Candidates Debate Healthcare Reform


Once again, healthcare reform is at the forefront of the U.S. political debate. CNN allotted healthcare the lead-off spot and 22 minutes on both nights of its Democratic Presidential Debates this week, more than for any other issue.

Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) perhaps best captured the key challenge — unsustainable costs:

In the United States of America every Democrat should stand with the belief that everyone should have access to healthcare, that it’s a human right. How we get there, it has to be to end this broken system. Because we are on our way in just a handful of years of literally spending twenty percent of our economy, one out of every five dollars spent, on healthcare. And we spend more than every other nation on everything from MRI’s to insulin drugs, … multiple more than other countries.

Respected conservative columnist George Will has responded by tarring the various Medicare-for-all proposals as “losing” – too expensive, impractical, and subject to political whims.

Other commentators have taken the Democratic candidates to task for waxing wonky but not giving a plainspoken explanation of the healthcare issue. Vox has responded with a comparison of 9 current Medicare-for-all bills. All the bills have one thing in common: government control over prices.

Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) also has now weighed in on healthcare with a plainspoken opinion piece.  Here are her key explanations of her Medicare-for-all bill:

Myth #1: Americans love their private employer-based health insurance. Fact: They love their doctor, not their insurance. They could keep their doctor under Medicare-for-all.

Myth #2: Americans oppose paying taxes for Medicare-for-all. Fact: Americans would almost certainly welcome paying less in Medicare taxes than the current $28,000 annual total spent on premiums, copays, deductibles, out-of-pocket and payroll deductions, as well as hidden costs embedded in consumer prices.

Myth #3: Labor unions oppose Medicare-for-all. Fact: Many labor unions have endorsed Medicare-for-all, and recognize that it would allow wages to rise.

Myth #4: Supporting Medicare-for-all means immediately canceling Obamacare.  Fact: “We can strengthen the ACA and work toward Medicare-for-all at the same time. Even former president Barack Obama agrees.”  (Note: Rep. Jayapal’s bill keeps Obamacare while phasing in Medicare-for-all over a four-year time frame.)

Myth #5: Incremental steps such as a public option will be enough to control healthcare costs. Fact: “We simply cannot expect to bring down the costs of health care in the United States without taking on the for-profit insurance and pharmaceutical corporations… Incremental steps such as a public option might sound appealing but would still leave more than 10 million people without coverage while keeping in place a costly private-insurance middleman that eats up 25 to 30 percent in administrative waste and profits.”

Undoubtedly more to come.  Stay tuned. . .

Now, take action.

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Image Credits:

Title:  Senator Cory Booker

By: Senate of the United States




George Will attending the Washington Nationals at Baltimore Orioles May 21, 2011

By: Keith Allison


License: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.


Title:  Representative Pramila Jayapal

By: U.S. House Office of Photography




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