The Simple Health-Care Solution

In an editorial for the Washington Post, Sen. George S. McGovern (1972 presidential candidate who lost to Nixon, and boy that worked out, didn’t it?) offers up a simple, smart, elegant solution to our national health-care nightmare:

If we want comprehensive health care for all our citizens, we can achieve it with a single sentence: Congress hereby extends Medicare to all Americans. Those of us over 65 have been enjoying this program for years. I go to the doctor or hospital of my choice, and my taxes pay all the bills. It’s wonderful. But I would have appreciated it even more if my wife and children and I had had such health-care coverage when we were younger. I want every American, from birth to death, to get the kind of health care I now receive. Removing the payments now going to the insurance corporations would considerably offset the tax increase necessary to cover all Americans.

Medicare exists. It works. It’s beloved by its beneficiaries, who are such a large voting block that it’s beloved even by most conservative politicians, who ought to despise it as the dread “socialism” they fear so much. Why not just expand it?

We know that Medicare has worked well for half a century for those of us over 65. Why does it become “socialized medicine” when we extend it to younger Americans?

…We recently bailed out the finance houses and banks to the tune of $700 billion. A country that can afford such an outlay while paying for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan can afford to do what every other advanced democracy has done: underwrite quality health care for all its citizens.

If Medicare needs a few modifications in order to serve all Americans, we can make such adjustments now or later. But let’s make sure Congress has an up or down vote on Medicare for all before it adjourns this year. Let’s not waste time trying to reinvent the wheel. We all know what Medicare is. Do we want health care for all, or only for those over 65?

Those of us who care about our fellow citizens, rather than mostly ill-educated ideals of selfishness and short-sightedness, certainly do.

The whole piece is here. Thanks go to Betsy Burnam for making me aware of it.

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