Happy Birthday, Medicare! I should send you one of those gag cards that teases you about getting older—but at 46, you’re a year younger than I am, so I won’t go there. On your special day, a little reminiscing about your life…
You sure did have a hard time in the womb. Many times, your enemies—the ones we always have with us, those who believe man is an island entire of himself—tried to abort you. Even the doctors in the AMA worked like the dickens to get rid of you. They didn’t kill you, thank goodness, but they did succeed in maiming you. You were conceived as a public insurance for us all, but by the time you were born you had lost the limbs to care for those under age 65. And you were hobbled so that you could only cover limited services, leaving deductibles and co-pays.
Even with your birth injuries, you’ve managed to do a lot of good in your 46 years. I’m grateful for the service you’ve given to my grandparents, my father, and my in-laws. Without your help, my husband and I would have been bankrupt long ago trying to help pay for their medical care. Folks who worry about being in the “sandwich generation” now probably don’t realize how bad it would be with medical bills piled on top of that sandwich. Our finances would be panini, or maybe toast.
Your enemies have tried to poison you over the years. They force you to donate blood to something they call “Medicare Advantage”, private corporations who divert your precious transfusions toward their own profit instead of caring for patients. These same enemies put a gag over your mouth so you couldn’t negotiate with drug companies for fair prices. Even today, some are working to drain all your blood and give it to private corporate vampires.
These actions have weakened you, but there’s a way to restore you to health. We’ve got the technology to reattach the limbs you lost at birth, so you can become what you were always meant to be—Medicare for All. Not only that, but we can improve you—make you cheaper and stronger—by removing your burdensome co-pays and deductibles.
Some worry you’d be slower with all your limbs. We can plan ahead to solve that problem by training more doctors and other health workers. Once we remove all those bloodsucking insurance companies from you and the rest of us, you can get your strength back. Our healthcare system as a whole has had to operate on 2/3 power for decades, while private insurers and the associated administrative costs have siphoned off a third of our medical funds. Imagine what we can do when fully powered!
Happy Birthday, Medicare! I’ll quit talking about your enemies—after all, this is a day to celebrate. You also have friends. Friends who love you are working tirelessly to help you fulfill your dreams. Physicians for a National Health Program, Healthcare-Now!, and many other organizations, including labor unions and churches, continue to gain new members working for your cause. There’s great hope in the next generation of doctors—the largest medical student group, the American Medical Student Association, officially endorses Medicare for All. Even smart conservatives support you, because you are the most financially responsible way to address our health insurance needs.
So today, it’s all about you! We’re having parties and singing your song, all over the country. Happy Birthday, Dear Medicare. May you have many, many more.
Re-posted with permission from Pippa Abston’s blog.