Monday, August 3, 2015

Is Medicare for all a possibility?


    Last Saturday got socialized health care along with along with 300,000 other baby boomers born this month and we didn't move to a foreign country.  Exactly fifty years ago, after conservative opposition, the United States decided that senior citizens not having health insurance was something that needed correction and the Medicare program was created.  The very poor were also granted insurance under the Medicaid program.  But the rest of the population was left up to the whims of the private health insurers to get coverage.  All types of insurer rules designed to keep these companies profitable left many Americans, many full time workers, without adequate health care coverage.
       Fast forward to a few years ago and our newly elected President was able to address some of the gaps in coverage for Americans but compromises necessary to get the legislation passed still left many Americans with inadequate health insurance coverage.  This includes those with very high deductibles that have to be met before coverage begins.  Because of this many postpone seeking medical care until it becomes critical.   It is hard to know exactly where our Country will go in the next few years in trying to address the inadequacies of our dysfunctional health care system.  Electing any of the Republican candidates probably means four years of little action on this front.  
       For those of us who support a universal health care system in our Country the next front to move in that direction is to go back and push for a public option to be added to our health insurance system.  Think of it as the beginning of a "Medicare for all" program.  Why should younger working Americans not be able to have the type of coverage that is now granted to senior citizens?  Bringing in younger healthier workers to the Medicare program might even strengthen the program for everyone.  Of course this effort would loose one of the supporters of the Affordable Health Care program--health insurers.   The public option was dropped in part to get their support for the original legislation (that and the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts.)  You can bet that the private health insurers know that a public option will draw a lot of people away from their policies.
     My hope is that my generation is the last one to wait till they are 65 to have the health care coverage that is universal.

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