FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Democratic Enemies of Medicare for All

by GRAEME ANFINSON

When Barack Obama decided to take ownership of a right-wing idea pushing market exchanges for private insurance, with mandates and subsides to make sure everyone bought the product, as a fix for our embarrassing health care system- it was clear we were in trouble. Now, as Obamacare is finally up and running, we see the most tech savvy Presidential Administration in history fail to build a functioning website. (Ironically, given the NSA revelations, when people actually want to give the government their personal information they seem incapable of taking it.) I remember heated conversations with liberals who assured me this was the best we could get, as conservatives would do anything to stop a plan that didn’t involve private insurance and marketplaces. Anything? Like shutdown the government even?

Quietly, while this mess was going on, some people continued to receive affordable treatment. Unlike Obamacare, this is actually a government program. Even the people who support Ted Cruz’s McCarthyite ramblings tend to support it. It is called Medicare. It is popular. It works. And it could truly bring down costs. Compare and contrast “Obamacare” with “Medicare for all.” One is convoluted and divisive, the other self-explanatory and familiar.

An honest critique of Obamacare is a critique of health insurance as a whole. A company that sells insurance, no matter what for, does it for one reason and one reason only- to make money. This makes our healthcare more expensive. We have a third party that needs to extract profit from the relationship between a doctor and his or her patient.

Having health insurance is also not the same as having access to healthcare. On top of the expensive monthly premiums, there are co-pays and deductibles that are huge barriers to getting treatments. We have in-network providers, out-of-network providers, and a book full of policies and percentages that gets changed every year. Obamacare further entrenches this mess into our lives.

Medicare for all would give us the collective power of buying in bulk. It would keep costs low, essentially using a strategy Walmart loves to exploit. If the government purchases the vast majority of the health care services and products across the country, that gives them huge leverage to bargain down costs.

While this is all well known, there is little political will to even bring the issue up. But the problem is not simply with the tea party. They are more concerned with attacking Barack Obama, for whatever reason, than providing any sort of comprehensive healthcare reform. The problem lies with the Democrats. Obama, the supposed great orator, certainly could have explained the need for Medicare’s expansion, at least as a starting point. The idea could have been taken up by any number of leading Democrats. There certainly would be pushback from the insurance industry, but this is inevitable for any reform to healthcare (it even was for Obamacare, which guarantees them customers).

The truth is the Democratic Party as a whole is ideologically against a national healthcare system. This seems obvious to anyone who has followed the issue somewhat closely, but many liberals have somehow convinced themselves that if only the nasty Republicans would be more reasonable we could finally get the healthcare the rest of the industrialized world enjoys. Until then, Obamacare is the best we will get so we should support it. That is nonsense. Those of us fighting for Medicare for all during the implementation of Obamacare need to both keep the conversation going and realize the Democrats are more adversary than ally.

Graeme Anfinson lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

August 30, 2016
Russell Mokhiber
Matt Funiciello and the Giant Sucking Sound Coming Off Lake Champlain
Mike Whitney
Three Cheers for Kaepernick: Is Sitting During the National Anthem an Acceptable Form of Protest?
Alice Bach
Sorrow and Grace in Palestine
Sam Husseini
Why We Should All Remain Seated: the Anti-Muslim Origins of “The Star-Spangled Banner”
Richard Moser
Transformative Movement Culture and the Inside/Outside Strategy: Do We Want to Win the Argument or Build the Movement?
Nozomi Hayase
Pathology, Incorporated: the Facade of American Democracy
David Swanson
Fredric Jameson’s War Machine
Jan Oberg
How Did the West Survive a Much Stronger Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact?
Linda Gunter
The Racism of the Nagasaki and Hiroshima Bombings
Dmitry Kovalevich
In Ukraine: Independence From the People
Omar Kassem
Turkey Breaks Out in Jarablus as Fear and Loathing Grip Europe
George Wuerthner
A Birthday Gift to the National Parks: the Maine Woods National Monument
Logan Glitterbomb
Indigenous Property Rights and the Dakota Access Pipeline
National Lawyers Guild
Solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against Dakota Access Pipeline
Paul Messersmith-Glavin
100 in Anarchist Years
August 29, 2016
Eric Draitser
Hillary and the Clinton Foundation: Exemplars of America’s Political Rot
Patrick Timmons
Dildos on Campus, Gun in the Library: the New York Times and the Texas Gun War
Jack Rasmus
Bernie Sanders ‘OR’ Revolution: a Statement or a Question?
Richard Moser
Strategic Choreography and Inside/Outside Organizers
Nigel Clarke
President Obama’s “Now Watch This Drive” Moment
Robert Fisk
Iraq’s Willing Executioners
Wahid Azal
The Banality of Evil and the Ivory Tower Masterminds of the 1953 Coup d’Etat in Iran
Farzana Versey
Romancing the Activist
Frances Madeson
Meet the Geronimos: Apache Leader’s Descendants Talk About Living With the Legacy
Nauman Sadiq
The War on Terror and the Carter Doctrine
Lawrence Wittner
Does the Democratic Party Have a Progressive Platform–and Does It Matter?
Marjorie Cohn
Death to the Death Penalty in California
Winslow Myers
Asking the Right Questions
Rivera Sun
The Sane Candidate: Which Representatives Will End the Endless Wars?
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia District Attorney Hammered for Hypocrisy
Binoy Kampmark
Banning Burkinis: the Politics of Beachwear
Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail