By David M. Kinchen
Now that the Supreme Court has ruled on Obamacare, why don’t we simplify things and adopt the logical single-payer plan we should have done in the first place back in 1965: Medicare for all.
As faithful readers of this site know, I’ve blogged repeatedly on this subject, citing experts like Robert Reich and Paul Krugman to back up my arguments. Now comes my fellow Michigan native, Michael Moore, who makes the case for Medicare for all (link: http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/272-39/12160-focus-healthcare-victory-a-mandate-to-act).
He argues that the 5-4 decision upholding the individual mandate handed down by the Supremes on June 28, 2012 is — in the words of the headline to his column “…A Mandate to Act.”
Moore: “…. this is a victory for the people. Actually, more than a victory, it is a mandate that all of us must now make sure that a second-term Obama continues to move the ball down the field, toward a system like they have in every other First World country on the planet. He simply has to improve Medicare and then expand it to every citizen in the country. The countries that do this, their people live an average of two to four years longer than we do. Is there a reason anyone doesn’t want an extra four years of their lives? Or that our babies would have a better chance of surviving their first year like they do in the 48 countries that have a better infant mortality rate than we do? Exactly who is opposed to this? You’d have to be a bit…crazy.”
Now, I don’t always agree with Flint, MI native Moore, but he’s spot on here. When it comes to health care, I abandon my libertarian leanings for common sense — the kind the Canadians practice routinely.
Moore’s call for Medicare for all has another supporter, Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman. He’s also a columnist at the New York Times and said in a June 29 Op-Ed headlined “The Real Winners” (link: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/29/opinion/the-real-winners.html) that the “… law that the Supreme Court upheld is an act of human decency that is also fiscally responsible. It’s not perfect, by a long shot — it is, after all, originally a Republican plan, devised long ago as a way to forestall the obvious alternative of extending Medicare to cover everyone. As a result, it’s an awkward hybrid of public and private insurance that isn’t the way anyone would have designed a system from scratch. And there will be a long struggle to make it better, just as there was for Social Security. (Bring back the public option!) But it’s still a big step toward a better — and by that I mean morally better — society.”
Moore, Reich, Krugman, Kinchen: Sounds like a good golf foursome! We probably wouldn’t be the world’s best golfers, but we would all agree on something important to a slow-learning nation. (I’m beginning to sound like the Will McAvoy character in Aaron Sorkin’s new HBO series “The Newsroom”).
“Can we be clear about that budget problem? It’s not driven by Medicare. It’s driven by the same relentlessly soaring health-care costs that are pushing premiums through the roof and causing middle-class families to shell out more and more money for deductibles and co-payments.
“Some features of Obama’s new healthcare law will slow the rise – insurance exchanges, for example, could give consumers clearer comparative information about what they’re getting for their insurance payments – but the law doesn’t go nearly far enough.
“That’s why Democrats should be proposing that anyone be allowed to sign up for Medicare. Medicare is cheaper than private insurance because its administrative costs are so much lower, and it has vast economies of scale.If Medicare were allowed to use its potential bargaining leverage over America’s hospitals, doctors, drug companies, and medical providers, it could drive down costs even further.”