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Political Party Split vs Concurrence on Government Guarantee of Health Care

The Dem and GOP party split is nearly equal. Yet, we largely concur on worries about health care availability and affordability, and on a government role to assure we all have health care. Medicare for All / single payer is the path.

April 15, 2024

Changing Partisan Coalitions in a Politically Divided Nation
Pew Research Center
April 9, 2024

The combined effects of change and continuity have left the country’s two major parties at virtual parity: About half of registered voters (49%) identify as Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party, while 48% identify as Republicans or lean Republican.

The continuing close division in partisan identification among voters is consistent with the relatively narrow margins in the popular votes in most national elections over the past three decades.

American Anxieties
GALLUP
April 9, 2024

Tell me if you personally worry about this problem a great deal, a fair amount, only a little or not at all.

The availability and affordability of healthcare [fifth item on the list]

    51%  A great deal

    27%  A fair amount

    21%  Only a little/Not at all

 

Comment by: Don McCanne

Over three-fourths of our nation (78%) is concerned about the lack of availability and affordability of health care. And yet the political activity we see is some nominal support of private insurance patches on the part of Democrats, when private insurance is proving often to be a detrimental method of funding health care, and Republican proposals to pass more of the costs on to patients through high deductibles and schemes such as health savings accounts. These political “solutions” actually result in the perpetuation of problems with both the availability and affordability of health care.

With three-fourths of the nation quite concerned, that certainly includes both Republicans and Democrats. Surely most of them do not believe that health care reform calls for a mandate of a private sector solution because that is what is available to everyone right now through the private insurance market. Without insurance, most cannot afford to pay for a major medical event or at least do not want it to displace other expenditures such as a down payment on the home they wanted to buy, the kids’ college education expenses, or funding of their retirement programs. But today, the private insurance industry and other intermediaries have become additional major sources of increased expenses and barriers to health care since those entities are on a mission to prioritize increasing investor wealth over patient health.

The majority of Americans want the federal government to guarantee health care and don’t trust insurers. Almost everyone approves of the government making health care available and affordable for people over 65, in the form of Medicare. In recent years, efforts have been made to privatize Medicare and that needs to be reversed by eliminating private insurers in order to return to patient care as guiding priority. Also, the benefits need to be expanded (vision, hearing, long term care, etc.) and deductibles and copayments should be eliminated so that Medigap insurance would no longer be necessary. Then, with other improvements, this version of Medicare should be expanded to include absolutely everyone, and it would be made equitable by funding it with progressive taxes, recovering some of the excessive revenues that have been moving into the coffers of the billionaires and the mega trillion dollar corporations.

Surely the large majority of us who are concerned about the availability and affordability of care can see the fairness in the rewards of our productivity that have been siphoned off by the super-rich being returned to us in funding for health care for all. No more silly knee jerk reactions against the labels “single payer” or “Medicare for All.” They will be labels that we can all be proud of because we earned them.

About the Commentator, Don McCanne

Don McCanne is a retired family practitioner who dedicated the 2nd phase of his career to speaking and writing extensively on single payer and related issues. He served as Physicians for a National Health Program president in 2002 and 2003, then as Senior Health Policy Fellow. For two decades, Don wrote "Quote of the Day", a daily health policy update which inspired HJM.

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