A Year Closer to Medicare for ‘All’

The closer we get to victory, the more politicians in the service of  profiteering industries will pitch marketing scams, write Kevin Zeese and  Margaret Flowers.

Some of the Democratic presidential candidates during a July primary debate.

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers 

In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Medicare Act. Within a year, and without the aid of computers, the United States provided more than 19 million seniors with health coverage. Before the law existed, over half of the elderly in the United States did not have health insurance. Medicare, which now includes people with disabilities, just celebrated its 54th birthday.

Today, the U.S. is on the verge of another transformation. Thirty million people do not have health insurance and thousands of people die annually because of that sad fact. The healthcare crisis is also demonstrated by the separate but unequal reality that wealthy people in the U.S. live 15 years longer than poor people.

Momentum for National Improved Medicare for All is growing. That is being reflected in Congress and the presidential elections. As of last week, more than half the Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have signed on to HR 1384, the Medicare for All Act of 2019. Medicare for All was also a major topic in the most recent Democratic presidential debates.

Central Issue in 2020 Elections

National improved Medicare for All (NIMA) has become a litmus test issue in the Democratic Party primary for president. While corporate Democrats funded by Wall Street, the insurance and pharmaceutical industries are trying to stop progress, Democratic voters are showing the momentum may not be stoppable.

Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand. (Senate Democrats/Wikimedia Commons)

The two leading Medicare-for-All candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, have received the most donations of all the other candidates. One-in-three donors to the Democratic primaries donated to Sanders. This broad base of support is consistent with polls that show Democratic voters have reached a consensus: NIMA is essential. These voters have the power to nominate candidates who support Medicare for All if they insist on it. This consensus is the result of years of work by single-payer advocates. This is a movement that will not compromise in support of false solutions.

The Medicare for All Act not only expands health coverage to everyone from birth to death, but also improves Medicare for seniors by including more benefits such as dental, vision, hearing and long-term care. And, it does this without requiring premiums, co-pays or deductibles, saving people more than $300 billion annually in out-of-pocket costs.

All doctors, hospitals and other providers will be in a Medicare for All system so people will have complete choice of health services. Patients will not be limited by the narrow insurance industry networks, which often exclude cancer and other specialty centers – places people go when they are ill – to avoid paying for health care. Medicare for All means complete coverage, complete choice and freedom to change jobs or quit a job without fear of losing health coverage.

Research shows these changes are affordable because one-third of health-related expenditures are for administrative costs caused by the complex web of insurance plans. In addition to insurance company overhead, which ranges from  12.4 percent to  17.8 percent while Medicare has administrative costs of only 1.4 percent, doctors, hospitals and other providers also have high administrative costs due to interacting with thousands of different insurance plans. Having one-payer dramatically reduces the bureaucracy of healthcare. Research shows there could be $504 billion in yearly administrative savings with a single-payer system.

Improved Medicare for All creates hundreds of billions of savings that more than offset the increased costs of covering everyone and eliminating out-of-pocket expenses. In addition to reducing administrative waste, Medicare for All allows the federal government to negotiate with pharmaceuticals and providers to bring down the prices of care.

There are many ways to pay for Medicare for All. Congress routinely goes into debt to fund wars and militarism, so it is strange that for something as essential as healthcare cost is an issue. If increased taxes are needed, there have been a variety of proposals for progressive taxes. These proposals show that all but the wealthiest will pay less for healthcare under improved Medicare for all. Households earning under $130,000 per year would save the most money.

U.S. Capitol. (Johnny Silvercloud/Flickr)

Currently, the U.S. spends 18 percent of its GDP on healthcare and spending is rising faster than inflation and wages. This is an unsustainable expenditure that will be reduced with an improved Medicare for All system. Other wealthy countries with single-payer health systems generally spend less than 11.5 percent of their GDP on healthcare.

Medicare for All is good for businesses because they will no longer be subject to unpredictable increases in insurance costs. It is also good for the economy. Warren Buffett says our current healthcare system is a tapeworm on the U.S. economy and describes health care as a real problem for U.S. businesses.

False Proposals

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris during July primary debate.

