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Response to Nation Article on Single Payer: Improved Medicare for All is the Solution

  • Liberals Provide Fraudulent Cover for Saying 'No' To Single Payer

  • Related: How Single-Payer Will Be Achieved, Antonio Balmer, the Socialist Revolution

Margaret Flowers, Health Over Profit Flickr Creative Commons / Public Citizen) 

7 August 2017 | On August 2, 2017, The Nation published an article by Joshua Holland, “Medicare for All isn’t the Solution for Universal Health Care,” chastising Improved Medicare for All supporters because, in his view, the single payer movement has “failed to grapple with the difficulties of transitioning to a single-payer system.” The article, which doesn’t quote anyone involved in the movement for Improved Medicare for All, begs a response because it shows what liberals opposed to single payer believe. Holland dredges up the same arguments used to keep single payer off the table during the creation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). He even dusted off a few that were used to try to stop Medicare from coming into existence in the 1960s. And then he attempts to distract single payer supporters away from supporting Improved Medicare for All and settling for something less, as was done successfully in 2009.

The first error that Holland makes is confusing the term “Medicare for All” as meaning that advocates would simply take the current Medicare system, with both traditional and ‘Advantage’ plans, and expand that. This is why it is important to use the phrase “Improved Medicare for All.” As outlined in HR 676: The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, the new system would be based on the current Medicare system, which is already national, but it would be a single public plan that is comprehensive in coverage and does not have out-of-pocket costs or caps. It would ban investor-owned facilities and ban private insurers from selling policies that duplicate what the system covers. A single system is the simplest for patients and health professionals because there is one transparent set of rules.

Margaret Flowers is director of the Health Over Profit for Everyone campaign and co-director of Popular Resistance.

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How Single-Payer Will Be Achieved, Antonio Balmer, the Socialist Revolution such reforms are now considered common sense, the Democrats can't and won't deliver. Only a mass independent political force—with single payer placed at the top of its agenda—is capable of winning this fight.