Who is blocking ‘Medicare for All’?

Greg Nash

Decades of corporate-friendly politics and policy have decimated communities throughout the country. Centrist Democrats who have chosen corporate profits over people’s needs have aided and abetted this decimation. People are hungry for big ideas to improve their lives and to change the rules that serve only to make the rich richer.

Nowhere is this hunger more apparent than in the demand for improved “Medicare for All”. During a hearing at the House Budget Committee this week it was also apparent that the center-right and their wealthy donors won’t go down without a fight when it comes to health care. 

With guns-a-blazing, they are out to block an incredibly successful and popular program: Medicare, from being improved, expanded and provided to everyone.

Yet polling shows that across party lines, a majority of Americans are in favor of Medicare for All. And why not? Right now, nearly 30 million people in this country are uninsured; 40 million can’t afford health-care co-pays and deductibles and 45,000 die annually as a result of not having access to health care.

Those reaping the excessive profits from our illnesses and injuries are in a panic. They’re laying all their chips on the table to make sure Medicare for All never becomes reality. It would mean the end of private insurance companies that profit mightily off the most costly and least effective health-care system in the industrialized world.

So, to continue to rake in their profits, they’ve created the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, a partnership of corporate hospitals, insurance and drug companies. They must have a lot to lose: last year alone, the group spent $143 million developing attack ads and launching fear campaigns to kill Medicare for All.

It’s time to admit it, while nearly every modern country in the world provides quality, accessible health care for free or very inexpensively to their citizens, the United States stands alone in its willingness to let corporations suck the last pennies out of sick or injured people.

Well, the jig is up. Decades under a corporate-run private health insurance system have proven that we can’t rely on profiteers to provide access to quality health care. We need a publicly held system that is accountable to the people who rely on it. We are able to do so and save trillions of dollars over the next decade.

Medicare for All would reduce national health-care spending by anywhere between $2 trillion to $10 trillion over ten years. Research shows that countries with single-payer systems spend much less on drugs.

Yet opponents continue to decry the “costs” of Medicare for All. They will continue to focus on the cost to taxpayers, conveniently avoiding the truth that already we pay excessive health care costs through insurance premiums, co-pays and deductibles.

Americans suffer from poor health outcomes because they can’t afford to see a doctor until their illness becomes catastrophic. Many weigh the choice between financial ruin and life-saving medicines and treatment. In one of the richest countries in the world that is nothing short of shameful.

The U.S. is a country with abundant resources and more than enough wealth to go around. It’s time to share the wealth in America. It’s a new day and it starts with Medicare for All. Buckle up — because the fight is just beginning.

George Goehl is the director of People’s Action, a progressive, multiracial, working-class coalition of more than a million people and 48 member organizations in 30 states who organize for racial, gender, climate and economic justice.

Tags Health care Health insurance Medicare for all

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