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With New Obamacare Rulings, One Thing Is Certain: We Need Medicare for All for Life

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Reprinted from www.commondreams.org

It makes me crazy to see the latest news about a Federal Court striking down the tax credits (subsidies) offered on the Federal Affordable Care Act health exchanges because I know the media commentators will go crazy analyzing the politics of it all. The Republicans are celebrating; the Democrats are scrambling. And the people who hate the ACA/Obamacare as well as those who are pushing to achieve a longer term solution through single-payer reform will claim victory. The camp that will once again be completely ignored in this whirl of political analyzing will be the patients and the caregivers whose lives and security are threatened once again.

We won't hear the patient and caregiver stories unless and until some of the politicians decide it would benefit them to prop us up in front of a camera in support of their particular position on health reform. While there are some very limited efforts going on to record stories, it has been since before the ACA/Obamacare was passed since anyone really cared to hear what happens to average people about their struggles with the profit-driven, dysfunctional US health system. No, Michael Moore will not be making another updated version of SiCKO and gathering stories for it as some have suggested to me -- the original version still holds up well, sadly.

In the current matter, it will be months before people really know if the tax credits/subsidies they thought they would have to help pay insurance premiums will stay in place or go away. The hardships are not tough to imagine. And thinking that my fellow Americans in another state may suffer more than I because of some decision their elected officials made about creating a state exchange is troubling, to say the least. The consequences in terms of the overall viability of the ACA/Obamacare are also probably predictable, though a bit less so. Politicians will argue this well into the next Presidential election season. Those who thought health care would be a back burner issue should now know without doubt that health care will stay front and center.

What I know for certain is that so long as the US health care system is based on trying to keep the market-based model for profiting off suffering and illness, we will continue to have these push-me, pull-me changes in how much it costs to get and keep health coverage, who is eligible for coverage, and who benefits politically or economically from the current whim of the courts, Congress, the President, media ratings or readership, religious beliefs claim by corporate persons, and many other changeable forces. That's no way to handle the health and well-being of our society and communities.

The forces needed to move this country away from this horrible system of changing fortunes and misfortunes in health policy will have to be those of us who can best speak to the real consequences of this continual uncertainty. And unless we have joined forces with one another to gather our stories in the post ACA/Obamacare period, we won't be able to demand the kind of stability an improved and expanded Medicare for all for life system would bring to us all. If only a few highly educated, predominantly white, socially and economically well-positioned, largely middle-aged and older, self-elevated spokespersons for health policy change continue to speak for us and about us but largely without us, the movement to achieve transformational change in the health system will not be able to overthrow the powerful, wealthy forces we all know are against putting people before profits.

What I really first thought when I saw the latest hit to people who need and want those tax credits/subsidies was too colorful to write here, but it wasn't because I would lose anything as a result. I was so angry that more months and years of political manipulation would damage so many people when the solution that could heal us is so readily available and has been for almost half a century now. Medicare turns 49 on July 30th. We would do well to celebrate the program's successes, acknowledge improvements we need to make, and share with our neighbors and friends how badly this nation needs to extend Medicare to all for life.

We cannot end our uncertainty about when or how we might get hurt or become sick enough to need care, but we surely can stop this terrible political dance that surrounds whether or not we are able to seek care when those times come. And part of ramping up our pressure to make that change happen is telling the stories -- true and loud and over and above the pundits on all sides. Watch for more news here about sharing your health care realities. Every person in every state needs to be covered by improved, expanded Medicare for all for life.

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Donna Smith appeared in Michael Moore's 2007 film, "SiCKO," and spent five years working for National Nurses United/California Nurses Association in Chicago and Washington, D.C., as their single-payer political organizer/educator.  She is now the executive director of Health Care for All Colorado and lives in Denver with her husband of 38 years, Larry


