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Tell Them: Pass Medicare for All

khin's picture
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Originally posted on Firedoglake

According to the Washington Post,

WASHINGTON -- Democratic congressional leaders are uniting around their last, best hope for salvaging President Barack Obama's sweeping health care overhaul.

Their plan is to pass the Senate bill with some changes to accommodate House Democrats, senior Democratic aides said Monday. Leaders will present the idea to the rank and file this week, but it's unclear that they will have the votes to move forward.

I think that both the House and Senate bills would be better than nothing, for conventional reasons that have been outlined by people like Nate Silver and Paul Krugman.

But I also think that having a single slice of bread for dinner is superior to having no dinner. Yet I would not ask someone at dinnertime for one slice of bread to eat: I would ask them for a full dinner that would fill my stomach. Surely to ask someone for merely a slice of bread when we have paid for a full dinner is beneath us!

So yes, let's follow one part of mcjoan's advice over at Daily Kos, let's follow one part of the HCAN recommendation: let's call our senators. Call them indignantly, in fact.

But let's not whine:

Please, oh please, give us a health care bill, any health care bill that uses reconciliation.

No. Tell them instead: pass Medicare for All. It's unlikely that they'll do that right now, but the point is to sway the process as much as we can toward the desired outcome.

We aren't legislators. We don't have fine-grained control of the deal-making process in building legislation. Ordinary people can't say, "Put in a Medicare buy-in, take out the excise tax, put in the surtax, increase the subsidies, take out the band-aid period, increase the Medicaid expansion" and expect busy legislators to understand all that, much less give a rat's ass.

It is much better to simply say, "Pass Medicare for All. And if compromise is forced, then however close you get to Medicare for All, I will do my best to give you credit for it."

Not only are legislators more likely to understand this and take it into account, but it shows them the depth of your support for real health care reform. If your statement was a missile on its way to a target, then the Medicare for All missile is both more likely to get through and also packs a bigger yield.

Keeping the focus on single payer will also help us in the upcoming fight in California, which is potentially of enormous significance: a real single payer bill could be passed early next year. Once demonstrated and proven in California, it could then eventually be exported and adopted elsewhere, including nationally.

No more stupid whiny compromised messages.

Tell them to pass Medicare for All.

Call your senators and representative.

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Comments

jumpjet's picture
Submitted by jumpjet on

Because a Democrat couldn't get into office before 2011 if it's in January, and the bill couldn't be passed until then. Unless the Legislature has some way of getting around Arnold, or he signs it in a fit of parting sympathy.

khin's picture
Submitted by khin on

I forgot about the delay in seating the governor. Time for an edit. Thanks.

ntoddpax's picture
Submitted by ntoddpax on

HR676 is sitting there, waiting.

Of course, we need to be prepared to escalate...

ntoddpax's picture
Submitted by ntoddpax on

I mean we the People escalate action beyond calling Congress.

JG's picture
Submitted by JG on

It seems to me that single payer is likely to be passed in states before the federal government passes Medicare for all, but I have a concern about the analogy with Canadian provinces.

U.S. states tend to have budget crises whenever the economy takes a downturn. This is because of balanced budget requirements, which have been added to most states' constitutions. Some Canadian provinces have similar requirements, but none are constitutional, and they are easy to change. Without the ability to run a deficit, there could be painful cutbacks to health care whenever state revenues decline due to economic difficulties.

From this perspective, Vermont is a good candidate, since it is the only state with no balanced budget requirement.

jumpjet's picture
Submitted by jumpjet on

It seems like it's something the state government has to compel itself to follow, and in that case could be overcome by simple collective consent.

Sometimes you have to play fast and loose with the letter of the law to serve the people.