Tuesday, July 19, 2011


President Lyndon Johnson enrolls former President Harry Truman as the first Medicare recipient, 1965.

The United States already has a single payer national health insurance program called Medicare. It was first proposed by President Truman in the 1940s as a national health insurance program for everyone. The proposal died in Congress in the face of resistance by the AMA and the insurance industry, as well as Congressional Republicans led by Senator Robert Taft.

Senator John F. Kennedy proposed limiting Medicare benefits to seniors to make the program more palatable to conservatives, and again the program died in Congress. President Kennedy tried again with the same program and again saw it defeated.

It was President Johnson who finally got the program through Congress in 1965. Like Social Security, this is a tremendously successful social program, hobbled recently by limits placed (by Republican policies) on its bargaining power with pharmaceutical companies and health care providers, but still a very great success. It is arguably a better single payer national health program than either Canada's or Britain's systems.

I wonder who all those scooter patriots imagine pays for their scooters? I wonder if those angry hecklers yelling "Keep the gummint outta my Medicare!!" have any idea where Medicare comes from?

No Senator Ryan, a 20% off coupon on private insurance policies is not Medicare or anything like it, anymore than a pizza is the Marines just because you now call a pizza the Marines (hat tip to Rachel Maddow for that one).

Raising the retirement age to around 70 is no problem if your are working in a managerial or professional position, but if you do manual labor in manufacturing, or in services such as housekeeping or kitchen work, then that would be a serious hardship.

Stop punishing the rest of us for the bankers' sins!


Don't Sell Us Out!

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