Democrats Have An Historic Opportunity To Advance FDR’s Vision For Universal, Guaranteed Health Care
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Democrats have the opportunity to pass a package that takes the next big step in that direction. The following Medicare and Medicaid improvements are being debated as you read these words:
—Creating an out-of-pocket cap in Medicare, because no one should go bankrupt trying to pay for health care.
—-Adding the essential benefits of vision, hearing, and dental care to Medicare.
—Lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 60, as Medicare’s architects anticipated and as President Biden promised in his campaign.
—-Empowering Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices not just for seniors and people with disabilities but for everyone in America.
—-Allowing people to remain in their homes, rather than forced into institutions, by funding home and community-based long-term care.
Each of these steps would make Americans more economically secure, and enormously improve our lives. It exemplifies the promise to build back better. For a grandmother who can’t afford treatment for the loss of her hearing, improving Medicare’s benefits would mean finally hearing her grandchildren’s voices and actually being able to talk to them. For a 62-year-old who has been putting off medical care, lowering the Medicare eligibility age would mean getting a cancer diagnosis in time for effective treatment.
For a dad with diabetes, lower insulin prices would mean that he is able to treat his wife to dinner for their wedding anniversary. And for an 80-year-old with Alzheimer’s, long-term care funding would mean the opportunity to stay in her own home near friends and family, instead of going to a cold, impersonal institution.
All of these steps would improve our country’s ability to meet the needs of seniors, a group that has been disproportionately hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic. Older Americans are an invaluable part of our communities, but the infrastructure systems in place to support them have been underfunded for decades—or, worse, don’t even exist at all. One reason the pandemic hit the U.S. so much worse than elsewhere is that both our health care and long-term care systems are designed to maximize corporate profit rather than provide care to those who need it. As a result, over 600,000 Americans have died, including over 180,000 nursing home residents and workers.
Comment by Eagan Kemp of PNHP: Nancy Altman, the President of Social Security Works–a staunch ally in the fight for Medicare for All–highlights how crucially important it is for Congress to improve and expand Medicare, while also lowering the cost of prescription drugs and improving access to home and community based long-term care in the next reconciliation package.
While these steps are important on their own, they also help us think about how we move from the fragmented health care system we have now to the health care system we truly need, Medicare for All.
The reality is that most people are fed up with the health care system and are ready for things to change. The question is then how do we change it.
Given the limitations of the current Congress and President Biden’s opposition to Medicare for All, how do we make progress on health care without making the situation worse?
Taking steps to reduce corporate power in health care while strengthening public programs is a good place to start. While these reforms aren’t perfect, they help us push back on the corporate onslaughts on Medicare and, if crafted correctly, will also take a bite out of prescription drugmakers’ power.
Getting these reforms over the finish line will mean relief for millions of Americans but will still take a lot of work, as corporate lobbyists fight to water them down.
But make no mistake, the fight for Medicare for All must continue, regardless of whether these interim measures pass. It will take the largest grassroots mobilization in decades to finally guarantee health care for everyone in the U.S.
Luckily, those fighting for Medicare for All haven’t lost focus. Over 20 municipalities passed Medicare for All Resolutions in recent months and many more are working to do so soon. Additionally, the Medicare for All bill in the House just added its 118th cosponsor, highlighting the progress that we continue to make in Congress. And with hearings on Medicare for All forthcoming in both the House and Senate, the support within Congress will continue to deepen.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction
July 17, 2021 at 5:29 AM #435450
July 17, 2021 at 12:17 PM #435466djean111Participant
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America is not a country, it's just a business. (Brad Pitt, Killing Them Softly)
Everything I post is just my opinion, and, honestly, I would love to be wrong.
July 17, 2021 at 4:22 PM #435481gordyflParticipant
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when all is said and done, they’ll lower the age for Medicare Advantage, or as Joe Biden said (about the Public Option) . . . “It will be like Medicare“.
I’m sorry, with Joe Biden or Kamala at the helm, and too many members of Congress in the pockets of the insurance companies and Wall Street, I just can’t get my hopes up.
July 17, 2021 at 5:12 PM #435486David the GnomeParticipant
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They had a historic opportunity with both the Clinton and Obama administrations, too, supposedly. Even in Clinton’s time though, the rot was too deep, the wealth of big pharma was way too much – and the politicians were already bought.
It has only gotten worse since. There is no opportunity here, historic or otherwise. They will do exactly what previous administrations did – what Congress did. A few “progressives” sponsor some legislation that isn’t terrible. A few democrats come out against it.
The failure to accomplish meaningful reform will then be blamed on “Republican obstructionists” and “conservative democrats”. They will then say that our only hope is to elect more democrats until they have a larger majority.
Even if we did though, these ideas would never make it into a final bill.
Why? Because big pharma funds campaigns. They wine and dine and – in a variety of ways – use their influence in lobbying, with the healthcare industry, even charities or, “non-profit organizations”.
So, good luck with that bridge you bought. Let me know how it works out.
July 17, 2021 at 9:22 PM #4355143fingerbrownParticipant
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After reading ‘democrats have a historical opportunity..’ I laughed and then went and did other shit.
All governments lie to their citizen's, but only Americans believe theirs.
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