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Brad Bannon: 4 Reasons Why Democrats Should Support Medicare For All

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) call for Democrats to campaign on and fight for a national single-payer health insurance program is just the remedy the doctor ordered for her party.

Here are the four reasons for Democrats to push the envelope on health care reform.

Medicare for all is good policy

ObamaCare provided health insurance to nearly 20 million Americanswho didn’t have it, but the law still leaves 26 million out in the cold. If TrumpCare replaces ObamaCare 22 million people will be unprotected by 2026, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Medicare for all means just that. Everybody would be covered.

The only way to lower healthcare costs is to take private insurance companies and their highly paid CEOs out of the equation. Economist Robert Frank recently pointed out in the New York Times that Medicare’s administrative costs are only 2 percent of its total cost.

Administrative costs for private insurance companies are about 6 times higher.

Medicare for all is good politics

Democrats must push aggressively on issues where we have a big advantage. A survey conducted in June by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal indicates that the biggest advantage Democrats have over Republicans is on health care. Americans think Democrats do a better job on healthcare than Republicans by a margin of 43 percent to 26 percent.

President Andrew Johnson once said Washington is 12 square miles surrounded by reality.

The conventional wisdom in the swampland is that Medicare for all is a health hazard for Democrats. But a national survey last month by the Kaiser Family Foundation found American supported the expansion of government run healthcare.

So, what are Democrats afraid of anyway?

A Fight for Medicare for all Demonstrates Democratic Determination

Trump won because he sounded and acted like a bull in a china shop which is what angry voters wanted. In contrast, Democrats walk on eggshells and don’t sound angry enough to shake things up in Washington. A push for universal health insurance is a great way for Democrats to prove that they’re not intimidated by D.C. conventional wisdom and a tough fight.

Leadership means Dems need more than blind opposition to Trump.

Republicans including Trump win with all sorts of push the envelope issue stands. During the campaign last year Trump and most successful GOP candidates pushed for repeal of ACA, even though few voters wanted to destroy Obamacare.

A poll conducted for National Public Radio last month showed that only a quarter of the public favored repeal while everybody else either wanted to fix Obamacare or even extend it.

Taking unpopular stands on issues demonstrates leadership and boldness to Americans who are frustrated with the status quo. The good news for Dems is that Medicare for all is more than twice popular than Trumpcare.

Medicare for all is easy to explain

Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) was chairman of the committee that took the lead in the consideration of President Bill Clinton’s healthcare proposal. When he first saw the plan with more than a thousand pages Clinton submitted to Congress, he told his aide Lawrence O’Donnell that he could reform the healthcare system simply by deleting 3 words “65 and older” from the legislation that created Medicare health plan for seniors.

You can’t sell legislation that you can’t explain.

Medicare for all would be a lot easier to explain to the public than either Clinton’s or Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The Clinton and Obama proposals were incredibly complex. The bill the Clintons sent to Congress in 1993 clocked in more than 1,000 pages. The final version of the Affordable Care Act was 906 pages long.

In the fight for Clintoncare and Obamacare, the devil was in the details. Presidents Clinton and Obama both had a problem building support for health care reform because both proposals were so complex and difficult to explain. The lesson Dems need to take from past health initiatives is the KISS principle, keep it simple, stupid.

None of this will be easy but Dems need to get it done.

Truman proposed a health insurance program for seniors in 1945 and again in 1949. Medicare did not become law until Lyndon Johnson pushed Congress to enact it in 1965. LBJ had a big Democratic majority in Congress. Right now, Democrats are a minority in Congress.

The fierce battles over ObamaCare and Trump demonstrate that any health reform fight will be long, tough and polarizing. So, if Democrats take the time and trouble to fight, they might as well just go for the gold.

A big push for single payer health care insurance would take years but it is an opportunity Democrats can’t afford to miss and a responsibility the party can’t ignore.

Brad Bannon is a Democratic pollster and CEO of Bannon Communications Research. Campaigns and Elections magazine called him a mover and shaker in the political consulting industry. He hosts and contributes to the nationally syndicated progressive talk show, “The Leslie Marshall Show.” Bannon is also a political analyst for CLTV, the cable news station of the Chicago Tribune and WGN-TV. He is also a senior adviser to, and editor of, the blog at MyTiller.com. Contact him at brad@bannoncr.com.

Letter To Editor: March For Universal Healthcare

Submitted by Tim Butterworth, Chesterfield, NH.

The GOP has failed to find an improvement to the ACA. The Democrats aren’t even trying. It’s time for the American people to rise up and demand universal health care, and US labor should lead them.

Labor has fought for health care in the past. It’s essential for workers, but we spend so much time negotiating for the insurance companies we don’t have time left for wages. Workplace insurance ties workers to their jobs. It has hamstrung industry and makes us less competitive, tying up twice as much of our economy as most other nations. It was a winning issue in the past, and we could be a leader in fixing the current mess too.

Half of our healthcare is public now – medicare, medicaid, VA and military families, all the politicians and federal, state and municipal office workers, and the uninsured who access the emergency rooms are getting publicly-funded health care. Wrap it all in a bundle, a single plan, call it Americare, and let all people buy into it at a rate based on their income. See how many stick with their private insurance companies then, with their 15-20% administration fees and millionaire CEO’s.

Universal healthcare. It’s a simple idea: when you’re sick, you get care. Call it the “public option” for a transition away from private insurance, or medicare for all. Our two parties are failing. Labor should march into the vacuum.

(Here’s another take on this:


Bernie Sanders Releases Details and How He Plans To Pay For Medicare-For-All

Medicare-for-All Plan Detailed by Sanders, Improves Health Care and Cuts Costs

CHARLESTON, S.C. – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Sunday detailed a Medicare-for-all plan to provide better health care for all Americans at less cost.

