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

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

January 17, 2017
John Pilger
The Issue is Not Trump. It is Us
John K. White
Is Equality Overrated, Too?
Michael J. Sainato
The DNC Hands the Democratic Party Over to David Brock and Billionaire Donors
John Davis
Landscapes of Shame: America’s National Parks
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Politicians and Rhetorical Tricks
Chris Busby
The Scientific Hero of Chernobyl: Alexey V. Yablokov, the Man Who Dared to Speak the Truth
David Macaray
Four Reasons Trump Will Quit
Chet Richards
The Vicissitudes of the Rural South
Clancy Sigal
“You Don’t Care About Jobs”: Why the Democrats Lost
Robert Dodge
Martin Luther King and U.S. Politics: Time for a U.S. Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Jack Sadat Lee
I Dream of Justice for All the Animal Kingdom
James McEnteer
Mourning Again in America
January 16, 2017
Paul Street
How Pure is Your Hate?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
Did the Elites Have Martin Luther King Jr. Killed?
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Clobbers Ocean Life
Patrick Cockburn
The Terrifying Parallels Between Trump and Erdogan
Kenneth Surin
The Neoliberal Stranglehold on the American Public University
Lawrence Davidson
Is There a Future for the Democratic Party?
Douglas Valentine
Who Killed MLK Jr?
Robert Fisk
The Foreign Correspondent in the Age of Twitter and Trump
Dale Bryan
“Where Do We Go from Here?”
David Swanson
The Deep State Wants to Deep Six Us
Dan Bacher
Obama Administration Orders Speedy Completion of Delta Tunnels Plan
Mark Weisbrot
Obama Should Make Sure that Haitian Victims of UN-Caused Cholera are Compensated
Winslow Myers
The Light of the World
Bruce Mastron
My Latest Reason to Boycott the NFL: Guns
Weekend Edition
January 13, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Gregory Elich
Did the Russians Really Hack the DNC?
Jeffrey St. Clair
The President Who Wasn’t There: Barack Obama’s Legacy of Impotence
Anthony DiMaggio
Ethics Fiasco: Trump, Divestment and the Perversion of Executive Politics
Joshua Frank
Farewell Obummer, Hello Golden Showers
Paul Street
Hit the Road, Barack: Some Farewell Reflections
Vijay Prashad
After Aleppo: the State of Syria
John Wight
Russia Must be Destroyed: John McCain and the Case of the Dodgy Dossier
Rob Urie
Meet the Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
The Russian Dossier Reminds Me of the Row Over Saddam’s WMDs
Eric Sommer
U.S.-China War: a Danger Hidden from the American People
Andrew Levine
Are Democrats Still the Lesser Evil?
Linda Pentz Gunter
What’s Really Behind the Indian Point Nuclear Deal?
Robert Fantina
Trucks, ‘Terror’ and Israel
Richard Moser
Universal Values are Revolutionary Values
Russell Mokhiber
Build the Bagdikian Wall: “Sponsored News” at the Washington Post
Yoav Litvin
Establishment Narcissism – The Democrats’ Game of Thrones
David Rosen
Return of the Repressed: Trump & the Revival of the Culture Wars
Robert Koehler
War Consciousness and the F-35
Rev. William Alberts
The New Smell of McCarthyism Demands Faith Leaders Speak Truth to Power
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail