March 28, 2019

Medicare for America Will Force People Off Their Insurance

by Matt Bruenig

Originally appeared at Peoples Policy Project on March 21, 2019.

The floor is Medicare for All.

Paul Krugman has a piece in the New York Times where he tries to compare Medicare for All to Medicare for America. The piece provides good insight into the developing centrist consensus on these matters, including its heavy reliance on straightforward falsehoods.

The sole argument Krugman uses to favor Medicare for America over Medicare for All is that the former lets people keep their current insurance if they want. This is objectively wrong.

Here’s Krugman:

The big difference [between Medicare for America and] a Sanders-type plan is that people would be allowed to keep private coverage if they chose
To me, then, Medicare for America — which lets people keep employment-based insurance — looks like a much better bet for actually getting universal coverage than Medicare for All.

Medicare for America has a lot of moving parts, but the relevant part for our discussion here is the one that creates a new public health plan and then lets employers forcibly switch all their employees to that plan. This is an option that the vast majority of employers are expected to exercise. Under prior analyses of this type of plan (previously called “Americare”), almost... (read more)

March 26, 2019

Don't Let Beto O'Rourke Kill Medicare for All

by Tim Higginbotham and Luke Thibault

Originally appeared at Jacobin, on March 22, 2019.

Beto O'Rourke speaks at a Chamber of Commerce candidate forum in El Paso, TX, in January, 2012. Flickr/Beto for Congress.

What do the Democratic candidates for president believe about Medicare for All? With the exception of Bernie Sanders, it’s hard to say. Kamala Harris has backpedaled. Cory Booker contradicts himself. Elizabeth Warren has a wavering record and avoids the subject as much as possible. Meanwhile they all support competing legislation on the side.

Beto O’Rourke’s reversal is the most flagrant yet. In a mere two years the former Texas congressman has gone from vocally championing Medicare for All to bizarrely calling the single-payer policy “too ideological.” O’Rourke’s stance on health care policy has been so unclear that a Vox reporter felt the need to conduct an investigation into it.

After a career of noodling around on the issue, he seems to be zeroing in on his favored approach now that he’s running for president. O’Rourke is touting a proposal called Medicare for America, a public option bill modeled off of previous work by neoliberal think tank Center for American Progress.

O’Rourke claims that this bill presents a pathway to Medicare for All. In fact, it... (read more)

March 18, 2019

Bloomington-Normal DSA Puts the Pressure on Rep. Rodney Davis

by BloNo DSA M4A

In the week that preceded Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-7, D) introducing the Medicare for All Act of 2019 (with over 100 cosponsors), the members of Bloomington-Normal’s Medicare for All working group drafted and sent a letter requesting a meeting with Representative Rodney Davis (IL-13, R).

The twin cities of Bloomington and Normal are both split between districts 13 and 18, represented by Rodney Davis and Darin LaHood. Neither candidate has made any indication that they would support a Medicare for All bill, but we felt it was prudent to request a meeting with both of our representatives through the candidates’ preferred contact methods. We sent both an email and a letter and requested a reply by March 4th. By our proposed deadline, we received no acknowledgement of our requests from either candidate.

The BloNo DSA Medicare for All working group has been gaining support in our community through regular canvasses and participation in community events. Since October, we have been able to gather pledges to support Medicare for All from over 100 Bloomington-Normal residents. We know that the residents of Bloomington-Normal support a single-payer healthcare system, but we don’t know if our two House members will fairly represent their... (read more)

March 14, 2019

ALL IN: March; All About the New M4A Bill!

by DSA M4A

We have much to celebrate, because we just achieved an amazing milestone together: Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) introduced the Medicare for All Act of 2019 with over 100 cosponsors on Feb. 26! You can watch a recording of the bill’s release outside the Capitol building here.

The importance of this landmark legislation cannot be overstated, and we’re going to continue working alongside our coalition partners to make Medicare for All a litmus test for all candidates in 2020.

Big pharma, insurance industry lobbyists and career politicians will certainly redouble their efforts to spread misinformation and kill M4A, so we can’t let up. We’ve got a real, fighting chance to achieve Medicare for All!

Alongside Senator Sanders’ Senate bill, it is the only legislation to meet DSA’s five principles for a truly democratic socialist single-payer system. Those five principles are:

  1. A single health program in which everyone will have equal access to all medical services and treatments
  2. Comprehensive coverage where all services requiring a medical professional will be fully covered
  3. Free at the point of service, meaning no more co-pays, deductibles or fees for medical devices and prescriptions
  4. Universal coverage for every US residents, even non-citizens
  5. Job training and transition help... (read more)
March 8, 2019

Medicare for All and Nothing Less!

by DSA M4A

From our campaign Organizing Resources.

Our Medicare for All advocacy is built around five simple principles:

  1. A single health program: Everyone will be covered by one health insurance program, administered by the federal government, and have equal access to all medical services and treatments.
  2. Comprehensive coverage: All services requiring a medical professional will be fully covered. You go to the doctor of your choice. Dental, vision, mental health, and pharmaceuticals are all included.
  3. Free at the point of service: All healthcare costs will be financed through tax contributions based on ability to pay: no copays, no fees, no deductibles and no premiums. Ever.
  4. Universal coverage: Coverage for all United States residents — non-citizens included.
  5. Jobs: A jobs initiative and severance for those affected by the transition to government-run healthcare.

The two Medicare for All bills—one in the Senate and one in the House— are both true pieces of single-payer legislation. As written, they would enroll every American resident in a single, national insurance plan. Healthcare would be delivered free at the point of use and the program would be funded through progressive taxation, meaning no more copays or deductibles.

