What single payer really means


DETROIT, MI — Our choice is publicly run “Expanded and Improved Medicare For All” or privately run “Public Health Insurance.” This choice is not just an academic discussion over which insurance option is better, but has huge implications for the availability of quality health care for millions of folks—health care vs. insurance.

Are Democrats and Republicans trying to turn Medicare and Medicaid into privately run Public Health Insurance Plans? The Affordable Care Act (ACA), through the exchanges is trying to expand privately run “Public Health Insurance.” Through the expansion of Medicaid, the ACA is providing a gold mine for the private insurance companies which control 69% of Medicaid dollars in the states.

The Affordable Care Act is just another name for an experiment called “Public Health Insurance.”

S1804 (the Democratic bill in the Senate) will turn over another gold mine to private insurance companies which now control 30% of Medicare dollars through so-called Medicare Advantage plans.

The struggle over HR676 has been going on since it was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2003. And that struggle is still going on. We must recognize that the struggle in the Senate is just another attempt to kill HR676 and establish a bigger pot of gold for the health insurance giants.

We are in a fight with the Federal government as well as the State governments. It may sound strange that after calling the expansion of Medicaid a gold mine for private insurance companies to say that we must fight to expand Medicaid in the 19 states that have not done so. And to protect and improve the expansion of Medicaid in 32 states that have done so.

Carmen Yulín Cruz, Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, has demonstrated for all of us that the immediate struggle is part of the longer struggle. Protecting the expansion of Medicaid is the immediate struggle and is part of the struggle for HR676—Expanded and Improved Medicare For All.

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