The strategy of the industries that profit from healthcare is to confuse people with false information and false proposals that sound like Medicare for All. They create front groups to create the illusion of support for their proposals and donate to politicians who advocate for their interests.

These false proposals, like the one promoted by the so-called Center for American Progress, are designed to protect the industry, not fix the healthcare crisis. The Democratic leadership is addicted to insurance, pharmaceutical, and healthcare dollars. The people must be organized to defeat the industry and put in place the system we need.

Sen. Kamala Harris recently put forward a terrible policy proposal, which she called Medicare for All. The proposal has two major flaws. First, it requires a 10-year transition to improved Medicare for All. This is unnecessary as the Medicare system already exists and we are already spending enough on health care to cover everyone. There is no need for long delays. Second, she allows insurance industry theft of the Medicare for All system by including “Medicare Advantage” plans (these are private insurance plans).

Medicare Advantage is a heavily marketed scam on the elderly that costs the government more money than traditional Medicare and has the same flaws as private insurance. This proposal is bad policy and bad politics and should result in the defeat of Harris.

The most common false proposal is some form of a “public option.” Mayor Pete Buttigieg, one of Wall Street’s favorite candidates, calls this “Medicare for those who want it.” We call it “Medicare for some, not Medicare for all.”  A public option does not fix the system, it makes it worse by adding another insurance plan to an already too complex system. It foregoes 84 percent of the savings that a single-payer system would achieve.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the biggest recipient of donations from the industry, is another who refuses to advocate for what Democratic voters want. Biden continues to put forward false arguments against Medicare for All. He is stuck in the past and focused on saving the Affordable Care Act, or ACA.

The ACA is fundamentally flawed because it is based on the corrupt and expensive private insurance system. Biden is fading in the polls for a variety of reasons, but his refusal to support improved Medicare for All should end his campaign. Democrats must know that the public understands the issue and insists on improved Medicare for All.

Neither Republicans nor Libertarians are putting forward any healthcare plan, which resulted in Republicans losing in 2018. The Green Party has advocated for single-payer health care since the start. Ralph Nader ran on a platform that included Medicare for All as early as 2000.

Congress Must Do More

In addition to stopping the false non-solution promoted by corporate Democrats, the movement must push to improve both the House and Senate Medicare for All bills.

The Senate bill, SB 1129, sponsored by Sanders and 14 senators, is flawed in very serious ways. It needs to expand coverage of long-term care, provide global budgeting for hospitals and end the massive insurance loopholes of managed care structures like Accountable Care Organizations (ACO’s), which function like insurance plans.

The House bill is better but still needs improvement. Both the House and Senate bills need to end commodification of health care by eliminating for-profit hospitals and other facilities. The for-profits can be purchased by the healthcare system using a Treasury Bill financed over 15 years at a cost of 1 percent of total health spending. If the for-profits are kept in and regulated, as the House bill does, it is likely the owners will sell them or convert them to profit-making entities like condominiums as is happening in PhiladelphiaThe House bill needs to shrink the transition from two years to one year, and the Senate bill needs to shrink the 4-year transition currently proposed.

The movement must insist on the best possible improved Medicare for All bill so people get the healthcare they need, businesses can thrive and the economy is not drained by the cost of healthcare. The U.S. cannot afford to continue the insurance-dominated for-profit system it has; we must put in place improved Medicare for All.

On Verge of Winning

Medicare for All Rally, Los Angeles, February 2017. (Molly Adams/Flickr)

There are many signs that we are on the verge of winning the urgent and essential policy change of national improved Medicare for All.

The single payer movement has the power to win improved Medicare for All if it doesn’t back down. The closer we get to victory, the more the profiteering industries will fight us. In the Popular Resistance School for Social Transformation, we describe this push back as part of the process of winning, and we teach how movements can defeat the strategies of those who seek to maintain the status quo.

There are still hurdles before us, but if the movement continues to work to educate voters as well as to organize and mobilize, we will create a political environment where politicians across the political spectrum must support health care as a human right as embodied in an improved Medicare for All health system.

Tools to Assist Advocates:

Medicare for All Facts: This resource provides facts and citations about the critical issues in the Medicare for all debate.

Health Over Profit Tools for Activists: This includes tools to educate people and take action, descriptions of the current bills, how to influence business leaders, conservatives, the public and more.

Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers co-direct Popular Resistance.

A version of this article first appeared in PopularResistance.org.

Before commenting please read Robert Parry’s Comment Policy. Allegations unsupported by facts, gross or misleading factual errors and ad hominem attacks, and abusive language toward other commenters or our writers will be removed.

45 comments for “A Year Closer to Medicare for ‘All’

  1. August 12, 2019 at 05:55

    Out of everyone that I’ve talked to, absolutely zero people have said they wouldn’t mind paying for someone else’s healthcare.
    And zero people said that they wouldn’t mind the income tax rate going up to 70%.

    • Josep
      August 14, 2019 at 03:25

      How many people said they wouldn’t mind paying for someone else’s public roads? I mean, they’re a public service just as much as healthcare is, right?

  2. Dave Hormsan
    August 9, 2019 at 22:44

    Well that was really well written. But.

    A Year Closer to More Trump is the current status given the DNC elites.

  3. Newshound
    August 9, 2019 at 16:35

    Great piece that clearly lays out the positions of various candidates.

  4. Vera Gottlieb
    August 9, 2019 at 12:23

    I have lived in various countries, of varying social standings, but I have never seen a country so ANTI SOCIAL as the US. The well-being of any nation is dependent on the well-being of it’s citizens.

  5. August 9, 2019 at 07:39

    it is a naturally occurring, yellowish-black liquid found inside the earth surface. And it can be refined as a fuel. The consumption of petrol and diesel is increasing day-by-day as the world is developing. The rapid increase in demand of petrol and diesel leads to increase in the price of the petrol and diesel product. It is one of the most important source for economic development of the country.

  6. uncle tungsten
    August 8, 2019 at 21:32

    And you use an image of Elizabeth Warren?? She is in no way a sound supporter of medicare for all. Warren dissembles whenever closely questionèd. Sanders is the champion of Medicare for and there are thousands of file photographs of him at enormous rallies and you put an image of Warren at the podium. FAKE.

  7. Stephanie Warner
    August 8, 2019 at 16:10

    Isn’t Medicare For All what Canada has for their healthcare? And you hear about them coming to the U.S. to have medical procedures done because they are not approved by their government.
    Didn’t Sanders say he wanted to model our healthcare after the Netherlands and they, the Netherlands, admitted on television that there plan was flawed because a lot of their people had no access to healthcare at all. Especially the one’s in extreme poverty and outlying areas.
    The people in charge of this are all rich and have government healthcare so they really have no idea what is going on for the people below poverty level.

    • Zhu
      August 9, 2019 at 04:43

      I’m not holding my breath.

  8. DH Fabian
    August 8, 2019 at 15:07

    We spent over 20 years pointing out how Democrats split apart their own voting base, and the liberal bourgeoisie didn’t hear a word of it. Never mind the shocking crusade against Julian Assange (and all that he represents), the dangerously irresponsible Russiagate strategy, the drum-beating for war(s) for the sake of US corporate world domination, and so on. Forget everything the Democrat right wing have done since the 1990s. They now offer the middle class a New and Improved ACA. Misnaming it “Medicare for All,” promising to nudge down the price tag for consumers. (Don’t bother asking about their plans for Medicaid. They’re not saying.) What else could possibly matter?

  9. Patricia P Tursi
    August 8, 2019 at 14:05

    Me Too, Carol. We have been hoodwinked so many times & look at Bernie in the background. The picture is a metaphor for what is happening thanks to the gullibility of the populace, the manipulations of the Dems & the greed and determination of the media to maintain the status quo.

  10. August 8, 2019 at 13:59

    “Medicare for all” is NOT the same thing as universal, free healthcare. Not even close. I’m on Medicate, and I know what I’m talking about. Medicate does not cover everything. I have to carry supplemental health insurance at my own expense to cover what Medicare doesn’t pay for and sometimes still wind up having to pay something. As a socialist, I demand free UNIVERSAL healthcare. No complicated paperwork where you need to study higher mathematics to get each procedure coded correctly. No refusal of treatment whatsoever. Available to every person, citizen or not, all over the world. These fake “progressives” are charlatans.

