Dems Healthcare Fight

I do wish Democrats would quit beating one another up over healthcare plans.

We’re all in favor of universal coverage, right?

The American people are overwhelmingly in favor of it.

So much so that President Trump is reviving claims he made in this first campaign that he’s going to give America the best health plan ever–the best in the world–and inexpensive, too.

Of course, we have to re-elect him to see it.

Republicans have failed to come up with a plan for 10 years–possibly because Obama, in an attempt to get bipartisan cooperation, borrowed the most viable Republican plan, one that used government money to guarantee private profits.

But Republicans have constantly attacked the Affordable Care Act. A group of Republican attorney generals and two governors succeeded in getting a lower court to declare the law unconstitutional.  It’s in the New Orleans appellate court now, and the Trump Administration is showing no interest in defending Obama’s greatest accomplishment.

Democrats want the United States to join the civilized world in seeing people get needed health care.

But, somehow, they still find a lot to disagree about. So much so that Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) reacted to last week’s debates with a guest editorial entitled, “It’s time for Democrats to get their facts right on Medicare-for-All.”

One of the authors of the Medicare-for-All bill before Congress, Jayapal was upset by the debates. “I did not expect misrepresentations from Democratic presidential candidates about what the bill is and is not.”

Jayapal rebukes the candidates who argued that Americans–particularly union members–do not want to give up their private insurance. Although some polls indicate people like their insurance, she claims more detailed ones indicate it’s their doctors and treatment centers people care about. When assured that the option is government insurance, not government healthcare, people are okay.

Even union members. Jayapal points out that many unions–actually 21–are leading the fight for Medicare-for-All.

Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, reacted to the debates by saying she is angered that any candidate would attempt to pit the 16 million union workers against the “millions of Americans struggling to get health care coverage.”

Candidates also attacked Medicare-for-All for costing $3 trillion a year–that’s what Americans currently pay for health care.

Jayapal asks, “Would you be willing to pay more in taxes each month if you saved more money by not paying private insurance premiums, deductibles and co-pays and were guaranteed high-quality health care?”

Candidates in favor of  Medicare-for-All repeatedly dismissed these two arguments–love of private insurance and high cost of covering everyone–as “Republican talking points.”

And they are.

The real difference between adding a “public option” and Medicare-for-All–between making government insurance a choice and providing it to everyone–is what will happen to some major corporations/campaign contributors.

There is no question where Jayapal stands.

“We simply cannot expect to bring down the costs of healthcare in the United States without taking on the for-profit insurance and pharmaceutical corporations which are raking in billions of dollars at the cost of American lives.”

For a time, service was a major goal for these industries. But now insulin that can be purchased for $65 in the U.K. and $19 in Italy costs $350 in the U.S.

A patient may be told that a clinic is “in network” only to face a $500,000 charge for kidney dialysis when his or her insurance company decides otherwise.

So that is the real choice facing us. Can we save lives by reining in profit-driven companies? Or must we shaft investors to get the profit motive out of healthcare altogether?

Note this editorial by Judy Ferro published by Idaho Press – 2019

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