The Senate almost debated health care reform this seek.No, not the tepid tinkering proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, in the compromised for demanded by Senator Joe Lieberman, I-Insurance Industry.
We’re talking real reform.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has always understood that the real reform involves a lot more than enriching insurance companies with massive new infusions of federal money.
The real reform takes the insurance companies out of the equation and replaces them with a single-payer Medicare-for-All system that provides care to all Americans and cuts costs by eliminating corporate profiteering.
The Medicare-for-All reform has always been the right fix.Barack Obama, as a U.S. Senate candidate in 2003, said as much.
“I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care program,” he told a crowd of union activists. “I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14 percent of its Gross National Product on health care cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. And that’s what (reformers are) talking about when (they say) everybody in, nobody out. A single payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. And that’s what I’d like to see.”
Obama was right six years ago. Unfortunately, he has opted for compromise and the result is the unfocused, lobbyist-driven, spin-defined debate over so-called “reform.”
Sanders has kept to the real reform path and, on Wednesday, he was supposed to get a vote on a proposal to amend the Senate health-care reform bill to replace all the compromises with a single-payer plan that would provide health care and dental coverage for every American, save money, and improve health care results.
“In my view, the single-payer approach is the only way we will ever have a cost-effective, comprehensive health care system in this country,” explained the independent senator from Vermont. “One of the reasons our current health care system is so expensive, so wasteful, so bureaucratic, so inefficient is that it is heavily dominated by private health insurance companies whose only goal in life is to make as much money as they can.”
Like many of the amendments proposed by Democratic and Republican senators during the current wrangling over health-care reform, the Sanders amendment was not going to pass. But the prospect of the debate on it offered a rare opportunity for the Senate to engage in real debate about what needs to be done to provide care for all and eliminating unnecessary costs.