Both bills prohibit private insurers from offering competing... (read more)

March 4, 2019

Medicare For All - I Like It! How Do We Pay for It?

by Michael Lighty and Robert Pollin

Courtesy of the Sanders Institute.

Medicare for All rally, Feb. 2017, Los Angeles, CA. Molly Adams

Sanders Institute Fellows Robert Pollin and Michael Lighty discuss the findings from Robert Pollin’s recent study, Economic Analysis of Medicare for All at the Sanders Institute Gathering. Pollin and his co-authors find that “on balance you have a system that delivers decent high-quality health care for everybody. Nobody ever has to worry, nobody has to go bankrupt, nobody has to fear about not being able to get care. All of that goes away, and we end up still saving a little less than 10% relative to what we pay now. That’s the core of Medicare For All.”

Economic Analysis of Medicare for All 

Highlights of Study

This study provides an economic analysis of the Medicare for All Act of 2017, which was introduced before the United States Senate by Senator Bernie Sanders (S. 1804). Our analysis also addresses, more broadly, a range of issues that need to be examined seriously in considering any specific proposals for a single-payer health care system for the United States. The most fundamental goals of Medicare for All are to significantly improve health care outcomes for U.S. residents while also establishing effective cost controls... (read more)

February 28, 2019

A Milestone for Medicare for All

by Maria Svart

Today we celebrate a win.

I want to thank every DSAer who has called their rep, joined a barnstorm, or participated in any way in our campaign to pressure the House of Representatives to cosponsor Medicare for All. Together we have made enormous gains in a short amount of time.

Today representative Pramila Jayapal introduced the Medicare for All Act of 2019, with over 100 cosponsors. The Medicare for All Act of 2019 is a gold standard for single-payer legislation. Alongside Senator Sanders’ Senate bill, it is the only legislation to meet DSA’s five principles for a truly democratic socialist single-payer system.

This is a milestone in the fight for universal healthcare and an equitable society, where working people make the decisions that determine our destiny. Now our task is to build a mass organization of working people that will not give up until we win.

Our pressure campaign doesn’t stop here. Next comes a floor fight in the House. We are going to continue working alongside partners like the Labor Campaign for Single-Payer, National Nurses United, Healthcare NOW and others, to make Medicare for All a litmus test for all candidates in 2020.

The ruling class has woken up... (read more)

February 27, 2019

Press Release: DSA Endorses The Medicare for All Act of 2019

by DSA M4A

DSA is proud to endorse and celebrate Pramila Jayapal’s Medicare for All Act of 2019, which was released Wednesday with more than 100 co-sponsors.

We believe this bill represents significant gains in uniting working people around a common goal, and that it is the most significant step to date toward transforming America’s broken healthcare system. Medicare for All is an increasingly popular policy proposal and is fast becoming a litmus test among Democratic primary candidates, with support from 70% of Americans, including 52% of Republicans, according to MarketWatch.

“Healthcare is a human right and this bill is the only one in the House to keep insurance executives from standing between patients and caregivers,” said DSA National Director Maria Svart. “Half measures won't take the profits out of healthcare. We need real Medicare for All.”

Alongside Senator Bernie Sanders’ Senate bill, the Medicare for All Act of 2019 (H.R.1384) is the only legislation to meet DSA’s five principles for a truly single-payer system. The Medicare for All Act of 2019 would establish a single system that universally and comprehensively covers all US residents. It would cover all medically necessary care, including long-term care services and reproductive health services, without... (read more)

February 19, 2019

Freedom for the Many

by Shant Mesrobian

Originally published at Jacobin on Oct. 11, 2017.

""Freedom From Fear," Norman Rockwell, 1943

When we talk about health care reform, it’s easy to focus on copays or premiums and forget what’s at stake: nothing less than the expansion of freedom itself.

While some employer-insured Americans are satisfied with the health care they receive, tethering health insurance to employment generates enormous economic anxiety and insecurity, shaping and constraining the life choices and aspirations of millions of people. People take jobs they find otherwise undesirable and stay in ones they’d otherwise quit. They curb their demands on the job for fear of getting fired and losing their health insurance. They’re prevented from realizing their potential not just because they might not get the care they need or because they might still end up in bankruptcy, but because of the oppressive hoops they must jump through to acquire health insurance.

For most Americans, a job is a job. This isn’t to say that people at all rungs of the economic ladder can’t derive meaning from their work (among non-elite professions, clergy and firefighters stand out in job satisfaction studies). But for the majority of Americans, work is more of an obligation than a passion. They do it to survive.

... (read more)

February 11, 2019

'Everybody In, Nobody Out': What We Know So Far About the Medicare for All Act of 2019

by Benjamin Day & Mark Dudzic

Originally published on February 7, 2019 on Common Dreams.

Joe Newman/Flickr

As the 2019 legislative session in Congress kicks off, the Democratic majority in the House will, in very short order, have to address a national surge of support for Medicare for All (otherwise known as single-payer healthcare). At the close of the last Congress, almost two-thirds of Democratic Representatives had signed onto HR 676, the Expanded & Improved Medicare for All Act. They will be joined by the long list of freshman Democrats who ran and won on this issue.

"Understandably, the transition to a new lead sponsor and an extensive rewrite process has created some nervousness and confusion in sections of the single-payer advocacy community."

Leading the charge in the House will be Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who is assuming lead sponsorship of the Medicare for All bill after Keith Ellison stepped down to run for Attorney General of Minnesota. Jayapal got her start in the immigrant rights and civil rights movements, and has extensive ties to the social justice and labor movements in Washington State.

Her willingness to take the lead on the Medicare for All Act will come as no surprise: last year she helped to launch the first Medicare for All Caucus... (read more)