Democrats Need to Fight for Single-Payer Healthcare.

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There is a little, white-haired old man in Washington, sometimes disheveled, hair in disarray, peering out either mischievously or defiantly from behind less-than-fashionable eyeglasses.  He could be pushed over by an  eight-year-old. An offensive lineman from the NFL could pick him up with one hand.

But he’s the toughest man in the Senate and don’t you, by God, forget it. He will stand until you knock him down and then he’ll get up again and again until he wears you out. You see, he never loses focus and never tires because he has only one master to serve…the People. He is unabashedly populist, insanely reasonable for Washington and a man who thinks the People have the same number of rights as big corporations. He is Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and he is for single payer healthcare. He put his formula for the People’s healthcare into a bill and he is fighting for it in Congress and he needs your help to help him help you.

It is old fashioned health care brought up to date. It seems so simple and easy that not even the Neocon Republicans and their multi-billion-dollar lobbyists can figure out exactly how to attack it. It’s too logical and practical for their corporate view of life.

How hard is this to understand? Try this: you go to the doctor, any doctor. He/she does something to make you better. The bills go to the government. They pay the doctor and the hospital and the other services. That’s it. Just like the old days, except that instead of paying the doctor directly, you pay the government a monthly fee, far less than you pay now. The government writes the check for you.

The cost of change is already built into the 2010 budget but the ongoing costs for healthcare…and everyone will have it and it will come out of your paycheck just like Social Security.

Why is the entire spectrum of healthcare against it? Well, look at it this way. Right now, despite the fact that CEOs of healthcare corporations make between $150 million and about $10 million ANNUALLY in salary and bonuses, over 40 million people not only cannot afford health care but have not been able to afford health care for years. Some–it is estimated about 20,000 of those uncovered individuals–die each year because of lack of care. Others, about half of all bankruptcies, 500,000 per year) go broke because of health care bills they cannot afford to pay. Three quarters of those who go bankrupt because of health care bills actually had health care insurance.

Let me see if I can frame this very simply. Health care is a trillion-dollar business. Huge numbers of people who are in health care are making a fortune at the expense of the American people who are literally being bankrupted so that these people can get rich. It is not more complicated than that. They don’t want to lose their golden goose and they don’t care, literally, if you die because of it.

There is a campaign on television right now…something like conservatives for (supposedly) better health care. All you need to know about them is this: Rick Scott, the head guy and the guy in the commercials, developed Columbia HCA, a hospital group that cheated the U.S. taxpayers out of hundreds of millions of dollars. His firm, from which he was eventually fired, was fined ONE BILLION DOLLARS, so egregious was the crime. He did not go to jail for some unknown reason.

Now he is back and he wants you to listen to him, as he wanted you to listen to Harry and Louise. He has hired the Swift Boat public relations firm and they are producing the commercials. And how could he be starting up again after the last catastrophe? Well, this is how the health industry works. He may have been guilty of fleecing the American people, but when he was fired he got $10 million in parting gifts and $300 million in stock.

You need to get real. You need to stop listening to people who tell you that they “will” do something and listen to people like those offering universal, single-payer healthcare who will “make” the health care companies do what WE want them to do. Get out of our lives and find some other scam.

Senator Sanders’ bill is very similar to the house legislation, HR 1200. Here are the highlights of the bill:

* There are no co-pays or deductibles. People can choose their current doctor and change doctors and hospitals when they choose.

* The tax structure in paying for this will add new taxes. But when subtracting the current costs of health insurance, the net cost will be less, and for some will be as much as 90% less.

* The benefits will be greater, such as coverage for dental, prescription drugs mental health and preventative programs.

* The program will be funded by federal taxes both on individuals and more modest taxes on businesses, but it will be administered at the state level.

* The plan will eliminate private, investor-owned health insurance and by doing so will save Americans over $400 billion per year. It will enable Americans to purchase this kind of comprehensive health care for less than $2,000 per year.

* More people will have access to care in rural areas. It is estimated that about 60 million rural Americans will now have good, accessible and reliable health care.

* The bill will set up a National Health Service Corps that will train an additional 24,000 general practitioners. Our current system promotes specialists. Now we will have both, so that you will finally be able to get a doctor’s appointment in a reasonable period of time.

This legislation is very close to the legislation HR 1200  introduced by Representativer (Dr.) Jim McDermott (D.-Washington). It is also similar to HR 676 introduced by Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio. By the way, the fact that we will save $400 billion a year and that this will cover all of us with services like those in Sanders’, Kucinich’s and McDermott’s bills is NOT in dispute. It has been confirmed by many, many sources, including the Congressional Budget Office which does this kind of reliable number-crunching in both Democratic and Republican administrations.