Action Alert: Never Mind the Mandate

Take ActionThe Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of the individual mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or “Obamacare,” in late March. The mandate would require that almost everyone in the US be covered by some form of health insurance, public or private, by 2014 or be fined.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that the mandate is unpopular with both the right and left. On nearly the same day, single-payer supporters and free market health insurance supporters filed separate amicus briefs asking the Supreme Court to strike down the mandate.

Regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision, we will still be left with an inadequate healthcare reform law. Even with the mandate, the ACA will leave at least 20 million people uninsured, fail to reduce healthcare costs, and keep multimillion dollar for-profit private insurance companies up and running (and who will undoubtedly find ways to weasel out of any positive aspects of the ACA). Despite what pundits and Obama’s administration say, we’ve still got a long way to go before we get universal, equitable, and affordable healthcare in this country.

Since the ACA is clearly a flawed law, let’s focus on expanding and improving what we already know works: Medicare.

Send an email to Congress and the President now saying: with or without the mandate, we still need Medicare for all.

For almost fifty years, Medicare has saved millions of people over 65’s lives and lifted just as many out of poverty. Without Medicare and Social Security the poverty rate for seniors (.pdf) would be 48% instead of its current 10%.

Medicare operates with a fraction of the overhead cost of private insurance plans. Currently, our multi-payer system takes nearly a third of every healthcare dollar spent to cover administrative costs. Medicare’s administrative costs are only 3%. With Medicare-for-all, we would save $400 billion annually.

Medicare’s patients are much more satisfied than those with private insurance. The National Journal reported that:

“56 percent of enrollees in traditional fee-for-service Medicare give their ‘health plan’ a rating of 9 or 10 on a 0-10 scale. Similarly, 60 percent of seniors enrolled in Medicare Managed Care rated their plans a 9 or 10. But…only 40 percent of Americans enrolled in private health insurance gave their plans a 9 or 10 rating.”

Given Medicare’s success and popularity, one would think it was politically untouchable–but it’s not. Republicans proposed making Medicare a voucher program, effectively privatizing and destroying Medicare as we know it. And Democrats have offered cuts to benefits and doctor reimbursements as a compromise for higher taxes on the extremely wealthy.

We must act now. With the ruling on the constitutionality of the ACA, healthcare reform is once again on the minds of Congress, the President, and the general public.

Send an email to Congress and the President with the following message: No matter the outcome of the Supreme Court’s decision on the individual mandate to buy health insurance, the Affordable Care Act is flawed because it leaves millions of people uninsured and does nothing to reduce costs. Medicare is constitutional, loved, and cost-effective and should be improved and expanded to cover everyone under a single-payer healthcare system.

In solidarity for single-payer,
Healthcare-NOW! National Staff and Steering Committee

Court Action Could Prolong Health Care Fight
50 Doctors for Single-Payer Urge Supreme Court to Strike Down Individual Mandate
Four Groups File Amicus Brief Against Obamacare
Health Reform Necessary: But Will the Affordable Care Act Be Sufficient?
Talking Points on Medicare and Social Security
Single-Payer FAQ – Bureaucracy
Who’s Afraid of Public Insurance?
The Ryan Medicaid Plan a Threat to Middle Class Security
Supercommittee Dems Offer $350 Billion in Medicare Cuts


  1. Charity Moschopoulos on March 8, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    We need single payer healthcare and if that is not possible then enhance Medicare and Medicaid.

  2. Darlene Costner on March 8, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    It is so logical that the only system that will save money, get rid of the bloated insurance companies and cover everyone fairly is the single payer system. It should be sold on that basis because that’s all the uneducated public understands.

  3. Chrigid on March 8, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Has anyone run the numbers to figure out if Medicare For All would be self-supporting as long as everyone–old and young, healthy and frail–was in the same pot? I’m sure it would be, but we need numbers to be convincing

  4. Sherry G. Oliver on March 9, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Health care now for everyone. Period.

  5. Bertha Kriegler on March 9, 2012 at 11:31 am

    The only way to improve health for Americans is to provide medicare for all.

  6. Kt Secrest on March 11, 2012 at 12:12 am

    This country needs single-payer health care, for our citizens and for our businesses. It’s as simple as that.

  7. Victor J. Cano on March 22, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Last year my health insurance premium increased 23%. This year it’s going up another 16.5%. I’m on a fixed retirement income and will have to drop it as I don’t have the money. Please single payer for all. Victor J. Cano

  8. RoseAnn DeMoro on March 22, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    It is a national disgrace what compromises Washington DC had made with the lives of our nation.

  9. Elaine Wunderlich on March 22, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Single payer was the right way to go all along.

  10. Sir Real on March 22, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    America already has the single payer system we all want and need in Medicare. Revise the age requirement so coverage starts at birth. Stop letting the insurance companies play God killing and bankrupting us while executives make 10’s of millions a year in salary and bonuses in blood money.

  11. Kamran Alavi on March 22, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    Single payer has gone to many state as well as the federal legislature before. The Party “wars” is just a show and it is the electorates fault for not seeing the ruse behind the stratagem.
    Write a letter to YOUR legislator and tell them if they don’t seriously push health care for all you will not vote for them.
    Don’t let them scare you of the worse evil, a game that has gone on for half a century and is still fooling people.

  12. harold schwartz on March 23, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    We can solve the problem real quick. Congress passed healthcare for themselves, just offer their healthcare for everyone. If it is good for congress then it should be good for all. After all we the people are paying for congress to have healthcare.