    • DH Fabian
      August 8, 2019 at 15:18

      “Medicaid,” I assume. Low income seniors, etc., have dual benefits, with Medicaid covering the Medicare premiums, prescription costs, etc. From the start, we have asked those Democrats promoting Medicare for All, what their plans are for Medicaid. They still refuse to answer this question. What we do know is that Democrats have maintained their lead in dismantling the “social safety net.” That said, Congress knows that universal health care would make no sense in a country that denies basic human needs of food and shelter to those who aren’t of current use to employers. Since Democrats ended basic relief in the ’90s, the overall life expectancy of the US poor fell below that of every developed nation.

    • Brian
      August 9, 2019 at 12:43

      This is part of the confusion spread by the money interests inside the system. Read the bills authored by Sanders in the Senate and Jayapal in the house, both cover everything, including eye care, hearing, and dental. They are nothing like existing Medicare, and are in fact Expanded, Improved, Medicare for All, or EIM4A. The only procedures not covered are cosmetic procedures. The coding and paperwork you hate goes away under this plan, service is “free” at the point of the procedure. And by the way, there’s nothing for free, yes the middle class will see a small increase in taxes, this increase will be offset with no insurance premiums, or deductibles paid out of pocket, a financial win for the middle class and small businesses.

  11. vinnieoh
    August 8, 2019 at 10:33

    Even as young as teen age and didn’t know much about anything it angered me that the wealthiest and most powerful nation in our lifetimes (we were constantly told so) would continue to treat its citizens this way.

    I welcome the authors’ cautious optimism, and won’t qualify that by drifting into cynicism and defeatism. It does seem different this time around as it seems more people have realized the enormity of the scam being perpetrated by those getting rich off of it. Maybe all their usual tactics will backfire this time, but they have tactics they haven’t even rolled out yet. We won’t have to wait to see if M4A legislation is actually taken up. The accelerating trend in narrative control is to squash all popular contrary sentiment before it gains traction and spreads.

    Translating popular opinion and wishes into responsive government action is where this government is broken though. Gilens and Page documented what we already knew: when the political class isn’t actively working against the 99% of us, they certainly aren’t working for us. This of course includes SCOTUS which is on a capitalist ideological pogrom.

    So many things could be so easily fixed. There is nothing sacrosanct about voting on a Tuesday, or operating polling places for only one day, and certainly not about knowing the results before the evening’s coffee finishes brewing. When even the most powerful governments and businesses can’t keep their digital existence secure, we’re expected to put our faith in black-box voting? If you want the homeless and poor to work before you throw them a bone, have them count paper ballots. That should be seen as free of bias since most of them didn’t or couldn’t vote anyway.

    Well, I went and drifted. Try harder next time.

  12. geeyp
    August 8, 2019 at 00:50

    Medicare is certainly not perfect, although it is SEMI competent. I just want what the senate and house has for health coverage. It must feel great knowing you don’t have to worry regarding your care and paying for it. I feel they take it too much for granted, though.

    • August 8, 2019 at 14:00

      Everyone should have free healthcare, no restrictions, no conditions.

      • DH Fabian
        August 8, 2019 at 15:31

        What would be the logic of free health care in a country that denies the most basic human needs of food and shelter to those who are left jobless/many who can’t work? It should be obvious that people can’t maintain health without basic human needs. Not everyone can work (health, etc.) and US job losses long surpassed job gains. Democrats had ended basic relief for the jobless back in the 1990s. The fact that middle class (campaign donors) Democrats have been fine with this, has ensured that nothing will change.

  13. Doro Reeves
    August 7, 2019 at 21:12

    The healthcare extortion “industry” has got to go! I put “industry” in quotes because they do not manufacture or produce squat, or provide anything of actual value. Their one and only function is to block access to clinics, doctors and medicine so that they can extort as much money from us as they can get away with. What amazes me is that they’ve gotten away with this death-dealing BS as long as they have. I suppose we can thank “Citizens United” for that, at least in part.

    No way can an “industry” that makes a fortune denying us care, providing as little care as possible, be legitimate. I challenge anyone to explain how this cannot justifiably be characterized as an extortion racket.

  14. Tom Kath
    August 7, 2019 at 20:10

    We have an obsession bordering on adulation for sickness. Maybe we should be rewarding health rather than sickness. There is no question that people as a whole or on average, were much healthier when everyone smoked ! – Not because they smoked, but because good health was admired. Now, the greatest source of pride is being told by some medico that you have the worst case he’s ever seen.

    • geeyp
      August 8, 2019 at 00:54

      Tom Kath – Excellent, just excellent!

  15. Robert Severance
    August 7, 2019 at 18:34

    Opponents will resist tooth and nail (hammar and tongs?) using every possible lie and slander. It is just possible that “Socialism” will no longer work as a scare word , after a run of 150 years in the USA.

  16. Tom Moore
    August 7, 2019 at 15:55

    Thanks for a First Class and very readable analysis.

    Don’t forget two presidential candidates who stand behind this important legislation. Tulsi Gabbard and Kristen Gillibrand are both very much on board. They need to remain the race

  17. michael
    August 7, 2019 at 14:40

    When Donald Trump asked “Why can’t Medicare simply cover everybody?” He was quickly taken to the woodshed by the Establishment (RUSSIANS! RUSSIANS! RUSSIANS!)
    As Jimmy Dore has noted, when the bluest of blue states (California) had voted in their legislature for free universal state healthcare, the more powerful Democrats quickly killed the bill.
    As Hillary noted, universal health care is “a pony that will never ever happen”.
    Like immigration reform/border control, health care (which costs half as much with better outcomes in other industrialized nations) is TOO IMPORTANT an Election issue to ever resolve. Both parties will be posturing for years, while pocketing their donations from insurance, Pharma and other health care industry. The politicians have great health care already.

  18. Mark Thomason
    August 7, 2019 at 14:32

    This is edging into Medicaid for All.

    That’s is good. Medicaid works better than Medicare anyway, in my considerable experience with both.

    Medicaid, like some European systems, works in part by contracts with insurance companies, with a government option as a price control guideline, which contracts carefully require coverage for all and cost controls like bargaining for medication prices that isn’t allowed to Medicare by Federal law.

    Of course it could be sidelined, messed up, misused, abused. Those are the fears, and they are valid fears. However, there is really no other way forward from where we are than to face these abuses and defeat them head on.

    They will attempt such abuses, and they will gain some victories, and they will need to be stopped. That is still better than now, when they are running wild without check.

    August 7, 2019 at 13:35

    Healthcare is free in most countries in the world except in Corporate America —where the corporations run (own ) the country .

  20. Babyl-on
    August 7, 2019 at 12:47

    The medical and health care industry – and that is what it is, an industry. has annual revenues of over 3 trillion dollars. The corporations who generate this revenue have only their bottom line to consider. Human suffering is to continue, the empire must keep people sick and weak.

    Western civilization has never moved beyond feudalism. The global elite is the new courtiers, the kings are the families who control trillions of dollars, such as the Cargill family which owns millions of hectares of land all across the globe and have a huge influence over food supply and price.

    Doctors and nurses are not there to treat you they are revenue generation units patients are sources of revenue, an object to use to generate revenues.

    The US has been the handmaid to the global elite, their mussel, both military and financial, the US gov has been captured by the global elite.

    I’ll use this incomplete example:
    If Noam Chomsky was elected president and announced base closings and other policies which would be counter to the interests of the oligarchy he too would fail. Why, because the US would be bankrupt over night. The global elite have a core commingled block of capital over 50 trillion dollars – the USG is 22 trillion in debt. Coincidentally, the 22 trillion in debt happens to be about the same as the “missing” 21 trillion from the Pentagon’s budget.

    The civil parts of the USG are atrophying and being starved, while the institutions which support the oligarchy get more and more money.

    Another thing that people have missed is what happened in the 2008-9 financial crisis. The reason the banks were bailed out and not anyone else is because the financial system and even the dollar itself is almost entirely owned and operated by the big oligarch banks. Jamie Diamond or Blankfine and/or the owners of the 14 global banks simply said to Obama, bail us out or we will see to it the USG can not send out Social Security checks. The system of central banks is under the full control of the oligarchy, it is privately owned and does the bidding of the oligarchy – there is nothing “free” about it.

