The Democratic Enemies of Medicare for All


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.


October 07, 2015
Nancy Scheper-Hughes
Witness to a Troubled Saint-Making: Junipero Serra and the Theology of Failure
Luciana Bohne
The Double-Speak of American Civilian Humanitarianism
Joyce Nelson
TPP: Big Pharma’s Big Deal
Jonathan Cook
Israel Lights the Touchpaper at Al-Aqsa Again
Joseph Natoli
The Wreckage in Sight We Fail To See
Piero Gleijeses
Jorge Risquet: the Brother I Never Had
Andrew Stewart
Do #BlackLivesMatter to Dunkin’ Donuts?
Rajesh Makwana
#GlobalGoals? The Truth About Poverty and How to Address It
Joan Berezin
Elections 2016: A New Opening or Business as Usual?
Dave Randle
The Man Who Sold Motown to the World
Adam Bartley
“Shameless”: Hillary Clinton, Human Rights and China
Binoy Kampmark
The Killings in Oregon: Business as Usual
Harvey Wasserman
Why Bernie and Hillary Must Address America’s Dying Nuke Reactors
Tom H. Hastings
Unarmed Cops and a Can-do Culture of Nonviolence
October 06, 2015
Vijay Prashad
Afghanistan, the Terrible War: Money for Nothing
Mike Whitney
How Putin will Win in Syria
Paul Street
Yes, There is an Imperialist Ruling Class
Paul Craig Roberts
American Vice
Kathy Kelly
Bombing Hospitals: 22 People Killed by US Airstrike on Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan
Ron Jacobs
Patti Smith and the Beauty of Memory
David Macaray
Coal Executive Finally Brought Up on Criminal Charges
Norman Pollack
Cold War Rhetoric: The Kept Intelligentsia
Cecil Brown
The Firing This Time: School Shootings and James Baldwin’s Final Message
Roger Annis
The Canadian Election and the Global Climate Crisis
W. T. Whitney
Why is the US Government Persecuting IFCO/Pastors for Peace Humanitarian Organization?
Jesse Jackson
Alabama’s New Jim Crow Far From Subtle
Joe Ramsey
After Umpqua: Does America Have a Gun Problem….or a Dying Capitalist Empire Problem?
Murray Dobbin
Rise Up, Precariat! Cheap Labour is Over
October 05, 2015
Michael Hudson
Parasites in the Body Economic: the Disasters of Neoliberalism
Patrick Cockburn
Why We Should Welcome Russia’s Entry Into Syrian War
Kristine Mattis
GMO Propaganda and the Sociology of Science
Heidi Morrison
Well-Intentioned Islamophobia
Ralph Nader
Monsanto and Its Promoters vs. Freedom of Information
Arturo Desimone
Retro-Colonialism: the Exportation of Austerity as War By Other Means
Robert M. Nelson
Noted Argentine Chemist Warns of Climate Disaster
Matt Peppe
Misrepresentation of the Colombian Conflict
Barbara Dorris
Pope Sympathizes More with Bishops, Less with Victims
Clancy Sigal
I’m Not a Scientologist, But I Wish TV Shrinks Would Just Shut Up
Chris Zinda
Get Outta’ Dodge: the State of the Constitution Down in Dixie
Eileen Applebaum
Family and Medical Leave Insurance, Not Tax Credits, Will Help Families
Pierre-Damien Mvuyekure
“Boxing on Paper” for the Nation of Islam, Black Nationalism, and the Black Athlete: a Review of “The Complete Muhammad Ali” by Ishmael Reed
Lawrence Ware
Michael Vick and the Hypocrisy of NFL Fans
Gary Corseri - Charles Orloski
Poets’ Talk: Pope Francis, Masilo, Marc Beaudin, et. al.
Weekend Edition
October 2-4, 2015
Henry Giroux
Murder, USA: Why Politicians Have Blood on Their Hands
Mike Whitney
Putin’s Lightning War in Syria