The obvious Obamacare replacement has been here all along
By John Garamendi
The Sacramento Bee, July 27, 2017
The ongoing uncertainty in Congress surrounding health care legislation, and the intentional sabotage of the Affordable Care Act, is destabilizing the insurance marketplace, driving up costs, discouraging new enrollments, and making Americans worried about the future of their health care.
In the short term, Congress should shore up the Affordable Care Act with bipartisan, commonsense improvements, such as a reinsurance program to stabilize the market for high-risk policyholders, legislation to make cost-sharing reductions permanent, and government permission to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices. But in the longer term, the time is right to think about ways to make access to health care truly universal and cover those who are still left behind. By far the simplest solution is Medicare For All.
Opponents may point to the difficulties California has had in trying to implement its own state-based universal health care system. A stand-alone plan in California would somehow have to incorporate existing federal health insurance programs – an impossible task given the political realities of the Trump Administration.
But a federal Medicare for All program would face no such obstacles: It would simply use the existing Medicare infrastructure and expand it to cover everyone.
Seniors know the peace of mind that comes from having the guarantee of health insurance. Imagine if all Americans could say the same.
John Garamendi represents the 3rd congressional district in California.
By Don McCanne, M.D.
As soon as John McCain joined Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski and cast the vote that defeated the Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer repeated McCain’s earlier plea to return to regular order and reform health care on a bipartisan basis through the usual committee process. That inevitably leads to incremental change, if any change at all, which would have only a negligible impact compared to the need that exists.
Americans previously understood the deficiencies of the Affordable Care Act, and now they have been shown that reducing a government role in oversight of the private insurance industry would never fulfill the promise by the politicians of better care at a lower cost. Americans are ready for a national health program, and that is reflected in the response of the 115 members of Congress who are cosponsoring John Conyers’ HR 676, the Expanded & Improved Medicare for All Act.
Congressman John Garamendi of California represents the enthusiasm for a federal Medicare for All as he explains in his op-ed. But he joins other members of Congress in qualifying his support by saying, “In the short term, Congress should shore up the Affordable Care Act with bipartisan, commonsense improvements.” “But in the longer term, the time is right to think about ways to make access to health care truly universal and cover those who are still left behind.” Now is not that time?
“Single payer but not now” has become the byword of the incrementalists. If we move forward with an emasculated public option or an unaffordable Medicare buy-in, the process will come to halt, likely for decades, while we “see how this works.” We do not need more policy experimentation. We know what works. Single payer, Medicare for all, or whatever you want to call it, but let’s do it now!
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