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H.R.676: Medicare Buy-in Means Health Care 4-all

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flickr.com/Molly Adams

It sounds too good to be true and that is why President Donald Trump recently claimed that “Medicare for all,” would eviscerate the governmental program. Of all venues to attack the program, Trump wrote an op-ed in USA Today just before the midterm election. He decried a proposal to establish a single-payer health care system under the umbrella of the current Federal Medicare Program.

All what he has claimed against the proposal could be nothing further from the truth. Why is Trump so against such a program, and why cannot all Americans have some basic health care, and not just for those retired, 62 and older, or those disabled? 

Apparently the problem is that people in upper income classes would have to pay progressive taxes to pay for such a health safety net. And he could use the access to health care as scare tactic to frighten those who are most vulnerable. 

Trump claims in his opinion piece  that Democrats' plan threatens America's seniors, and that after a life of hard work and sacrifice, seniors would no longer be able to depend on the benefits they were promised. By eliminating Medicare as a program for seniors, and outlawing the ability of Americans to enroll in private and employer-based plans, the Democratic plan would inevitably lead to the massive rationing of health care, he alleged.

It is not as if the program would be based on the government getting into socialized medicine, as private physicians would continue to provide the care, but financing the coverage would fall more on those who could better afford it.

Trump has claimed he wished to continue to cover preexisting conditions, but in fact he is supporting efforts to end the Affordable Care Act. He fails to mention what is the most viable alternative to replace it.

He incorrectly called improving Medicare “a government takeover.” All the while he fully understands that the current Medicare plan is government run, financed and sustainable.

It is if he wants it both ways, to reduce premiums for the sake of his voters and then turns a blind eye while allow private health insurance companies to cut to the bone existing private health care plans.

Thus, affordable but inadequate coverage would become the norm—and with high deductibles and gatekeepers preventing many tests and specialized care for those who need them the most. 

It is as if he wants working class Americans to live on the edge, always under threat of losing access to existing health care that is usually tied to a group plan at work. But in reality Medicare for All would allow seniors and all Americans to see the doctors they want, not just doctors and providers that their insurance companies have contracts with.

I have to agree with Bernie Saunders when he said that "The time is now for the United States to join every other major country on Earth and guarantee health care to every American as a right not a privilege, and Donald Trump, the insurance companies and the drug companies will not stop us."

I hope that I see the day when expensive private health insurance will no longer be needed for the vast majority of Americans.  But as always, in the world of media spin and international scandals, the real issues facing Americans will be jargonized and marginalized.

That is why more people should be aware of H.R. 676, Improved & Expanded Medicare-For-All which establishes the Medicare for All Program so to provide all individuals residing in the United States and U.S. territories with free health care. This would include the provision of  all medically necessary care, such as primary care and prevention, dietary and nutritional therapies, prescription drugs, emergency care, long-term care, mental health services, dental services, and vision care.

Having a system that would represent a level playing field,  “Medicare for all” is still a pipe dream that will only be realized when the insurance lobby gets its wings cut and politicians get cut from the gravy train of campaign donations from the same insurance companies.  

While it is true that Trump basically took his views to a new level of demagoguery over the Medicare debate with the USA Today opinion piece, it is good that it attracted attention, as many have since fact checked his statements.

Even USA Today took notice of the need to allow him a platform and balance that with the need for fact checking, and wrote that “critics said that we let the president publish falsehood.”  It further claimed, with the responses received that this is democracy in action, and the beauty of our country and of the First Amendment.

However, in light of other news, that may not be for long, “The US is now trying to make the first amendment freedom of speech illegal in regards to Israel: Democrats Join Republicans In Bill Criminalizing Speech Critical Of Israel,” as reported in the Huntington Post.

Sooner than we may expect more and more rights will be taken away, and even to participate in a peaceful protest, such as boycotting policies of a foreign state, Israel,  that are deemed illegal under international law and UN decrees.

At least there are some things that Democrats and Republicans can agree on! I wonder what they will do in face of Dutch actions should this legislation be passed?

Author: Jeffrey Silverman