Single Payer Occupy sign
(image by Michael Fleshman)
It is with great sadness that I watch you making last-gasp desperate attempts to save Obamacare and Obama's reputation. You look foolish when you say that "Of course, it's a good law" at the same time as your constituents see through the Obamacare illusion. The law is becoming less popular because people are beginning to see through the false partisan claims of Democrats. And worse, you are actually playing right into the Republican's trap, really the trap of Wall Street and big business interests.
It's time for honesty. Obamacare is policy that has roots in the Nixon administration, was updated by the Heritage Foundation, a Right-wing think tank, and supported by people like Newt Gingrich. It was first put in place by Republican Governor Mitt Romney in Massachusetts (where it has not worked). The ACA further privatizes our health care by pouring hundreds of billions of public dollars into the pockets of private health industries. It is accelerating the privatization of our public health insurances, gutting our safety net and fomenting greater consolidation of our health delivery system into private hands. It sets the stage to completely privatize the pillars of the old Democratic Party: Social Security and Medicare.
Obamacare is the opposite of single payer. And supermajorities of those who vote for Democrats support single payer, Medicare for All. This is one of the reasons that people are not in the streets to save it. In this time of health care crisis in which 80 million went without needed care last year because of the cost and 4 million families went bankrupt because of medical costs and illness over the past two years, why do you think it is so hard to sell them on Obamacare? Because it is the opposite of what people want and need.
Yes, Obamacare is failing. It's just a matter of time before the complex, bureaucratic, insurance-based law collapses. It may limp along for years as the government throws hundreds of billions of more dollars into it and the Department of Health and Human Services continues to cave in to every health industry demand, but eventually it will fall under the burden of its insurance-based corruption, for-profit healthcare and waste.
And what will we have then? The Republicans will sing the song of Wall Street to the far corners of the country that government can't do anything right and they'll have Obamacare as their poster child. Your constituents will feel even more betrayed than they do now by the sold-out Democrats who sided with corporate interests instead of their voters. The health reform vacuum will be filled by deregulation of the health industries and the end of public health insurance.
The human cost of this result is that health care will be fully commoditized as a profit center rather than a public good. Only the wealthy will be able to afford care. Health professionals will be slaves to the industry and forced to care for only the profitable patients. Preventable deaths and human suffering will be even greater than they are now.
Obamacare is not worth saving and more people are waking up to that fact. Don't let yourself fall further behind the people on this issue. Poverty is growing in this country. Austerity measures are being forced upon us. Real human suffering is the result. Now is the time to be bold.
If the Democrats truly want to be in control again, if you want the people to rally behind your party, then you must embrace a bold agenda now. It is time to do the right thing. Tell the truth. Put the blame where it belongs -- not on government but on the health industries that wrote the law to their advantage and are incapable of putting the needs of the people before their insatiable crusade for profits.
Tell the people that Obamacare is the wrong direction. It is corporate-run healthcare. The Democrats tried to work within the current system, but now see that is impossible. It is time to join the rest of the civilized world, including our neighbors to the North and South, who treat healthcare not as a commodity but as the public good that it should be.
The Constitution clearly states that the government may tax for the general welfare. Just as taxes pay for roads, schools, fire departments and more, what better use could we have for our taxes than to invest them in solving our healthcare crisis, not through greedy health corporations but through our American institution, Medicare? The best path for the American people right now is to scrap Obamacare, immediately extend Medicare to every person and double social security benefits. This will create an economic stimulus effect not seen since the New Deal.
Don't miss this opportunity. During the Depression, it was the New Deal Democrats who stood up and did what was right for the people. The Democrats must do that again or become irrelevant. The people will love the Democrats for this. They will rally to your side. And we will be a stronger country for it.
Take control of the message and the policy debate now -- save Social Security and Medicare by expanding them. Save the people of America. Show the Right Wing that they are the fools for opposing a law that came out of their camp and show the people that the Democrats are capable of promoting policies that put public interests first.
It is time for a total remaking of the party you have allied with and if that is not possible (and the corruption of the Democratic Party looks very deep, so it is probably impossible), it is time to replace that party with one that really represents the people, not the corporate interests.
Margaret Flowers, MD
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