Activists Push For Single-Payer Health Care As Republicans Dismantle Obamacare

Activists and organizers across the United States are not sitting idle as politicians wrangle over the GOP’s bill.
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    Published in partnership with Shadowproof.

    The Republican Party finally published its proposed replacement for Obamacare, the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The overhaul would put countless Americans, especially those at and below the low income bracket, at risk of losing access to important benefits like Medicaid and insurance subsidies.

    Activists and organizers across the United States are not sitting idle as politicians wrangle over the GOP’s bill. Instead, they’re mobilizing local communities in favor of a different health care model that benefits all Americans.



    Jeremy Gong is the co-chair of the East Bay chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). The chapter is part of the Campaign for a Healthy California (CHC), a statewide coalition spearheaded by the California Nurses Association (CNA), which fights for a single-payer healthcare system.

    “It is essential that, as socialists, we fight to decommodify goods and services that address basic needs, like health insurance, housing, education, clean water, and food,” Gong said. “These should all be guaranteed to everybody as a human right, not traded on the market like any other commodity, or sliced up and means-tested as are Medicaid or food stamps.”

    The current capitalist model of healthcare, which is given on a strictly for-profit basis, has caused hardship that cannot be measured—from medical bankruptcy to homelessness and poverty.

    A single-payer health care model, on the other hand, would mean a nationalized system that is comprehensive and not for profit, thereby allowing people to receive care indiscriminately. The capitalist health care scheme, in which some are forced to start GoFundMe campaigns to pay for their medical treatment, will only lead to more suffering from issues people often don’t have control over.

    Gong worked as an organizer for the Sierra Club and describes the fight for single-payer health care as an opportunity for the Left to “unify and bring millions of people newly politicized in the Trump era into militant organizations and coalitions.”

    In California, Gong explains that Corporate Democrats control most of the state and they’re not going to answer to constituents in need “until we can build a big enough coalition that can either force the elected officials to the left on issues like healthcare, or replace them.”

    The East Bay DSA is canvassing in support of SB 562, the Healthy California Act, which would replace the private insurance model with single-payer healthcare for all Californians. On February 25, they launched their official Single Payer CA campaign.

     

    Frankenstein Monster-Like Bills

    What GOP representatives have called “fiscally responsible legislation” is being denounced by numerous healthcare associations, including the American Medical Association (AMA).

    The AMA released a letter, which stated that, while the organization agrees problems with Obamacare must be addressed, they cannot support the GOP’s bill due to the “expected decline in health insurance coverage and the potential harm it would cause to vulnerable patient populations.”

    Eugene Puryear is an author and activist, who was on the presidential ticket for the Party for Socialism and Liberation alongside Gloria La Riva. He said that what’s currently taking place in Congress over health care is a “charade,” which demonstrates what happens “when we treat healthcare like a commodity, not a basic right.”

    The GOP’s health care plan includes a provision which bases the refundable tax credit a person receives not just on their income but also their age, which will directly impact low income households. High income earners are likely to benefit the most from it.

    The tax cut for high income earners included in this bill would mean that, according to David Cutler, professor of applied economics at Harvard University, there would likely be “really, really drastic Medicaid cuts and [a reduction] to the subsidies for people to buy coverage”.

    Another terrifying reversal found in the Republican healthcare plan is the end to prohibitions that keep insurance companies from charging older people more than young people, which would cause premiums to rise  for some of the country’s sickest people.

    While the GOP’s proposals for limiting insurance coverage have dominated news headlines, little attention has been paid to proposals to cover everyone, such as the Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act introduced by Democratic Representative John Conyers of Michigan in January.

    “Both the ACA and the AHCA are Frankenstein monster-like bills,” Eugene Puryear argues. “[They’re] contorting themselves every which way to ensure profits for insurance companies and other parts of the healthcare industry, while incidentally giving some people healthcare.”

    Puryear argues coverage under single-payer is cheaper than in the private market, and it produces better health outcomes and satisfaction for the patient.

    “The experience of essentially every other OECD nation bears this out,” he said. “Yet, the American political system is immune to good ideas that infringe on the rights of capitalist profit making, dooming millions to somewhere between no healthcare to limited and expensive care.”

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    • James Wherry

      The Someone-Else-Is-Going-To-Buy-Me-Healthcare-Insurance program seems to have little support among elected officials or the voting electorate. Most people before Obamacare and since Obamacare who have insurance regard their insurance as “Excellent” or at least “Good.”

      Those that do not have insurance are not exactly being listened to. They are poor people: they do not exist. “No one does not have health insurance – at least no one ‘worth talking about,'” to paraphrase Douglas Adams.

      The only thing a single-payer system offers is cost management and that means saying “NO!” to medical doctors, hospitals and prescription drug companies, rationing healthcare and telling the voters “NO!” when it comes to hip replacements at age 75, kidney transplants at age 65 for heavy drinkers, etc. What politician wants to do any of that heavy lifting?

