Sanders Unveils "Medicare For All" Bill, But Why Are Corporate Democrats Supporting It?
On September 13th, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) unveiled his signature "Medicare For All" bill, which would take the existing Medicare program, and expand coverage to all citizens irrespective of age or condition. Positively speaking, the inclusion of younger, healthier persons in the program would stabilize it much the same way that the "individual mandate" was intended to stabilize the ACA. The Medicare program is a good one, and expanding it to cover all Americans is certainly a step in the right direction. However, it must be understood that "Medicare For All" is not the same thing as "Single-Payer", or "Universal Health Care". Medicare For All is only an expansion of the existing Medicare program. If Medicare doesn't cover it, you will nonetheless have to pay out of pocket costs. This unfortunately includes many of the most expensive medical procedures, such as cancer treatment, which is only covered up to 80% of the tens of thousands of dollars that cancer costs to cure, in the situation that you survive. If not, the next expense will be the thousands of dollars your family will have to pay for your headstone.
Not to rain on the parades of those celebrating the bill, as that was not my intention in writing this. It is a good bill in that it is a step in the right direction. In fact, although this bill does not go far enough towards Single-Payer health care, it is nonetheless too far to the left to pass the Senate and House of Representatives, both of which are controlled by a majority of Republican leaders repulsed by the idea of compassion and empathy in any form. They would much rather throw the resources of the world's wealthiest nation into the Military Industrial Complex and the health insurance market, being exponentially more lucrative for them.
The fact that the bill does not do enough, and despite the fact that this bill will simply not pass the GOP-dominated Congress should make it less of a surprise that otherwise center-left, neoliberal corporate Democrats are flocking to support the proposed legislation, including Kamala Harris, and Cory Booker (brought to you in part by big pharma). Even Sen. Joe Manchin has stated recently that such a concept "should be explored". It is not likely that "Medicare For All" would enjoy such a level of support from a majority-Democrat Congress, where it would stand a chance of passage. Furthermore, many of the names of the 16 congressional Democrats claiming support for the bill are those who's names have been associated with a run for the Presidency in 2020.
We might also wish to err on the side of caution with regard to one more point. It has been repeatedly stated that "Single-Payer" health care has become a "litmus test" for progressives. Understandably, I previously felt that this was a good thing, as did Jimmy Dore in his recent video addressing the matter, as do other respected leftist sources. However, with center-left Democrats clambering towards the bill, it must be noted that there are now likely to be thousands of misled progressives thinking that Kamala Harris or Cory Booker is suddenly a progressive. This is the fallacy with litmus tests. Now that Kamala Harris is "on the good side" of the progressive left, she stands a greater chance of a presidential run in 2020, no doubt proudly touting that she was for the Sanders bill, and likely holding a number of right-wing positions that will now fly under the left's radar as they focus on the shiny object of a health care win. Do not be deceived with regard to these candidates, or, for that matter, this bill. The "Medicare For All" bill is good politics, and it's a step in the right direction, but that's it.