Helen Thomas: Obama Making "Big Mistake" Ignoring Single Payer
How Johnson did it.
Via Helen Thomas
I covered the battle to create the Medicare system back in the 1960s. The cries of "socialized medicine" worked for years until President Lyndon B. Johnson rammed Medicare through Congress in 1965.
Johnson signed the Medicare legislation on former President Harry Truman’s desk in Independence, Mo. Truman had first proposed a health care program for the elderly back in the 1950s.
Truman, still feisty at age 81, was all smiles.
I remember a newsman went up to Johnson and told him "my mother thanks you." Johnson turned to him and said: "You should thank me," meaning Medicare would help families with the increasingly heavy financial burden of caring for seniors.
How Obama is screwing it up.
President Barack Obama is making a big mistake by ignoring the single-payer proposal....In 2003 before he became a U.S. senator from Illinois, Obama actually called himself a single-payer "proponent." But now that he is president, Obama has buckled to Republicans and conservative Blue Dog Democrats in pursuit of consensus. My question is if Congress passes a watered-down version of health care that doesn’t truly cover everyone, is the result worth it?
The president has given no hearing to the advocates of a single-payer system and neither has the media.
He also had worked out a deal with the drug manufacturers not to use the federal government’s massive bargaining power to negotiate lower drug prices -- although now the White House appears to be having second thoughts.
Single payer works; it is not code for substandard medical care.
How Canadians do it.
Diana Beeson, an American friend from Ohio who now lives in Canada, wrote me that three years ago she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and received treatment "unrivaled by anything I can imagine even with my fairly decent coverage as a state employee in the U.S.
"I have had surgery, chemotherapy and closely followed my oncologist and the family doctor of my own choosing. It has not cost me a dime," she said.
Beeson said she wanted to share her "wonderful experience with health care in Canada."
How Obama should do it.
President Obama should lay down markers for real health care reform -- meaning we all kick in to a national program instead of fattening the pocketbooks of the insurance financiers.
Instead, the president has given up on Medicare for all, calling single payer "impractical."
He still has time to do the right thing and nothing to lose.