“Universal health care is an idea that has been supported in the United States by Democratic presidents going back to Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman,” Sanders said. “It is time for our country to join every other major industrialized nation on earth and guarantee health care to all citizens as a right, not a privilege.”

The proposal would expand Medicare, the popular and successful health care program for seniors, and build on the success of the Affordable Care Act, which Sanders helped craft. Patients would be able to choose their own doctors and receive comprehensive care for everything from hospital stays to emergency room visits to primary and specialty care.

Sanders’ Medicare-for-all plan would save $6 trillion over the next 10 years compared to the current system, according to a detailed analysis by Gerald Friedman, an economist at University of Massachusetts at Amherst who is a leading expert on health care costs.

In a nation that now spends $3 trillion a year on health care – nearly $10,000 per person – Sanders’ plan would save consumers money by eliminating expensive and wasteful private health insurance. The plan would save taxpayers money by dramatically reducing overall health care costs and bringing down skyrocketing prescription drug prices which are far greater in the United States than in any other country.

The typical family earning $50,000 a year would save nearly $6,000 annually in health care costs, Friedman calculated. The average working family now pays $4,955 in premiums for private insurance and spends another $1,318 on deductibles for care that isn’t covered. Under Sanders’ plan, a family of four earning $50,000 would pay just $466 per year to the Medicare-for-all program.

Businesses would save more than $9,400 a year in health care costs under Sanders’ plan. The average annual cost to the employer for a worker with a family who makes $50,000 a year would go from $12,591 to just $3,100.

The shift to universal health care would be paid for with a 2.2 percent health care premium (calculated under the rules for federal income taxes); a 6.2 percent health care payroll tax paid by employers; an estate tax on the wealthiest Americans and changes in the tax code to make federal income tax rates more progressive.

Under the plan, individuals making $250,000 to $500,000 a year would be taxed at a rate of 37 percent. The top rate, 52 percent, would apply to those earning $10 million or more a year, a category that in 2013 included only the 13,000 wealthiest households in the United States.

Additional savings would be achieved from reducing outlays for taxpayer-supported health care expenditures.

Sanders laid out his health care plan and progressive tax reform proposals here in South Carolina where he and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley were to take part on Sunday night in a nationally televised debate in their contest for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

To read more about Sanders’ Medicare-for-all plan and his progressive tax proposals, click here.

To read Professor Gerald Friedman’s analysis of Sanders’ plan, click here.


Hillary for America spokesman Brian Fallon released the following statement:

“Senator Sanders has been changing a lot of positions in the last 24 hours because when his plans and record come under scrutiny, their very real flaws get exposed. After digging in his heels for weeks, he backpedaled on his vote to give sweeping immunity to gun manufacturers and dealers. And after weeks of denying the legitimacy of the questions Hillary Clinton raised about flaws in the health care legislation he’s introduced 9 times over 20 years, he proposed a new plan two hours before the debate. Hillary Clinton knows what it takes, and has what it takes, to protect the gains of the Affordable Care Act and secure quality, affordable health care for all Americans. When you’re running for President and you’re serious about getting results for the American people, details matter—and Senator Sanders is making them up as he goes along.”

The Solution To All Our Healthcare Problems Including Those At The VA

medicare-for-allFor decades now labor unions have been fighting the rising healthcare costs and taking concessions in their contracts to keep healthcare costs in check. Many have agreed to freeze wages and in trade the employer would freeze the rates of their healthcare plans.

This problem has only gotten more complex now that the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare has been rolled out. The ACA is an issue that has divided people within the political parties and is dividing the labor movement as well. Some labor unions, like Unite Here and LiUNA, oppose the ACA because it does not have provisions for organizations like labor unions that provide their own healthcare plans. Other unions like the SEIU, who represent workers at all wage levels, have been pushing for the ACA from the beginning.

Here is the one thing they all can agree on, the ACA does not go far enough to fix the healthcare problem in this country. We want what is best for all Americans and is the most fiscally responsible program for all Americans. The solution to both is a national single payer system, and we already have one for those over 65.

Single Payer Healthcare Medicare For AllAll we need to do is dump the private insurance program completely. Stop giving our tax dollars to greedy corporations who are collecting 20% profit on every bill they collect. If we expand Medicare to cover people from birth to death, we could save the federal government upwards of $400 billion dollars a year.

If you go back to look at the “unions who are opposing the ACA” you will see that it is not that they do not want a national healthcare system, but they have been calling for a single payer system from the beginning.

Check out this short video of “Greg Junemann, President of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers and AFL-CIO Executive Council member, explains how health insurance corporations are inherently designed to deny healthcare…and why Americans are losing access to healthcare as a right.”

Then you can decide which plan you think would be better for All Americans?

There is one more thing to note about a single payer healthcare program, it is what the VA health system is based on.  There is massive outrage from both political parties about how our veterans are being treated.  Everyone loves the VA healthcare system — some choose not to fund it properly — but they all love the VA healthcare system, and are outraged when Veterans have problems that are minor in comparison to what regular Americans are going through every day with private healthcare providers.

The way to fix the VA wait times problems, and hospital backlogs, is to push a national single payer system that would allow vets (and everyone else) to go to any hospital, any doctor, to get treatment.

You like your doctor? They are covered. You like your hospital? It is covered.  Worried that the insurance company is going to cut your services or cancel your policy? Have no fear because there are no health insurance companies making decisions about care based on profit margins.

Why is the system that we use for our veterans not good enough for the rest of us? 

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