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Long Live Single-Payer, Medicare for All

Wednesday, for the first time in American history, the US Senate was to debate and vote on single-payer healthcare. Sen. Bernie Sanders submitted an amendment to the Senate health bill that would have expanded Medicare to everyone.

But after a stall-tactic by Senate Republicans, requiring that the full 700-page amendment to be read, and, presumably, pressure from Senate Democrats, Sen. Sanders withdrew his single-payer amendment. History would have to wait.

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The moment Sen. Sanders withdrew his amendment, writers were quick to declare that single-payer healthcare is dead. But let’s be clear: While single-payer’s time is up in this session of Congress, the movement for single-payer not only lives on, but is growing stronger.

Mainstream liberals and Democrats are even starting to revolt against a health bill that’s looking more like a bailout of the private health insurance industry, than expanding and improving coverage to everyone. Soon, they’ll realize we need a movement for real reform, not incremental reform.

After all, Medicare for all is inevitable. A healthcare system, with private, for-profit insurance in the mix, is fundamentally unsustainable and will collapse. Sen. Sanders said this in his speech to the Senate after he withdrew his amendment:

At the end of the day — not this year, not next year, but sometime in the future — this country will come to understand that if we are going to provide comprehensive quality care to all of our people, the only way we will do that is through a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system.”

We (single-payer advocates) will keep the movement alive. We will continue to educate everyone about American’s healthcare crisis. We will continue to advocate for the single-payer solution to this crisis. Many of those disenchanted by the Congressional process to reform healthcare will join us.

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If we learned anything about healthcare reform this time around, it’s that our movement needs to grow so that Congress has no choice but to pass Medicare for all. Why is it that conservatives in Canada, and other countries with national health insurance, wouldn’t dare mess with their national health systems? Because the vast majority of the people would rise up and stop them.

We saw this in our own country as we watched, throughout the whole debate, people over 65 fiercely defend Medicare – whether or not they knew it was “government run.” We need that intense support from everyone, not just people over 65, before we can win. We know that everyone else would rise to its defense just as fervently if they were enrolled in Medicare. That’s why providing Medicare to everyone 55 and over was so abruptly cut out of the Senate discussion.

Single-payer healthcare is not dead in America. Healthcare-NOW!, along with all of our single-payer allies, will continue to organize, educate, fight for single-payer candidates, and stand up until one of the most basic of human rights is available to all. After the farce we’re all witnessing in Congress is over, we are only going to get stronger.

We will make history.

Thanks for all that you do,
Healthcare-NOW! National Staff and Steering Committee

P.S. Take a second to thank Sen. Sanders for his leadership. His DC office number is 202-224-5141.

Comments

5 Responses to “Long Live Single-Payer, Medicare for All”
  1. Judy Stiller says:

    Why didn’t Sanders call their bluff and read the bill?

  2. John Barker says:

    There is no leadership for healthcare reform in Congress. “Progressives” in congress seem impotent and complicit. They show no leadership and Obama has failed to show leadership. Obama is no FDR or LBJ who twisted arms and got their way. He should have used the bully pulpit to demand real reform in healthcare, to challenge the profiteers in healthcare–he did not–and some say that it was never his intention to bring about real reform. The same is true of reform on wall street. Obama’s “fat cat bankers” comments are as insincere and politically expedient as his campaign rhetoric on healthcare reform.

    The current healthcare reform bill is plain and simple a grand plan for corporate welfare which will do nothing to control escalating healthcare costs at the expense of the tax payer. It is galling to watch these people impose this impractical Rube Goldberg legislation upon Americans and make pronouncements that the healthcare reform bill is good for the American people. Reform rhetoric is filled with buzz word “choices” when the only choice Americans need is a comprehensive single payer system that obviates the snow job Americans get when they peruse the arcane, inadequate and incomprehensible choices offered by the health insurance industry. Either Congress and Obama are extremely stupid or they think the American people are extremely stupid.

    The face of Congress will have to change before we see progressive reforms in healthcare and the financial system. Public financing of elections will be necesary to take back the country from the special interests. We have the best government money can buy. Change will come but only if we persist to keep the dream alive and bring about the changes that are needed.

  3. Patrick Clement says:

    What!? We will have to wait for Congress — who already enjoys the benefits of being in a single payer healthcare system, paid for by the rest of us taxpayers — to give us what we so clearly told all of Congress and the president at the last election one year ago is what we want — a single payer healthcare system!

    No, there is no time left to wait nor should we wait one second longer, the time came a long time ago for a single payer healthcare system in the United States. We are the only Industrialized Nation in the Industrialized World, who does not have a National or Universal Healthcare System for all of it’s workers and citizens. That is nothing to be proud of. It is a national disgrace. The only thing more ignorant than that, is all of those who label a single payer healthcare system Socialized Medicine and as such, socialistic government. Again the rich and powerful — the real people who are behind keeping all of the masses from getting even basic healthcare — are succeeding in keeping true healthcare reform from happening. Instead we are getting placebos titled the “Affordable Health Care for America Act” and the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”

    The problem with getting true healthcare reform passed is simple. It is because of all the lobbyists and current healthcare corporations who stand to lose trillions of dollars — that’s right, trillions not billions — if they are reined in and made to provide real and honest healthcare for everyone. They do not want that, because there is no profit in it for them. And that is the whole problem, profit! Why should you or me, or especially anyone, become a millionaire or even a billionaire, for being an executive for a giant healthcare insurance company or corporation? It’s not like you have the last word on whether or not you want to be sick or get cancer, so why should anyone get rich just providing the money — if they decide to allow treatment — for your care? After all, it’s not like any of them are really doctors, and if they are, then they are guilty of malpractice!

    A majority of Americans, doctors and nurses, have spoken and all of us want what Congress already enjoys, which is a single payer healthcare system that is paid for by the rest of us taxpayers. At the last election we clearly told all of Congress and the president what we want. And for all of you who think this is a Democrat versus Republican issue, better think again. This issue is because of both the Democrats and Republicans — several of whom have switched political parties with no ramifications — not one side versus the other! As such, it is time this next election to not elect/re-elect either a Democrat or Republican, and to only elect Independents to Congress! That is the only way to break the cycle of “do nothing for the working class of America” while living high off the hog!

    To paraphrase Albert Einstein, “electing the same people and political parties to Congress again and again, but expect different results, that is the very definition of Insanity!” Well I quit being insane years ago and only vote for Independents. How about the rest of you joining me?

  4. DANIEL MILLER says:

    I AGREE WITH MOST OF WHAT PARTICK CLEMENT SAYS, EXCEPT VOTING FOR INDEPENDENTS. I DO AGREE WITH HIS STATEMENT ABOUT TAKING PROFIT AWAY FROM HEALTH CARE. HOW CAN THIS IDEA BE MADE INTO A REALITY WITHOUT THE VOICES OF MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WHO CONTACT MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, BY TELEPHONE E-MAIL OR FAX. HAVING A FEW HUNDRED OR EVEN 50,000 THOUSAND SUPPORTERS WILL NOT BRING ABOUT NATIONAL HEALTH CARE OR SINGLE PAYER HEALTH CARE.

  5. DANIEL MILLER says:

    I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THE PREACHED TALKING TO THE CONVINCED WILL CHANGE ANYTHING, IT NEVER HAS. THE ONLY WAY TO GET ANYTHING ACCOMPLISHED IS BY INVOLVING VERY LARGE NUMBERS OF PEOPLE. A FEW HUNDRED OR EVEN A FEW THOUSAND WILL NOT DO ANYTHING. YOU NEED MILLIONS OF PEOPLE MAKE THEIR VOICES HEARD.