Enough with the ad hominem attacks against 'Medicare for All'

Enough with the ad hominem attacks against 'Medicare for All'
© Greg Nash

With the 2018 midterm elections looming closer every day, ad hominem attacks are rising against any candidate and Member of Congress proposing and endorsing “Medicare for All.”

This despite the fact that Medicare for All is the greatest opportunity to provide quality healthcare to all Americans at lower costs both to them and to the nation.

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The half-baked counter arguments being made by these authors, paid commentators and lobbyists have them on the wrong side of a legislative opportunity which indisputably would help average America’s families factors more than the small pickings and crumbs that will come to them from last December’s massive overhaul of the federal tax code.

 

This overhaul was in substance little more than another handout to millionaires and multinational corporations, and it left all but the wealthiest Americans still massively overburdened with healthcare costs and in too many cases mediocre healthcare.

Let’s examine what Medicare for All would actually do.

Patients would be able to visit any doctors they want, and whether a particular doctor was “in network” or not would become a notion of the past. The premiums paid by families and employers would be eliminated.

The complicated combined individual-based and employer-based insurance system which we have now — which has created the most expensive healthcare system in the world at $9,900 per person — would disappear. And businesses would be able to raise wages, hire more employees and grow more easily, especially the small and medium size businesses that still drive our economy.

Medicare for All — if the “only game in town” — would be able to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to lower the cost of drugs.  As it is, American families currently pay twice as much to Big Pharma for their prescription medications as do families in any other industrialized country.

Medicare for All would also kneecap, once and for all, our out-of-control healthcare insurance system, which sees fully 17 percent of the premiums we as individuals pay used by the insurance companies for administration and to market back to us the very insurance we already have. By comparison, the nation’s existing Medicare program for those over age 65 spends just 2 percent of its budget on administration and nothing on marketing.

Most important, the more than 39 million Americans of all ages who still don’t have health insurance — 12.2 percent of the population — would finally find the peace that comes with not having to worry about access to quality medical care. And for the nation’s families we would also eliminate the number one cause of personal bankruptcy in the United States, which is medical debt.

Medicare for all is not some quixotic fool’s errand. And as for those commentators and writers who, in order to make their case, pull out no longer relevant examples of Democrats losing elections in the 1970s and ‘80s, they are ignoring and denying the realities of the nation’s current healthcare system, employment sectors and political environment. The recent polling that shows “Medicare for All” rapidly gaining popularity across the country confirms this and belies these negative attacks.

Continuing to egregiously profit the nation’s greedy HMOs, insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies, as we now do every day, can’t be the answer. It’s way past time for Democrats and Republicans alike to put forth a healthcare plan like the ones which all other industrialized nations have that supports and advances all American families with inclusive, better and less costly medical care.

“Medicare for All” is that plan.

Leo Hindery, Jr. is Co-chair of the Task Force on Jobs Creation and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the former CEO of AT&T Broadband and its predecessors Tele-Communications, Inc. (TCI) and Liberty Media.