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Medicare-As-We-Know-It is actually pretty crappy i... by PCM on Saturday, Jul 26, 2014 at 1:52:30 PM
Following up on the Congressional Progressive Cauc... by PCM on Saturday, Jul 26, 2014 at 2:55:00 PM
Wonderful free lunch.Do you understand that it req... by BFalcon on Saturday, Jul 26, 2014 at 3:12:37 PM
As someone who graduated with distinction from a h... by PCM on Saturday, Jul 26, 2014 at 4:50:58 PM
My opposition comes purely from extensive thinking... by BFalcon on Saturday, Jul 26, 2014 at 8:47:19 PM
For profit insurance companies don't have price co... by Hosea McAdoo on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 3:57:46 PM
They do, but at least they compete among themselve... by BFalcon on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 5:06:57 PM
We need Medicare for every man, woman and child in... by Rodger Malcolm Mitchell on Saturday, Jul 26, 2014 at 2:23:12 PM
Just a question.Hepatitis C is curable by Gilead's... by BFalcon on Saturday, Jul 26, 2014 at 3:11:32 PM
Yes. Here's where we should start looking for mone... by Daniel Geery on Saturday, Jul 26, 2014 at 3:56:48 PM
What is not noted in the presentation is that shif... by Doc McCoy on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 12:36:59 AM
While reducing the military costs is a good cause ... by BFalcon on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 6:00:25 AM
Nothing is ever simple, and the devil is rarely no... by Daniel Geery on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 10:33:12 AM
Yes Sir, conversion, well planned. ... by BFalcon on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 11:27:12 AM
Bloomberg says third world countries pay as little... by Scott Baker on Saturday, Jul 26, 2014 at 5:03:32 PM
So what?If the price here is fair it is actually v... by BFalcon on Saturday, Jul 26, 2014 at 8:43:57 PM
The American consumer is subsidizing most drugs fo... by Doc McCoy on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 12:39:56 AM
It's unclear how much is for subsidizing the poor ... by Scott Baker on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 1:19:59 AM
The "cost of developing a drug" covers all the cos... by BFalcon on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 5:48:09 AM
There are several suggestions floating around to m... by Scott Baker on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 8:28:24 AM
Good thoughts, worth considering, there are more.I... by BFalcon on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 10:07:09 AM
Is there some compelling reason why Medicare can't... by Daniel Geery on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 10:39:10 AM
I agree. Rep. John Conyers Medicare for all bill ... by Scott Baker on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 10:52:36 AM
Money, a lot of money. ... by BFalcon on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 11:25:24 AM
Not a problem, if we actually care about people. A... by Daniel Geery on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 11:50:27 AM
And the Conyers plan actually SAVES money overall.... by Scott Baker on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 1:10:35 PM
The plan unfortunately, the way I remember what I ... by BFalcon on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 4:59:04 PM
Fully agree with you but there are two caveats.Fir... by BFalcon on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 4:55:43 PM
It not only looks good to me, but as a heart trans... by Daniel Geery on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 8:15:40 PM
You are correct. I am a cancer patient on Medicare... by Hosea McAdoo on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 9:20:12 PM
"Ideology is not a substitute... " so right, my f... by BFalcon on Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014 at 12:47:11 AM
Ultimately, we can only help so many people. Amer... by Doc McCoy on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 9:45:25 PM
You may well be right and you certainly make sense... by Daniel Geery on Monday, Jul 28, 2014 at 11:00:15 AM
I am very glad that it worked for you and thankful... by BFalcon on Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014 at 12:33:52 AM
Well thought out, makes sense. Of course there wil... by Daniel Geery on Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014 at 10:29:02 AM
Thank you for this and other valuable comments.Thi... by BFalcon on Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014 at 10:07:02 PM
Thanks, BF, and those who don't know it, I should ... by Daniel Geery on Wednesday, Jul 30, 2014 at 11:21:21 AM
Thanks again and I hope that I deserve your good w... by BFalcon on Wednesday, Jul 30, 2014 at 8:47:23 PM
That is not necessarily so. The pharmaceutical get... by Ceric on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 9:31:39 PM
Nothing in life is free. Everything has costs.The... by Doc McCoy on Monday, Jul 28, 2014 at 12:08:13 AM
No Doc, I do not agree. A lot in life is free, the... by Ceric on Monday, Jul 28, 2014 at 11:15:16 AM
Well Cedric, you sound like a true liberal / progr... by Doc McCoy on Monday, Jul 28, 2014 at 12:36:39 PM
I gave a thumbs up because of the most informative... by Daniel Geery on Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014 at 10:37:05 AM
Ever hear of thew Golden Rule? What if it were you... by Hosea McAdoo on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 3:58:43 PM
I try to obey the Golden Rule but many others don'... by BFalcon on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 5:04:27 PM
And that doesn't happen when private insurance pay... by Hosea McAdoo on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 5:42:34 PM
My friend,we have both seen different anomalies an... by BFalcon on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 8:42:20 PM
The Golden Rule is a complex thing Hosea. Do unto ... by Doc McCoy on Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014 at 3:15:33 AM
I believe the ACA and its shortcomings as well as ... by Donna Smith on Saturday, Jul 26, 2014 at 6:22:59 PM
I say H.R. 676 - Medicare for all Americans, singl... by Richard McGinnis on Saturday, Jul 26, 2014 at 7:31:50 PM
Do you understand that this creates one large "ins... by BFalcon on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 7:30:21 AM
Yes, I understand. It will be efficient, transpare... by Ceric on Monday, Jul 28, 2014 at 11:23:38 AM
I say H.R. 676 - Medicare for all Americans, singl... by Richard McGinnis on Saturday, Jul 26, 2014 at 7:32:12 PM
The late Arnold Relman, retired editor of the New ... by Richmond Shreve on Saturday, Jul 26, 2014 at 9:49:14 PM
The mediocre outcomes are not totally dependent on... by Doc McCoy on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 12:49:12 AM
Your point is an important factor, and is mentione... by Richmond Shreve on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 7:44:21 AM
Once again, the better statistics are being produc... by Doc McCoy on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 8:28:03 AM
Gosh, I'm tired of people who haven't done any res... by Scott Baker on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 8:40:35 AM
Your "solutions" are, to say the least, on the fri... by Doc McCoy on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 12:32:13 PM
Like I said, the first 3 have been tried and prove... by Scott Baker on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 1:08:38 PM
Comparing American society to "socialist societies... by Doc McCoy on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 7:41:05 PM
Let me see if I understand. The European countries... by Hosea McAdoo on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 8:40:03 PM
I neither condemn nor condone. I just point out t... by Doc McCoy on Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 9:28:42 PM
What "Socialist" society are you (or I) talking ab... by Scott Baker on Monday, Jul 28, 2014 at 1:57:26 AM
America today is much different than it was during... by Doc McCoy on Monday, Jul 28, 2014 at 2:44:59 AM
And dealing with reality: There is today a 60% ch... by Doc McCoy on Monday, Jul 28, 2014 at 3:41:30 AM
Well, when the economy collapses again, we will ha... by Scott Baker on Monday, Jul 28, 2014 at 3:52:33 AM
The big picture is that money is not wealth. At b... by Scott Baker on Monday, Jul 28, 2014 at 3:49:32 AM
Some support from Monetary Reformer Rodger Mitchel... by Scott Baker on Monday, Jul 28, 2014 at 4:07:11 AM
Mitchell is great at self promotions and far left ... by Doc McCoy on Monday, Jul 28, 2014 at 4:32:27 AM