Sunday, March 26, 2017

Daniel Marans — Bernie Sanders, Top Progressives Announce New ‘Medicare For All’ Push

In the wake of the Republican failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act on Friday, leading figures in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party are rallying behind a single-payer health insurance and a raft of other bold reforms.

These lawmakers and grassroots leaders have long believed that the problems plaguing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, are rooted in the original health care law’s attempt to accommodate, rather than gradually replace, the private, for-profit health insurance system.

Now that efforts to eliminate the law wholesale are effectively dead, they are again arguing that the best way to improve the country’s health care system is to confront the power of corporate health care provider more directly.…
The Huffington Post
Bernie Sanders, Top Progressives Announce New ‘Medicare For All’ Push
Daniel Marans


Penguin pop said...

Long overdue. I thought Bernie stopped talking about it because it would be too "divisive" for the Democratic Party.

Peter Pan said...

Trump should support this :)

Noah Way said...

Once again, if Trump made this his program he would kill both parries overnight and likely be reflected in 2020 (if he lives that long).

Dan Lynch said...

Benie's "push" is necessary symbolism that will be dead on arrival.

It's necessary because if the opposition wants to have any credibility then they need to offer constructive solutions, even if those solutions are dead on arrival.

If the left wants to do something other than symbolism in the next 4 years, then they need to start making deals with Trump. Medicare for All is probably a non-starter but providing some sort of coverage to the currently uninsured and capping out-of-pocket expenses might be within reach.

Time is on Trump's side. The O-Care market will continue its death spiral in rural areas that lack competition. When the next recession hits millions of people will lose their employer-provided insurance. Trump can blame the problems on Obama, though he will have more credibility if he offers a constructive alternative.

If I were Trump I would assign Ivanka to come up with a bi-partisan health care plan. While I do not like O-Care, it is possible to fix it once you get past the "how do we pay for it" roadblock and get enough Democrats on board to pass it with 60 votes.

Tom Hickey said...

Health care is a problem owing to "affordability" rather than provision.

The US the real resources available and is capable of expanding them where they not yet it place.

All the talk is about "cost" and "affordability." Which we know is a problem of false consciousness rather than reality.

But it affects all parties to the negotiation, and as a result there is no solution under the working assumptions.

Dan Lynch said...

All true, Tom, but Congressmen have to run for election every 2 years and voters who are unhappy with health care costs or lack of coverage will want some action.

To be a political victory, the next health care plan merely needs to make O-Care slightly better. It doesn't have to be perfect. I think it is possible, given the political pressure that is out there.

Peter Pan said...

O-Care will be perfect as soon as the wealthy don't have to pay for it. This was a ploy to cut taxes for the rich. In the meantime the mandate to purchase private insurance stays in place.

Dems will make a deal with Trump as soon as the insurance industry instructs them to.

All the talk is about "cost" and "affordability." Which we know is a problem of false consciousness rather than reality.

Surely Americans are able to look outside their country and observe that single-payer health care systems are the norm?

This is not an affordability/finance issue. You're spending more on health care in comparison to countries that use single-payer. MMT is not needed when facts are staring at you.

Tom Hickey said...

Surely Americans are able to look outside their country and observe that single-payer health care systems are the norm?

What Americans have been brainwashed to see it "socialism." They believe that they are the only really "free people" on earth. That is false consciousness that is difficult to remove because it is deeply ingrained in the cultural mindset.

Most of the obviously dumb things Americans is because "freedom."

Dan Lynch said...

@Bob, Finland, the UK, and Cuba have zero-payer, and a good chunk of Spain's health care was zero-payer until the EU forced them to privatize as part of austerity "reforms."

All insurance is parasitic and that includes single payer socialized insurance.

"Single payer" is another way of saying "for-profit provider." There is no known advantage to single payer over zero payer -- zero payer costs less and quality is just as good (Finland's health care usual ranks #1 in global comparisons) -- except that medical providers make more money under single payer. Just as Heritage-Care was invented to protect insurance companies by heading off single payer, single payer was invented to protect medical providers by heading off zero payer.

Is zero payer politically feasible in the U.S.? No. But neither is single payer at the moment. As Tom said, we Americans who grew up in the cold war are brainwashed to equate socialism with tyranny.

With MMT's understanding that Uncle Sam can pay for health care with keystrokes, it would be possible for the U.S. to have free universal private health insurance as I previously proposed in a comment on another thread. The only downside to keeping a private insurance system would be the waste of real resources, the perverse incentive to deny health care in order to increase profits, and the private medical sector's contribution to economic inequality (U.S. doctors are part of the 1% while in Finland doctors are paid less than public school teachers).

Tom Hickey said...

Anecdotally, it seems to me that Americans are OK with health care providers being well compensated. This is an outlier globally, where wealth care providers were not has highly regarded as professors, for example. The US the opposite is true.

I'm OK with paying US health care providers above the global average. I don't that that is the real issue, or an issue devoting much political capital toward.

The first step in the US is moving more toward a mixed economy in which the role of the private sector is supplemented by the public sector. The obvious way to go is the federal government providing the funds and contracting out the services through competitive bidding where suitable. But in the case of natural monopolies there is reason for either a public option or nationalization.

Health care is a broad field and different aspects of it would have to be approach differently under this scheme.

Dan Lynch said...

The obvious way to go is the federal government providing the funds and contracting out the services through competitive bidding.

Right. That makes more sense to me than individuals "shopping" on a marketplace.

One point about U.S. provider's pay: the American "left" blames the high cost of health care on for-profit insurance companies and believes we would live happily ever after if we had single payer, yet even Medicare is still expensive compared to other countries due to the cost of U.S. providers. If we want health care to cost the same as in Scandinavia, then we'll have to pay providers the same as in Scandinavia.

Doctor's pay from 2007:
U.S. -- $230,000
Canada -- $161,000
U.K. -- $114,00
Sweden -- $71,000

Tom Hickey said...

The US really needs to focus on the quality and availability of care and stop thinking about affordability. If government provides the funding at zero cost of capital, there is no problem with affordability.

If inflation is a concern owing to government spending, then cut back the bloated spending on military and military-related expenditure.

American priorities are heavily skewed toward the insane.

Peter Pan said...

If MMT can't overcome brainwashing, perhaps more pain and suffering will do the trick.

Tom Hickey said...

If MMT can't overcome brainwashing, perhaps more pain and suffering will do the trick.

The only thing that seems to work to effect change on this level is prolonged economic depression, or war/revolution, or a combo thereof.

Anonymous said...

On SBS last night (AUS) The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs there was one patient who had suffered for years with inexplicable chronic pain, at times immobilised, who found significant relief and happiness practicing slow motion Kung Fu. Prior to that her monthly medication involved a shopping bag full of drugs – she gave them up completely; ‘owned’ her own pain and took responsibility for managing it which empowered her and restored her dignity and control over her own life (in lieu of a pill). She was incredibly happy with herself and forging on.

And a Professor who said that after a few months, her research shows the drugs actually have no effect – despite Doctors prescribing them all over Britain. The above patient had to overcome ‘HealthCare’, bigPharma and big$money and compliant unthinking Doctors pushing drugs instead of prescribed and well supported health practices. That too, along with people’s incredibly unnatural life styles, is a huge part of the real problem. Basically people are filling their bodies with garbage and don’t exercise them as they are meant to be exercised in accordance with the energy-biological blueprint; nor do they follow the rhythms of the life energy that are at the basis of their existence.