    This is a civilizational change in my view, and if it is not it will fail. Western civilization has failed, Western civilization has deliberately kept billions of people in poverty for hundreds of years Western civilization is responsible for the atomic bombs which slaughtered over 200,000 people – for the sole purpose of declaring an empire over the entire world. Slaughter is endemic to the very existence of this fantasized global empire. People talk about “forever war” in terms of Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East, but the truth of the historic record shows clearly that the USG has been (on behalf of the oligarchy) slaughtering innocent people around the globe EVERY SINGLE DAY Sense August 6, 1945. So it only took the people about 75 years to realize what their country is doing. Over the past 75 years billions of people have lived, suffered and died without a chance for any kind of decent life deliberately.

    I lived outside the us for over a decade and when I returned what I noticed is the fire-hose blasting propaganda 24/7 – it works.

  21. August 7, 2019 at 11:10

    MEDICARE was designed specifically for the aged 65 and older had more health issues- less insurance

  22. August 7, 2019 at 11:04

    Elizabeth Warren is a latecomer to M4A and therefore, I’m wondering why she is featured in the photograph in front of Bernie Sanders, who originated it.

  23. Drew Hunkins
    August 7, 2019 at 10:30

    Right now we have the ball 2nd down and 4 yards to go for a 1st down on the health industrial complex’s 22 yard line. We have their defense on its heels. If Bernie gets elected in 2020 we’ll have the ball 1st and goal from the 7 yard line, we’ll be poised to put this game away. We must keep our eyes on the goal line, don’t get distracted by any of their smooth talking points or slick distortions.

    Let’s get this touchdown and move on!

  24. August 7, 2019 at 10:28

    Warren did not endorse Medicare for All until June, 2019. Last year, she described herself as a “markets” person & as a capitalist. She proposed revamping the Insurance Health Care System. At the debate, Bernie supporters were herded by police and hidden so that Warren supporters were visible during debate breaks Likewise, Tulsi had her search taken down by Microsoft so she could not fund raise after the debate. Her anti imperialism is popular. Your picture suggests Warren as the Medicare for All leader…she isn’t. It is sad to see Consortium News following MSM and the status quo. As I understand it, the last I saw, Bernie had over a million supporters & she had less than 400,000. In 2016, she refused to support the progressive agenda and ecstatically supported Hillary & was jockeying for a position in her regime. I thought Consortium News could be trusted to cut through the rhetoric. The Controllers are using Warren to defeat Bernie by dividing progressives. I know that Warren is very ambitious and she has had her sights on a ladder climb. As a psychologist, I see Bernie desiring the presidency to accomplish what he has fought for for decades, not the accolades of the presidency. To my knowledge, Bernie has remained true to principle, does not use others and can be counted on to fight for what he believes. Warren acts as if she wrote “the damn bill”. Will she truly fight for it if elected? Or will she revert to her “Markets & Capitalistic” beliefs and support insurance health care?


    • Carol Diehl
      August 7, 2019 at 11:09

      THANK YOU SO MUCH! You said everything I was thinking. That photograph hit me like a slap in the face.

      • Patricia P Tursi
        August 8, 2019 at 14:04

        Me Too, Carol. We have been hoodwinked so many times & look at Bernie in the background. The picture is a metaphor for what is happe ni ng thanks to the gullibility of the populace, the manipulations of the Dems & the greed and determination of the media to maintain the status quo.

  25. DH Fabian
    August 7, 2019 at 10:21

    Clarification: Medicare AND Medicaid were enacted on July 30, 1965. Together. Medicare is not free heath care coverage. Low-income seniors and disabled former workers (those who were in the workforce for at least a certain number of years before becoming disabled) qualify for dual benefits, with Medicaid covering the Medicare premiums, prescription costs, etc. The disabled who were not formerly employed qualify for Medicaid.

    Medicare for All is not free, universal coverage. (The ACA had also been hyped in a way that misled people to think it was universal coverage as well.) Democrats have refused to state their plans for Medicaid, but we must note that Democrats have maintained their lead in the “war on the poor” since the 1990s. Without Medicaid, this plan would end coverage for low-wage workers, low-income seniors, and many of the disabled.

