Now is the Time to Transition From Obamacare to Single-payer Medicare For All

by Egberto Willies –

Right-wing Republicans continue to talk about repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act while establishment Democrats remain invested in Obamacare, seemingly at all costs. Neither of these parties seems to understand the failed state of health care for millions of Americans, including some with employer-provided coverage.

Americans are starting to realize that there is, in fact, a better way. This week Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled his single-payer Medicare for all plan. Kamala Harris of California was the first U.S. senator to sign on. The flood gates then seemed to open as Massachusetts’ Elizabeth Warren signed on, quickly followed by 14 other Democrats. It seems these lawmakers are starting to read the desires of the grassroots instead of their wealthy benefactors. After all, 53 percent of Americans now support single-payer Medicare for all—and the trajectory is more support, not less. Americans are starting to realize that the insurance companies, pharmaceutical titans, and the rest of the medical-industrial complex are pilfering them. They’ve had enough.

Bernie Sanders’ launch was effective but most importantly, it was inspiring. The stories people told were heart-wrenching.

The CEO of a $200 million company, Richard Master, matter-of-factly said that single-payer Medicare for all was the only solution. After researching, he found out that the health industrial complex pilfered Americans. He produced the documentaries Fix It: Healthcare at the Tipping Point and Big Pharma: Market Failure. The most moving speech was given by Canadian doctor Danielle Martin, who described the Canadian system and made Americans yearn for it.

“I wish that all of my American neighbors could experience the same simplicity in their moments of need,” Dr. Martin said. “And I hope that the American people will seize this opportunity to declare to each other and the rest of the world that you do believe access to health care is a human right.”

Sanders then described his bill, and followed up by inviting senators to say a few words.

You can watch the video below:

California Sen. Kamala Harris spoke about single-payer Medicare for all in the context of return on investment (ROI). New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker expressed his embarrassment that Canada had a better system.

When it comes to the fight to get Medicare for all, the health care industry’s powers-that-be will not give up easily—and their tentacles are far-reaching. Soon after Sanders’ rollout, It was clear that the corporate media has started its attack. Chuck Todd grilled Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, who supports the bill, using the standard corporate insurance company narrative, but Merkley handled it well. Todd made believe that math did not exist. He assumed because taxes must increase to pay for the bill that Americans would be worse off. But that could not be further from the truth, since Americans would no longer have premiums or doctor bills, which for most add up to far more than any tax increase.

Todd attempted to get in a dig at Obamacare, as well.

“Again, go back to Obamacare,” Todd said. “Is this your way of saying Obamacare is a failure?”

Merkley did not take the bait. He pointed out that while Obamacare was a giant leap, they need to do more.

A few years ago I wrote the piece “Obamacare: First Step To Eliminating Immorality That Is Health Insurance.” That article holds true—now, more than ever.

To many Liberals, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was a gift to insurance companies. In fact, many of those in the opposing Obamacare opposed it because it did not go far enough. It was not Medicare for all (single payer) nor did it have a public option. Corporate interest won the first round but they will lose the war and they know it. It is for this reason that the GOP continues to fight the battle against Obamacare just hoping that just maybe they can break it before metastasis.During the Affordable Care Act debate there was a public option that would have simulated the latter. Lobbying summarily got it removed because had it made it into the Act, over a short period of time, arithmetic would prevail as the public option would be less expensive for any given plan. It would then turn Obamacare into a single payer system by attrition.

There are several different pathways to reach the same goal. It is however important that the paths are built. Obamacare is the path built with pebbles and stones. It is better than the mud path of years past. As riders demand a smoother path they won’t yearn for the mud path again but for a paved road. Americans will not go back after tasting healthcare/health insurance as a right with all the benefits mentioned above. Exchanges will become single payer entities as health insurance companies are unable to demand the profits they want. Eventually exchanges will morph into Medicare for all.

The polls say that Americans are ready, and it’s plainly time that we force politicians to catch up. We must start defining what a transition will look like to make those who are on the fence or ill-informed comfortable, and reassure them that single-payer Medicare for all is not pie-in-the-sky. We must show the numbers and make it clear that the reason our health care is so expensive is the legalized exploitation on the part of the medical/industrial complex, pharmaceuticals, insurance companies, profiteering hospitals, and a small percentage of doctors that see health care as just another pot of gold to rob.

How will we take care of those workers displaced by a more efficient health care system? How will we convince people with fabulous employer-based health insurance that their care won’t suffer? We must make it clear that single-payer Medicare for all is not an experiment. It is working successfully in most industrialized nations in the world.

Most importantly, we must make it simple. Maybe start with Daily Kos user BronxInTN’s suggestion for a simple, understandable, and quantifiable bumper sticker: “Medicare For All: The average family will save $5,000 in health care costs.”


Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos