By John Benziger, M.D.
Santa Fe New Mexican, August 5, 2017
Republicans vehemently opposed the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, for seven years while irresponsibly offering no alternative option of their own. The “plan” under the GOP’s effort to preserve the status quo seems to be “Don’t get sick!” What they really care about is giving more big tax breaks to the very rich and to big corporations.
Instead of trying to fix our broken system, GOP leaders were acting more like toddlers, mid-tantrum, smashing our health system into smaller and smaller pieces, threatening to push even more Americans — the most vulnerable among us — through the cracks. Recently, a few Senate Republicans stood up and acted like adults, putting (we hope) an end to this dangerous game (“GOP unsure what to do about health care,” July 29).
So today, we can breathe a quick sigh of relief and celebrate Medicare’s 52nd birthday. But we cannot celebrate a return to the status quo, to a system that rations health care based on income and allows thousands of Americans to die each year unnecessarily. We must fight even harder for a system we know can work — improved Medicare for all.
Every other advanced nation sees health care as a basic right and provides better quality care at half the cost. It’s time for the American system to deliver needed quality health care to everybody, protect people against huge medical care expenses and reverse the spiral of increasing costs.
A single-payer, “improved Medicare for all” could cut costs dramatically by streamlining health care paperwork and making health care affordable. Savings would be enough to provide coverage for everyone, without any additional spending. The concept is popular with the American people and enjoys the support of most doctors. The time has come!
Dr. John Benziger is a retired physician who grew up, went to college and studied medicine in New Mexico.