Over the past two weeks I have received a lot
of email from people who are depressed, realizing that neither
the Democratic or Republican candidates are yet supporting guaranteed
quality single-payer healthcare for all. They want to know “Who
is better? Obama or Clinton?”
What is obvious to all of us is that neither
of them is willing to utter the “S” word – Single-payer. They
have been terrified by the traditionalist Washington Beltway
groups who insist that single-payer is “not feasible.” That
we must wait until we have a really progressive government in
place before we can hope to push forward for a healthcare system
that would eliminate the role of the insurance companies. They
are willing to wait another four to eight years or more to begin
working for single-payer.
However, more and more people know that the insurance
companies are killing people – every day. The new statistics
show that 101,000 people in the U.S.
die unnecessarily from illness – far more than any of the single-payer
countries that provide healthcare for all their people - no
Who is going to bell the cat? Millions of new
people are joining us who want real change in this system of
privatization and denial. Isn’t this the perfect time for us
to be saying to Clinton and Obama and McCain that we insist
on single-payer, a healthcare system that works for all of us,
that will not deny anyone based on ability to pay?
ANSWER to all the people who want to know who is better is to
say that all of them have defective healthcare programs.
Hillary Clinton supports the atrocious individual mandate program
introduced in Massachusetts and California
by Republic governors Romney and Schwarzenegger. It is also
supported by the Heritage
Foundation and the insurance companies who are making a
killing off the fact that the government of Massachusetts
is criminalizing anyone in the state who does not purchase insurance
from them. Many of those in Massachusetts
are being forced to pay penalties even though they still don’t
have any health insurance. Ms Clinton almost got it right in
one of the debates when she said, well, if people were not required
to participate, the Medicare and Social Security programs wouldn’t
Of course, the difference is that Medicare and
Social Security serve everybody without denials because they
are programs that belong to us, the citizens. We ought to have
Medicare handling our national healthcare system.
But Barack Obama did not pick up on that opening.
It would have been a perfect opportunity to say, “Then why don’t
we go for Medicare for All? It would cost less and provide more!”
He didn’t do it. He, too, is requiring everyone to purchase
insurance, even when he talks about his plan that would allow
everyone to participate in the Federal Employees program – a
program that provides everybody with a list of private insurance
companies from whom they must purchase their insurance.
BUT DO NOT DESPAIR!
To be fair, both Hillary and Barack talk about
some kind of public plan too. No details yet. Unfortunately,
you can bet your bottom dollar that the insurance companies
will not allow a public program to be a really competitive program
that would attract virtually everybody to go for public healthcare
with no denials, no premiums, co-pays or deductibles. The truth
is, it would cost billions of dollars less if we removed the
insurance companies and their profits, lobbyists, advertising,
to provide better healthcare for everybody.
SO, HOW CAN WE PREVAIL?
Big question. But we should be clear that we
don’t have to wait any longer. “We are the ones we have been
waiting for,” to quote June Jordan and Miss Ella Baker
of the civil rights movement. We have work to do, right now.
must elect new progressive congress members in every Congressional
District or re-elect those who are already supporting single-payer
national healthcare and opposing the war. They must hear our
loud demand that we want “Healthcare – Not Warfare.”
We can elect these people. If you are in a district where no
one is running against a bad Congress member, run a candidate
in opposition. Even if the primary is over in your district,
run a write-in candidate. This is our year to win! But
we can’t win it if we are not in it. I can’t urge you strongly
enough. A number of candidates have dropped out of the race
– Bush supporters who see the handwriting on the wall. More
will do so. Anything can happen. In the meantime, more and more
single-payer people are throwing their hats into the ring.
This commentary is going out to an additional
10,000 people this time. People have been sending their lists
to us to invite people to join.
So, here’s the deal. Our national activist list
is going to be organizing debates and truth hearings, demonstrations
in front of insurance companies, memorial vigils remembering
those who have died because of insurance company denials, conferences
in Boston, Oakland and Minneapolis to help us learn about healthcare
as a human right and to be able to articulate the problems with
the individual mandate programs.
Please get involved yourself and send us the
contacts for your friends and neighbors, relatives and email
buddies if they too would like to work for a single-payer national
healthcare system right now in this strategic period. We
will connect them to the campaign being organized by some of
the student groups working in healthcare clinics nationwide
and/or the healthcare-now activists working in communities nationwide,
organizing candidate debates and truth hearings. Just send names
to me directly at email@example.com.
We need names, addresses and emails. We will return to you
and each of your friends a Tool Kit for Organizing - with critical
information about contacts in their community and their Congressional
If you can’t help us with the organizing,
please send a contribution. Just go to our website, www.healthcare-now.org
and hit DONATE NOW. This may be the most important gift you
ever gave in this important time in our history, maybe the best
chance we will have within the next twenty years or even in
our lifetime to get a guaranteed national single-payer healthcare
Think about how fabulous it would be to have
a healthcare system where NO ONE IS EVER DENIED! And where our
money is going to healthcare, not corporate profits. To read
about H.R. 676. Go to http://www.healthcare-now.org/hr676.html
Way to go folks! Don’t give up. Don’t give
in to despair. This is a goooood time to do this work because
our organizing work is paying off. Are there still naysayers?
Sure, but negatives aside, we are on a roll! Popular fighting
Senator Sheila Khuel of California
said recently, “ Single-payer Unfeasible? Only if you are not
willing to fight the insurance companies!”
Let’s go for it! READ Insurance Has Failed
Us, by Laura McClure. Much love and support to all
of you, 1-800-453-1305
Marilyn Clement is the National Coordinator of
here to contact Ms. Clement and Healthcare-NOW.
here to read any of the articles
in this special BC series on Single-Payer Healthcare.