introducing free college tuition and taxing corporations to the pre 1960 levels are all necessary to regain the public trust in what so far has been nothing more than a corporate dog and pony show passing itself off as a legitimate representation of the people.


I prefer to simply call it pragmatism. It's the logical solution to the problem. All the facts and experiences we have tell us it is the right thing to do. It's not about ideology, it's about best results and moral imperatives.


Unfortunately, at his core, Trump is simply a coward; he lacks the spine to stand up to the Republican base and say what he knows (or at least supposedly believes) is true (assuming he can discern truth from lie -- an outstanding question I believe) and which is at odds with their ideology -- and they only operate from the basis of ideology, not logic or problem solving skills or least of all, facts.

I wish the author's entreaty to Trump could persuade him to take such action, but I'm pessimistic that it will.


It would be nice to have a medicare for all system. It would probably be nice for employers as well. Let's realize however that nothing comes for free- that one way or the other this will cost. Right now, we have an aging society with a lot of people who have aged out or even been forced out of work, so the mystery lies in how will this get paid for? Since there are more people in the older bracket, there are also more drawing from medicare and social security so there is a sort of topsy turvy situation . We need more more not fewer people in the workforce.


I think not. In fact, the cost of a Medicare-For-All system is much lower than what we have now. Medicare-For-All comes at a savings, not a cost.

These are drivers that exist regardless of what system we have. These costs will paid one way or another, as increased premiums under a for-profit insurance-based system, as losses incurred by health care providers or through misery and death by those that go unserved. The only thing that is topsy-turvy is the distribution of wealth and social responsibility.

This is largely irrelevant. What we need is a more equitable taxation system. Now that the 1% possess an egregiously large share of total wealth, they should bear a proportionate share of the burden; whether they are workers or passive investors is irrelevant. If they've got all the marbles, they have to put more marbles up to keep the system solvent. Were wealth more equitably shared in society, then so would the burden be, but that's not where we are. In light of our current wealth inequities, this is not a problem that should be borne by "workers" but by "share of wealth."


I do agree as do many that there is a wealth disparity problem - but what we have witnesses in the last decade especially is corruption- such as loop holes that at least some of the wealthy take advantage of. What we also need however of course are better wages and more jobs as well as a fairer tax system.


Your exactly right about that.


I always wondered why some people always viewed the gubmit as the "enemy." There is a book - I just heard a partial presentation about it. The word Amnesia is in the title. A professor from Yale wrote a book about how the US greatest economic times in the 1950s and 1960s were when the government invested heavily in infrastruture , public schools, parks et al. Today, we seem to see the public private unions that seem to work out as tax breaks for the very top, and then there are those who say "hands off!" as if the government is there enemy. They want to rebel against their own interests even. What is your opinion about that?


Agreed the real word is pragmatism - or simply "adopting policies which work". But nonetheless, as a tactical point in the grater strategy, something need to be done about finally burying this "socialism" as an attack word by taking ownership of the word.


Recall that in spring/summer of 2010, with a Democrat-controlled House, Senate, and Obama as President -- a presidency won in no small part by O's 2008 phoney campaign rhetoric in support of a Single Payer system, the goddawful insurance industry- written ACA legislation emerged instead, with a "do-pass" from Max Baucus's Senate Finance Committee --
wherein earlier, during July 2010 public hearings, Chairman Baucus, on intense pressure from Obama's White House, shamefully gavelled-down, and outrageously refused to take, any public testimony whatsoever from ANY proponents of a Single Payer system (many proponents being M.D.'s and hospital administrators from across the country, who had legally registered to testify in support of a Scandinavian-type system, but who were finally ordered, by Baucus, to be arrested & physically removed from the hearing room, by Capitol Police).
This episode, in which Beltway fauX Democrats, fROM Obama, on-down, blatantly caved-in to Industry "demands" that pro Single Payer testimony NOT EVEN BE ALLOWED to be heard, is all fully documented on numerous YouTube and other newsreel videos.
And, FWIW: In return for faux-Democrat Baucus's capitulation to faux-Democrat Obama's pro-corporate marching orders on this crucial hearing & related hearings/votes, Max Baucus, who was apparently weary of his Congressional Democrat leadership demands, very soon afterward left his Montana US Senate seat to accept O's plummy appointment of him to be the US Ambassador to PR China.

Point Is: Most Beltway-Official Democrats (with the notable exception of Bernie Sanders and few others, were never back then, nor are they now, sincerely interested in taking-on their Big Donors in the monopolized and sinfully-profit-bloated Health-care & Health Insurance Industry, And, obviously, lying madman & Oligarchy-rooted Trump is even more disingenuous (and slippery) in this regard.

So What's to be Done, on a citizen level, as the far-worse Republican Party & Trump now dismantle Obama's predictably faltering, Industry-written ACA..? Well, for one thing, upfront, and just for now: Try Hard to Not Get Sick....... .


Most of the people are pragmatic, in terms of what works best. The problem is that their so-called "Leaders", whether they be political, religious or corporate, convince them, using ideological arguments,
that what is good for them, is actually bad for them. Ideologues cannot be pragmatists. Pragmatists cannot be ideologues.


Drastic cuts in "Defense" spending would solve much of this, and other problems too.


I can't even tell if I agree or disagree with your post. Maybe you should give the "caps" key a break -- what the hell does "fROM" or "fuaX" mean? I would be better able to discern what you are saying if you just said it in plain prose.

My aside: Does anyone still speak English?


Simple distinction between socialized medicine and single payer.
Why do I only hear about more socially developed countries' medical approaches from Michael Moore's movie and a friend who travels to Europe? Culture and societies evolve via cross-fertilization of ideas. Why isn't our discussion centered on how well other countries' systems are working? And which elements are most likely to work here?
Is it worth it to those in power to keep individuals alive and healthy for continued production and consumption when there are excess numbers of job seekers, increasing automation, and expanding world markets? Do we value corporate profits over healthy environments, bodies and minds? For real? Is this U.S.?


Oha - You identify a crucial point in your 1st paragraph. -- lack of US mainstream news media coverage of successful, alternate systems in other advanced countries.
Despite M. Moore's movie being shown in many US movie theatres several yrs ago, it's explosive subject matter was never widely picked-up for sustained news coverage & public discussed by the MSM. .

PBS FRONTLINE also did an excellent documentary a few yrs ago, comparing well-run, public health care systems in W. Europe and Japan with the corporate-dominated, predatory system in the US. Here, too, the US mainstream news media generally ignored the PBS documentary's shocking comparisons. Unfortunately, most Americans still get their new & analysis from the corporate MSM, are are simply too overworked, tired, and disgusted to seek out alternative sources like PBS, or Michael Moore's movies, etc.

As with most public policy issues in the US today, the discussion of both realities and possibilities are increasingly mis- framed, or shallowly-framed, for broad public consumption by a de facto-dominant, Big Money/Corporate point of view.



RockyMountainView -- I agree with your criticisms/observations of my poorly-written post, above -- I tried to jam too many contextual details into a compacted text, which then turned-out to be a piece that was altogether too-long and wandering, anyway.
FWIW: the caps in "fROM" and "fauX" were typos that I though I had corrected.
Extreme fatigue didn't help, either.
Regards, Alex G.


Thanks. Been there, done that, too.


Sure sounds that way. We need to keep our voices with congress and other organizations.