Big Money Against Single Payer Insurance
By: Todd Smekens
Blog– Lots of interesting news floating around on the internet about the G20 Summit, Russia, Trump, #FakeNews, etc., but none of these distractions are as important as our health care crisis in America made worse by income and wealth inequality. As Warren Buffet recently lamented, the percent of GDP spent on healthcare in this country is escalating at a rapid pace restricting overall growth in our economy. Republicans promised donors and voters they would repeal and replace Obamacare. However, their replacement plan is a death sentence to rural America. Even President Trump called it, “Mean!”
We’re in America, the greatest economy on the globe. This should be an easy fix. Single payer health insurance has always been the solution to controlling health care costs. Surveys show 60% of Americans embrace single payer. I suspect 80% would support single payer if the media would act as a “free and independent press”, but they can’t, or won’t. They talk about single payer in other countries who’ve laid off healthcare workers so the wait times have grown. Also, why would any English speaking doctor work for the government with a restricted salary when they can come to America and make much higher wages.
So, why aren’t Americans on the same page as all industrialized countries? Why aren’t state and federal politicians all touting single payer as the solution to our healthcare crisis? Why not begin the process of expanding Medicare for all Americans?Profits.
Profits. Profits. Profits.
Quite frankly, it’s the same answer for everything else in this country when we discuss progressive ideas for average Americans. The wealthiest people and institutions who govern our country won’t allow it and it’s been this way since the very beginning. A free or independent press could hold the powerful accountable and expose those politicians accepting bribes from industry. The problem is the press/media are complicit in the scam.
When I hear commentary about #FakeNews and political spectrum analysis by pundits talking about “right” and “left”, it’s a pointless exercise. Those arguments are moot or irrelevant. Both sides are guilty of this and even I get caught up in these discussions. These conversations are a diversion – a form of entertainment.
I recently ran across an article written by Michael Corcoran in Truth-Out. The article addresses the money flowing from industry players into our corrupted political parties. When Nancy Pelosi, a leading Democratic official was asked if the party should make single payer health insurance a platform issue, she responded:
“Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, replied with a flat ‘no’ when asked if Democrats should make single-payer a central theme in 2018,” the Times reported. “The comfort level with the broader base of the American people is not there yet,” Pelosi said.
However, Americans are now comfortable with single payer health insurance. A recent poll showed 60% approval rating, including 75% of Democrats. I suspect it would be higher if we had a legitimate free press in this country.
So, why is Nancy balking?
The fact is that a very small and powerful group of rich people would be a little less rich if single-payer became a reality. “Insurance and pharmaceutical firms are the most important opponents of single payer,” said Dr. David Himmelstein, a founder of Physicians for a National Health Program, in an interview with Truthout. For-profit hospitals and manufacturers of medical devices oppose single-payer for the same reasons, he added.
These industries, and not the public, are the constituency who are not “comfortable,” with Medicare for All. This group might represent a very small number of people, but it is disproportionately powerful. In fact, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, Pelosi gets more money from health services than from any other industry — more than double the amount she receives from public-sector unions and investment firms combined.
Nancy and her Democratic Party don’t serve the people who vote for her. She supports the people who write her checks and write her fellow lawmakers checks. The Donor Class are Nancy’s constituency.
Even though single payer would drastically reduce the costs of health care in this country, it would eliminate the health care profit making industry. Period.
Our country could develop the most innovative and cost-effective healthcare system in the world, but the industry players listed in this article use all their money and media connections to divert attention away from the subject. Personally, I think the whole Republican healthcare proposal is a diversion to make Americans grateful for what we currently have. Time will tell.
The names of the players are very well documented in Michael’s article. Please check it out. I’ll close with this nugget he offered up:
From a wider angle, the attack on single payer (and Medicaid for that matter) is, like so much of the neoliberal agenda, a form of class warfare that seeks to privatize and commodify almost everything. The goal is to add to the enormous fortunes of corporations and billionaires while, in the words of Eugene Debs, “millions of men and women who work all the days of their lives secure barely enough for a wretched existence.” These forces are emboldened by the ever-pervasive role of money in politics and enabled by the corporate-owned media establishment, which reliably serves elite interests.
Let that soak in for awhile…