Sunday, September 13, 2009
GEORGE MCGOVERN: LET'S EXPAND MEDICARE
George S. McGovern, Washington Post - What seems missing in the current [healthcare] battle is a single proposal that everyone can understand and that does not lend itself to demagoguery. If we want comprehensive health care for all our citizens, we can achieve it with a single sentence: Congress hereby extends Medicare to all Americans. . .
We know that Medicare has worked well for half a century for those of us over 65. Why does it become "socialized medicine" when we extend it to younger Americans? . . .
If Medicare needs a few modifications in order to serve all Americans, we can make such adjustments now or later. But let's make sure Congress has an up or down vote on Medicare for all before it adjourns this year. Let's not waste time trying to reinvent the wheel. We all know what Medicare is. Do we want health care for all, or only for those over 65?. . .
As matters now stand, the insurance companies claim $450 billion a year of our health-care dollars. They will fight hard to hold on to this bonanza. This is a major reason Americans pay more for health care per capita than any other people in the world. . .
Consider the campaign funds given to the chairman and ranking minority member of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over health-care legislation. Chairman Max Baucus of Montana, a Democrat, and his political action committee have received nearly $4 million from the health-care lobby since 2003. The ranking Republican, Charles Grassley of Iowa, has received more than $2 million. It's a mistake for one politician to judge the personal motives of another. But Sens. Baucus and Grassley are firm opponents of the single-payer system, as are other highly placed members of Congress who have been generously rewarded by the insurance lobby. . .
In December 2007, the 124,000-member American College of Physicians endorsed for the first time a single-payer national health insurance program. And a March 2008 study by Indiana University -- the largest survey ever of doctors' opinions on financing health-care reform -- concluded that 59 percent of doctors support national health insurance.