On Single Payer

by

Now that the election of 2008 has settled the issue of who Americans want in the White House and Congress, this blog needs to move beyond defining and defending liberal and conservative positions.  We need to use this space to discuss real issues facing real people both here in Unicoi County and throughout the country.

One such issue, and it’s an enormous issue, is the matter of health care.  This contributor is coming out fully in favor of Representative John Conyers’ H.R. 676, the United States National Health Insurance Act, which creates a single-payer, publicly financed, privately delivered, universal health care program.

This program would essentially extend Medicare to all Americans, regardless of their income levels.  Go to http://www.johnconyers.com/print/244 for a detailed description of the proposed legislation.

Now we know that conservatives will scream “socialism”, hoping that the “red menace” emotions of the McCarthy years will still invoke fear and loathing in peoples’ minds.  (Yes, I’m old enough to remember the McCarthy years and the anti-communist witch hunts that characterized the era.)

But, as I’ve written before in this space, socialism is not the real issue.  We have lots of socialized institutions in our communities.  Our sheriff, our police, and our public roads departments are all socialized.  (And yes – I do get a sort of wicked pleasure out of pointing out that both the road superintendent and the sheriff are, respectively, the chairman and past chairman of the County’s Republican Party.)   All that really means is that we recognize that public roads and safety are in everyone’s best interests and therefore we all chip in, through taxes, to pay for them.

The real issue is whether or not we continue to spend over 30% of every health care dollar on insurance company (mis)management of the system, continuing a practice that effectively denies health care to millions of citizens.  The Conyers bill would cover everyone and would be paid for by a combination of fees and taxes that would be fair to all Americans – rich and poor alike.  Check out the web site for all the details.

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