The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will help millions but it is not enough. If Organizing For Action and other Obamacare supporters want the grassroots to help it get implemented, they need to clearly indicate that it is not the final destination.
Health care represents more than 18% of our GNP according to the WHO ($2.700.000.000.000/year), dwarfing everything else. Obamacare will not bring this down. Norway, with a single-payer system, spends only 9.7% of GNP and 100% of everyone there is covered with significantly better outcomes. As a matter of fact, we are #38 in health care according to the WHO. Hopefully, the ACA will improve our ranking, but even with Obamacare, more than 30 million people will not be covered according to a study by the Health Affairs journal.
And I doubt that the bankruptcies caused by medical bills will be reduced. Sixty-two percent of all bankruptcies are due to medical bills and 75% of those happen to people who HAVE insurance.
I was not happy at all when Obama put single payer off the table before the negotiations with the GOP (and Blue Dog Democrats) got started in 2009. He had supported single payer before 2008, but his bargaining chip for the ACA was the public option.
The ACA was the best Obama could get in the ridiculously polarized and dysfunctional Congress, given Republican shenanigans and Blue Dog timidity. But it is not what is best for the country.
Obama has his hands full implementing the ACA in red states and elsewhere. The fight for Medicare for all continues now state-by-state. Vermont leads the way with its single-payer system based on the Taiwanese model, but single payer advocates are not giving up in many other states, including California, where the movement is regrouping after the fiasco in Sacramento last year.
If we are going to reach the final destination people really want, we need to embrace health care as a human right. Once we do and reject the idea of health care as a privilege, nothing can stop us.
But if you want to expand Obamacare, as a majority of liberals, progressives and Democrats do, according to Pew and Kaiser, follow below.
The fight for Medicare for all will now be held at the state level. Canada implemented its single-payer system province by province, led by Tommy Douglas, who was voted as the most admired Canadian ever. If you have any doubts about the Canadian system, or if you want to educate possible supporters about that system vs. ours, I highly recommend that you get a copy of The Healthcare Movie. Single payer supporters in California use this film to rally the grassroots. It works.
Last Saturday, I spoke at a Democratic club in California, and the message I stressed is that the ACA is a step in the direction towards Medicare for all and it was very well received. I will be doing more of this as often as I can. This gives me hope.
This is one chart that I included in my slides. It shows the increase in the number of healthcare administrators and doctors. The ACA will not address this issue. Today, doctors spend about $70,000 a year in administration.
So what can you do?
If you live in California, consider joining one of these single payer organizations:
California OneCare, Healthcare for All, Physicians for a National Health Plan, Labor United for Universal Healthcare and California Health Professional Student Alliance. We are planning some actions to coincide with the birthday of Medicare around July 30.
If you are a single payer supporter and you are attending Netroots Nation 13, please join me when I attend the only healthcare reform session on Friday at 4:30 in room AC 212. We can all get together after the session in some public area. I proposed a single payer panel, but it was turned down. This is the second year in a row that single payer panels were turned down.
Even if you are not attending, keep an eye on the movement and let us know what you think. I’ll do what I can to keep you informed.
Cross-posted from Daily Kos. Shockwave, a.k.a Al Saavedra, is a board member for California OneCare.