From Common Dreams
If the national ID system were the key to getting your health care and medications, there'd be no need for "voter registration" and no ability for the GOP to purge voters.
Now we know why the GOP is truly terrified of Medicare for All; it will wipe out the Republican Party's control of the House, Senate, White House, and most state governments. Because it could make it very easy for every citizen over 18 to vote.
Here's how it works.
In Canada, every citizen has a Canadian government-issued "Health Insurance Card" (you can see Quebec's card at the link). It's largely only available to citizens, as all citizens are eligible for the Canadian Medicare system; everybody else has to work out other insurance options (yes, there are insurance companies in Canada). And in most provinces, the card has your photo and works as an ID card as well as a driver's license or passport.
And the Canadian government also explicitly says right here on Quebec's elections website that your Medicare card is also your first-choice voter ID card. An American version could work identically, perhaps with a star or hologram or other mark to identify citizens as opposed to Medicare-eligible permanent residents, etc.
As Tarek, a Canadian listener to my radio/TV program, shared with me this week:
"Here in Canada, citizens and permanent residents alike are covered by publicly funded health care that is administrated through the provinces, whereas temporary residents must be covered via other means, namely buying private health insurance.
"Since it is in everyone's best interest to be have 'free' health care coverage, unlike other government issued identifications, such as driver's license...etc., the vast majority (if not all) Canadians from all socioeconomic backgrounds make sure to obtain their health cards, which can be used as an official photo ID for flying domestically, buying alcohol and more importantly voting!"
Here in the U.S., ever since Jim Crow, racist white "conservatives" have used a variety of means to prevent poor people, people of color, low-income working people, students, and older people from voting. Techniques have varied over the years, starting with poll taxes and so-called "literacy tests," and now are carefully calibrated by cutting voting sites, reducing early voting, and even disenfranchising North Dakota's Native American population.
The GOP stepped up their voter suppression game in 1980 when Heritage Foundation, ALEC, and Moral Majority co-founder and Reagan campaigner Paul Weyrich famously said, "I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people; they never have been from the beginning of our country, and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections, quite candidly, goes up as the voting populace goes down."
This is still the GOP game plan, although they've turned it into an art form. First, they spent a decade whipping up fear about "voter fraud" -- brown people from Mexico voting in our elections, something that happens as often as five or six times per election cycle nationally (as opposed to over 130 million citizens voting). Then, they use this non-threat to pass voter ID laws that make it hard for people who don't drive (old age, can't afford a car, live in a big city and use public transportation, or live on campus) to vote.
For example, in the run-up to 2012, Pennsylvania House Leader, Republican Mike Turzai, declared, "Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor Romney to carry the state of Pennsylvania: Done!"
While it didn't quite work out that way in 2012, the Pennsylvania GOP came back in 2016, along with 26 other Republican-controlled states, to purge over 16 million people from the voting rolls nationally... helping give Pennsylvania (along with Michigan, Iowa, and Wisconsin, according to Paul Waldman in the Washington Post) to Donald Trump by razor-thin margins far smaller than the number of voters purged and/or turned away at the polls.