What It Means to Be a Democrat

By George McGovern
Blue Rider Press, Penguin Group, 2011

Universal Health Care

In 2010, Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress did an outstanding job in passing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to make health insurance available for every American. The bill passed without a single Republican vote.

The law is being phased in over five years, but it already has eliminated some of the major shortcomings of the private insurance system. It has made health care coverage available to more children and young adults, ended lifetime limits on coverage, made more preventive services available at no cost, improved pharmaceutical coverage for seniors on Medicare, and provided tax credits to small businesses that insure their employees. The law also prohibits insurers from the heinous practice of denying coverage to children who have preexisting conditions, a provision that later will be extended to adults. It offers much-needed discipline to the insurance companies, which have called the shots for far too long.

But I think we should go further.

We should replace the 906-page bill, which I’m sure many lawmakers and most citizens haven’t read, with a seven word sentence that reads: “Congress hereby extends Medicare to all Americans.”

My firsthand experience with Medicare has convinced me that a Medicare-like plan, or single-payer system such as Canada enjoys, should apply to everyone, not just to old duffers like me.


Electoral votes, 1972 Presidential election:

17 – George McGovern
520 – Richard Nixon

McGovern tried, and he never quit. We are all the better for it.