We won’t go back
We won’t go back.
Republicans are opening new fronts in the war on healthcare, and rewriting their battle plans for the 2014 elections with a focus on opposition to the president’s reforms.
But we won’t go back to letting insurance companies deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. We won’t let them kick young adults in their early twenties off their parents’ plan. We won’t let them take away free birth control as preventative medicine with no co-pay.
Democratic unity on health care reform is cracking as some vulnerable Democrats are joining Republicans in an attempt to pass a bill that would require insurance companies to continue offering policies that were recently cancelled because they don't meet the tougher requirements of the Affordable Care Act.
Meanwhile, even the president is responding to pressure from Republicans and Democrats alike by attempting to defuse the situation with new rules that will allow insurance companies to continue offering some policies disallowed under the Affordable Care Act.
We cannot afford to go backwards. Neither the House, nor the Senate (or even the White House) should be allowed to chip away at the hard-won advances of the health care reform fight.
Tell Democrats and Republicans in Congress: We won’t go back. In fact, we’re ready to go further and expand Medicare to all Americans.
The real problem isn’t the modest but still life-changing reforms of the Affordable Care Act (despite its botched rollout). Millions of people have already been helped -- people with pre-existing conditions, young adults who get to stay on their parents' plan and beneficiaries of the Medicaid expansion.
When it comes down to it, this most recent fight is about the power of predatory insurance corporations. Insurers sold to a small percentage of Americans junk plans that were so bad they fall below the threshold of what’s acceptable under the Affordable Care Act. The fact that greedy insurers are confusing customers for profits is exactly why we need a real solution like Medicare for All.
But with Republicans on the attack, and some Democrats and even the White House on the retreat, what can progressives do? It’s time to stop playing defense and build power for the only reform that would get us out of this mess: Medicare for All.
Tell Congress: Not only will we not let you take down health care reform, we want you on the record with an up-or-down vote on Medicare for All.
The Affordable Care Act, also called ObamaCare, has brought some positive reforms, but we all know it only represents the very first few steps down the path to fixing our broken health care system. In fact, it was really a health insurance reform bill, not a health care reform bill.
Now, as right-wing extremists work methodically to dismantle the law's modest improvements in how health insurance is bought and sold, we need not only to stop them in their tracks, but also to counter their demands with a real progressive vision that has the power to deliver the change this country needs.
We have to form a strong progressive flank in this fight so if a deal gets cut we don’t end up with a compromise on the compromise that moves us further to the right.
Every other industrialized country in the world provides quality, universal health care at a fraction of the cost of the U.S. system. Private insurance companies are a big part of our problem. And while President Obama's health care law will expand coverage to millions of Americans, it guarantees customers and profits for insurance companies that put profits before people.
The point of the newly launched exchanges is to funnel insurance customers into these companies’ plans. The latest controversy concerning Americans supposedly losing their current private coverage is largely a mess created by insurers shutting down short term, high cost plans so customers can be shifted onto lower cost, long term coverage offered by the clumsily launched federal (or in some instances, state) exchange.
From the beginning, these companies opposed a "public option" -- a government-run health insurance program that would compete with private insurers -- because they wanted to maximize profits and minimize care. But we don’t need health care exchanges to cover Americans. We could solve today’s problems by expanding a program that is already up and running -- and working.
Medicare already covers 40 million Americans over the age of 65, providing quality care at prices that are much lower than the private market. We may not have the votes to win this fight, but the current mess provides a strategic opportunity to get Congress on the record when it comes to universal health care and build momentum not just to preserve the status quo but to win the real change we need.
Tell Congress: We won’t go back. Now more than ever, it’s clear that what we need more, not less, reform and that means Medicare for All.
Time and time again we see the right go on offense. After the murderer of Trayvon Martin mounted a “Stand Your Ground” defense in Florida, Republicans didn’t agree to modest reforms to the law to protect citizens from vigilante violence. Instead, they pushed for changes to the “Stand Your Ground” law to expand the rights of gun owners and make it harder to hold murderers accountable. They didn’t win their bid to expand the law, but they successfully defended the current law and didn’t lose any ground to reformers. By staking out a position far to the right they made maintaining the status quo look like a compromise.
The current debate in Washington DC lacks any kind of forceful push for the policy that will actually solve our nation’s health care crisis. It’s clear that Democrats, some of whom are now joining Republicans to turn against key portions of the law, may not even hold the line, let alone fight for even better coverage for Americans. So that push needs to come from us.
By staking out a progressive flank and generating a groundswell of public support for expanding Medicare so that it covers everybody, we can create space for a better outcome in potential negotiations and can help prevent the debate on health care reform from shifting even further to the right.
Tell Congress: Get your hands off the Affordable Care Act, and get-on-record with an up-or-down vote on Medicare for All.
Let's remember, when health care reform went through Congress, a single-payer system like Medicare for All wasn't even on the table.
The implementation of the modest -- but still life-changing -- reforms of the Affordable Care Act and the battle over a deficit deal that cuts Medicare benefits (instead of closing corporate tax loopholes or reining in Pentagon spending) are sure to be among the top issues in the 2014 election.
America's health care system is in crisis. If Democrats fight for half-measures and Republicans continue on their rampage trying to destroy what few reforms we’ve been able to achieve, 2014 could conceivably give the Republicans the wins they need to take the Senate and repeal the entire Affordable Care Act.
We know Medicare already works. Let’s fight to expand Medicare to all Americans, and find out who in Congress is with us.