    • AnneR
      August 8, 2019 at 08:33

      Here DHF – we are in some agreement, I think. Of course I could be misunderstanding your statement: “Medicare is not free heath care coverage.” As I read what you have written, it is quite correct. There are monthly payments, deducted from one’s Social Security “check.” And what you pay per month depends upon the size of that “check.” I’m not saying that the ceiling is high, but it is *not* free.

      Moreover, if you have Medicare coverage without private health insurance two problems stand in your way at present (or do so in my late husband’s and my experience here in AZ): a) finding a medical practitioner who will take Medicare alone is not easy, at least at the PCP level very few around; b) when I was on Medicare only for a few months and had to see a gynecologist, we had to pay over $200 co-pay for an ultrasound (before the procedure was done) as well as a fee (forgotten what that was) for seeing the gynecologist.

      That was why we “chose” Medicare Advantage – not at all good for reasons connected with my husband’s death, but that is another story – many more doctors accepted it and the co-pays (depending upon the procedure) didn’t seem so bad. At the time.

  26. Sally Snyder
    August 7, 2019 at 08:03

    Here is an analysis showing the ultimate economic cost of Medicare For All:


    The current healthcare system in the United States is ineffective, inefficient and outrageously expensive and yet, Washington chooses to do nothing meaningful to improve the system.

  27. Skip Scott
    August 7, 2019 at 07:42

    Dismantling the war machine and getting single payer health care go hand-in-hand. Both are a HUGE waste of resources, human and monetary. It will be a tough fight that will not succeed until we remove bribery from politics. The Oligarchy is at work, with the help of the MSM lackeys, trying to inflame TDS to the point where they will be happy to settle for “corporate sponsored warmonger from column B”. Progressives need to make a stand in 2020.

    • DH Fabian
      August 7, 2019 at 10:39

      Congress knows that “single-payer,” or universal health care, would make no sense in a country that denies basic human needs to those left jobless. Its not going to happen. People can’t maintain health without adequate food and shelter. In fact, since the Clinton administration ended actual welfare aid in the 1990s, the overall life expectancy of the US poor fell below that of every developed nation. Democrats (Sen. Sanders include) have refused to state if their Medicare for All plan comes at the expense of Medicaid.

      • Calgacus
        August 8, 2019 at 03:45

        Congress knows that “single-payer,” or universal health care, would make no sense in a country that denies basic human needs to those left jobless. Its not going to happen.

        Huh? This comment is incomprehensible, not what you seem to be criticizing. Universal health care makes perfect sense under any conditions. It is the provision of a human need, not the denial of one. Of course we should not deny any other need, but better to have universal health care and no public housing say, than no universal health care and no public housing. How can anyone rationally disagree with that?

        And once we get universal healthcare, the momentum to rebuild a newer and better welfare state will be irresistible.

  28. triekc
    August 7, 2019 at 07:21

    Independent journalists continue to perpetuate the con that voters actually have voice and can change policy, if only they all showed up to vote blah blah blah. The US is not a democracy. Independent journalists have reported the 2016 election was rigged by the DNC and GOP, and nothing has changed since. The electoral college where the majority winner takes all and the two senator handicap giving an advantage to lightly populated rural states, made up of disproportionate numbers of white religious and/or right wing extremist. The Economist’s most recent Democracy Index, its 2017 evaluation issued in January 2018, showed that the United States had for the second year been ranked as a “flawed democracy” rather than “full democracy.” Multiple independent studies have concluded the US is an oligarchy, not a democracy. the political supreme court Citizens United allows oligarchs to financially back or hire a candidate that will work for them, and statistically, the candidate that spends the most, normally incumbents, wins ~90% of the time. The Constitution grants Congress the sole power to declare war. The last time Congress exercised this power was declaration of war with Rumania, 1942. Since end of WWII, there have been 248 armed conflicts, of which, the US started 201 (81%), killing 30 million so far. 911 was a false flag to justify perpetual global war. The corporate political duopoly and mainstream media propaganda have conspired to make third party opposition to the oligarchs’ corporate left and right wings impossible. Medicare for all, ending global wars, preventing human ecocide are campaign sound bites by the oligarch vetted candidates, conning voters, with what they want to hear, once elected, those ideas will be forgotten till next the election cycle.