      • tapatio

        EVERY CIVILIZED COUNTRY IN THE WORLD HAS SINGLE-PAYER HEALTH CARE AND RIGID PRICE CONTROLS ON DRUGS AND MEDICAL SERVICES. EVEN WHERRY’S ADORED OUTLAW JEWISH STATE HAS SINGLE-PAYER.

        WHERRY HAS HUNG FROM THE PUBLIC TEAT FOR HIS ENTIRE LIFE IN THE MILITARY. HE HAS NEVER HAD TO THINK ABOUT WHERE HIS HEALTH CARE WILL COME FROM OR ABOUT THE COST OF THAT CARE – THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER PAID FOR EVERYTHING THIS ZIONIST-WORSHIPING, BOY-RAPlNG US ARMY MAJOR HAS OR WILL HAVE.

        YET THIS PARASITIC LADY-BOI CLAIMS TO KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. WHAT A JOKE.

        • James Wherry

          Really? When did I join the military? Did I ever own a private business? Did I pay for health insurance for my employees?

          Nationalized health care is not about “personal responsibility,” it’s about getting someone else to buy you insurance.

          • tapatio

            No clue, dingleberry breath. I’m not going to bother going through 70 pages of your background report. I do remember, though, THAT YOU SCORED A CENSURE FOR A LEGAL ETHICS VIOLATION…………not enough for disbarment, though.

            Why don’t you study your last two sentences and see why you almost certainly went through school with a D-. You’re too stupid to not contradict yourself in adjoining sentences. Or, are you just drunk?

            At any event, you’re a fool.

            • James Wherry

              Your list of lies only grows. That’s why no one believes you, when you spit out your hatred of Jews and gays.

              We discussed this, a year ago: I was reprimanded for advertising what areas of law I practiced. The Iowa Supreme Court had a rule that PROTECTED older more expensive lawyers from competition. It denied the rest of us our free speech and limited the public’s Right to Know.

              I and another attorney so shamed the Iowa Supreme Court that they reversed themselves, 1 year later and changed their own rule. The reprimand no longer even show up on my certificate.

              Stood up against the rich for free speech. Knock yourself out.

              The fact you obsess over me shows I destroyed your ability to preach your NAZ! Hatred on this website.

    • Many of the grassroots orgs and almost, if not all our corrupt legislature are taking the corporate democrat low-road, and in the same way they are lionizing their previous fascist POTUS, they are now trying to scuttle single-payer efforts (again, thanks for nothing MoveON and SEIU) in favor of preserving the ACA.

      While 13 plus or minus million people never got insured from that first for-profit neoliberal scheme plan, those same sellouts continue to ignore the concept of “all-in”, and want us to praise instead the concept of incremental healthcare. Another lesson in lesser evilism I suppose. And even when it comes to life and death.

      Now though with the threat on them of losing their insurance lifeline, or seeing premiums skyrocket, they get it… Though they still take exception to those who have yet to be covered under any scheme plan. They do however expect the still-yet uninsured’s support for their self-interested stake sake. Such blind and ignorant selfishness seems quite bountiful these days. And still growing, As they lockstep in ever-tightening unison for their big corporate handlers.

      Rome is in increasing decay at last. Hopefully it won’t be too much longer now…

      • tapatio

        The rate of decay of the corporate state is less important than the damage caused by its death throes.

    • tapatio

      So long as the scum is in the White House and on Capitol Hill, there will never be single payer. Obamacare was a giant sucking sound from the taxpayers to the bank-owned insurance industry. Trump”care” is an even larger suction with radically reduced benefits.

      Civilized countries have rigid price controls on all drugs and services. A pill (SAME manufacturer/product) that costs $10.00 in Seattle costs $3.00 in Vancouver, BC, $4.00 in London and 75 cents in Mexico (some of the most draconian price controls in the world and the manufacturers are still happy to sell into the Mexican market).

      The same applies to services. While teaching in Mexico, I spent a couple of nights in the most luxurious private hospital in Guadalajara for some tests. Total cost was just over $300. The same services in a PUBLIC regional hospital would have cost more than $12,000 in the US.

      BANKS OWN INSURANCE COMPANIES, WHICH OWN DRUG COMPANIES. BANKS AND INSURANCE COMPANIES CONTROL MOST US DOCTORS THROUGH LOANS AND MALPRACTICE CONTRACTS. BANKS AND INSURANCE COMPANIES CONTROL, THROUGH OWNERSHIP AND DEBT, MOST US HOSPITALS.

    • Slingerss

      The only viable alternative to the ACA is Single Payer. A lot of us wanted that when the ACA was implemented, but it was taken off the table because of resistance to it. The Republicans in office are like having to go through a Hostile Takeover, where everything that we’ve worked our entire lives for is now being taken away. We have two choices. Continue to live in a oligarchy or stand up, get loud, and demand that WE THE PEOPLE want to be heard. The time for Single Payer is now.

      • tapatio

        Single payer requires price controls at all levels of the medical industry. That, there…….thass commie stuff (sarc). It’s soooo easy for the predators to sell that line of “reasoning”.

        But, you’re right. We just need to remove the predators.