By Carol Paris, M.D., and Jack Bernard
The Citizen (Fayetteville, Ga.), Jan. 31, 2017
We read the letter by David Browning and agree with many of the points he made. It is good to see taxpayers waking up to the fact that Medicare for All (otherwise known as single payer) will go a long way towards solving both our access and cost containment problems.
This was a close election, reflecting a divided nation. This is not new; it happens every election cycle, by design.
This time around, the divisive finger-pointing was more extreme, volatile and ideologic than ever before, reflecting the lengths the “designers” will go to keep us, the American people, fighting amongst ourselves. Meanwhile, the designers (aka Corporate America) are using the congressional and presidential influence they bought and paid for to advance their own agenda.
Examples abound but we focus on one particularly dangerous example: the nomination of Georgia Rep. Tom Price for Secretary of DHHS.
Price is owned by virtually every wealthy right-wing interest group and now he is positioned to accomplish their bidding: nothing less than the complete privatization of Medicare.
Make no mistake, a vote for Price is a vote against Medicare. It is a vote for profiteering health insurance industry executives who keep getting richer as our senior citizens get poorer.
Their bidding doesn’t stop at privatizing Medicare. Oh no, it also targets the 22 million poor and working class, mostly white and lacking a college education, who will lose health insurance when the ACA (otherwise known as Obamacare) is gutted. They will rejoin the 30 million the ACA failed to cover. And the rich get richer.
But, despite his unsuitability for the DHHS position, Rep. Price is just a symptom of the underlying problem.
In past years, both Democratic and Republican Presidential candidates have acknowledged that the only truly universal, cost-effective plan for healthcare reform is a “national health program”, i.e., expansion of Medicare to cover all citizens. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll in 2015 revealed that 58 percent of the public support a single payer national health plan. So what is the obstacle?
Follow the money. The obstacle is corporate America.
How long will we, brothers and sisters, middle class and poor, white, black, brown, liberal, conservative, religious and nonreligious, straight and LGBTQ, continue to be divided and duped by corporate American design?
And how long will our elected officials in both parties allow themselves to be bought and paid for, also by corporate American design?
We don’t recommend waiting for our elected officials to change; we do recommend that each and every one of us open our eyes and see that we have been duped. Then, we can come together, the united people of America, and enact legislation that serves our needs: Let’s start with Medicare for All, a national health program.
Carol A. Paris, M.D., is president of Physicians for a National Healthcare Program (PNHP), which has 20,000 members nationwide. She resides in Nashville, Tenn. Jack Bernard is a retired senior vice president with a healthcare corporation and the former Director of Health Planning for the state of Georgia. He resides in Peachtree City, Ga.