  29. August 7, 2019 at 05:57

    Sorry, this is the naivest and almost hopeless stuff.

    And I am a supporter of universal medical coverage. I live in Canada.

    I say “naive” because America is totally focused on its empire. Resources and talent all go that way. That’s where careers are built. That’s where profits are to be had.

    There’s nothing left over for seriously big domestic programs, and not even any leadership to support them.

    Careers of hard-driving, well-educated individuals in America are met in empire and wars and national security. And of course, their medical needs are well taken care of. As are the medical needs of all the power establishment – both houses of Congress, senior corporate people, the Pentagon, the CIA, etc. The very people who control affairs have no needs as an impulse for change.

    And to do anything in America you always need more than just a president.

    Bush was the perfect example, in fact, of why a president isn’t even necessary, just someone to legally sign documents, almost like a legal-office witness.

    Trump makes a great deal of loud noise, but his efforts are supported by a great many other powerful people, or they simply would not see the light of day.

    I’ve said it many times, and there are many aspects to the matter, but the fact is that you can either have a decent society or an empire. You cannot have both.

    The only candidate with even a partial focus on what the real target should be is Tulsi Gabbard.

    And, honestly, I don’t think she has any chance at all, but even in her strong-wiled and well-informed case, working largely alone in Washington is pretty much hopeless. But she does speak to the ultimate source of the problems and does serve a useful educating and advocacy purpose that way.

    As far as the well-coifed professor of something-or-other who dabbles in politics and likes to offer nice slogans, the one you feature with a large photo (Elizabeth Warren), there is a head so clouded about realities, so comfortably suburban in its sense of things, that she claimed Indigenous ancestry for some obscure reason.

    Well, what can anyone say? Just silly and unrealistic. And just so for universal health care in America before other gigantic changes, ones almost no one even speaks of.

    • AZ_Bob
      August 7, 2019 at 12:51

      “The only candidate with even a partial focus on what the real target should be is Tulsi Gabbard.”

      And with all the flak she takes now, just IMAGINE if she actually used the word “Empire”; she’s probably too concerned about her own safety to do that, not that I would blame her…

    • Realist
      August 8, 2019 at 02:50

      Would Canada annex South Florida if we seceded from the Union, eh ?

      A lot of your citizens live here full time, in addition to all the snowbirds, eh.

      My next door neighbour is a Canadian citizen and goes back to his home in Canada for free medical treatment a couple times each year, eh.

      I just coughed up over $5,000 for a partial denture and the same amount for emergency treatment of a temporary paralysis (that was my share of the total $25,000 ER bill). Terrence (his real name, not a South Park character) would get all that treatment gratis from Ottawa. I, as a retired American on a state health care plan a bit better than Medicare, am down a cool ten grand and the year is only half over with numerous appointments with specialists still to come. I doubt I would pay less even under Medicare.

      Just email us the words to O’ Canada: we promise to learn them and sing them at Marlins’ and Dolphin’s games if you’ll annex us and give us free medical care. Also, Collin Kaepernick wouldn’t have to kneel during the pre-game anthem and could maybe find work with the fins or the buccos, eh?

  30. August 7, 2019 at 03:48

    Hello Kevin Zeese, Margaret Flowers and Everyone, I hope that you are correct but I see a decade or more of interference by the right wing using each and every method that their evil can come up with including the residental veto, the Xtreme Kourt refusing to take the case when the lower courts insist that their decision that the Medicare for All is unconstitutional or some other set of arguments!!!!!!!

    • DH Fabian
      August 7, 2019 at 10:49

      The “catch:” This agenda has been bi-partisan, and has had the implicit support of most of the media marketed to middle class liberals. In a nutshell: The Reagan Democrats of the 1980s were a backlash to the era of mass social unrest in the 1960s and ’70s. They moved further to the right to merge with the Clinton wing in the 1990s. Since then, Democrats pursued an agenda that has actually been to the right of such former Republican presidents as Eisenhower, Nixon, and even Reagan, especially o core economic issues. Pro-war, anti-poor, pro-corporate empowerment, etc. The role of much of the liberal media has been to sell this agenda to the beat of a rock and roll song. This is how the Democrats divided and conquered the left.

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