Sunday, August 30, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Dear President Obama: A Modest Medicare Proposal
by Thom Hartmann
I understand you're thinking of dumping your "public option" because of all the demagoguery by Sarah Palin and Dick Armey and Newt Gingrich and their crowd on right-wing radio and Fox. Fine. Good idea, in fact.
Instead, let's make it simple. Please let us buy into Medicare.
It would be so easy. You don't have to reinvent the wheel with this so-called "public option" that's a whole new program from the ground up. Medicare already exists. It works. Some people will like it, others won't - just like the Post Office versus FedEx analogy you're so comfortable with.
Just pass a simple bill - it could probably be just a few lines, like when Medicare was expanded to include disabled people - that says that any American citizen can buy into the program at a rate to be set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) which reflects the actual cost for us to buy into it.
So it's revenue neutral!
To make it available to people of low income, raise the rates slightly for all currently non-eligible people (like me - under 65) to cover the cost of below-200%-of-poverty people. Revenue neutral again.
Most of us will do damn near anything to get out from under the thumbs of the multi-millionaire CEOs who are running our current insurance programs. Sign me up!
This lets you blow up all the rumors about death panels and grandma and everything else: everybody knows what Medicare is. Those who scorn it can go with Blue Cross. Those who like it can buy into it. Simplicity itself.
Of course, we'd like a few fixes, like letting Medicare negotiate drug prices and filling some of the holes Republicans and AARP and the big insurance lobbyists have drilled into Medicare so people have to buy "supplemental" insurance, but that can wait for the second round. Let's get this done first.
Simple stuff. Medicare for anybody who wants it. Private health insurance for those who don't. Easy message. Even Max Baucus and Chuck Grassley can understand it. Sarah Palin can buy into it, or ignore it. No death panels, no granny plugs, nothing. Just a few sentences.
Replace the "you must be disabled or 65" with "here's what it'll cost if you want to buy in, and here's the sliding scale of subsidies we'll give you if you're poor, paid for by everybody else who's buying in." (You could roll back the Reagan tax cuts and make it all free, but that's another rant.)
We elected you because we expected you to have the courage of your convictions. Here's how. Not the "single payer Medicare for all" that many of us would prefer, but a simple, "Medicare for anybody who wants to buy in."
Thom Hartmann (thom at thomhartmann.com) is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program The Thom Hartmann Show.www.thomhartmann.com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People: A Call To Take Back America," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class and What We Can Do About It," and "Cracking The Code: The Art and Science of Political Persuasion." His newest book is Threshold: The Crisis of Western Culture.
A message to the LIARS on Hate-Radio and at Town hall meetings:
How dare you lie to your listeners. These BLATANT lies have to stop. The Birthers and the Liars on Fox "News" -- Why are you allowed to lie for years about everything? You know the truth. You know you are being paid by wealthy insurance companies to defeat our chance for free and low cost health care. But you lie with every breath you take.
You are inciting people to violence, hate-speak and bringing assault weapons to Presidential rallies. This should be illegal. Now we demand stricter gun control! You people are denying me of my right to feel safe. This is more important than your right to flaunt you "guns and gun-rights" at a public rally on health care where children attend. We've had enough of you. You are un-American, self-serving, and have caused nothing but destruction.
After listening to Glen Beck, one man in PA murdered 3 Police officers in cold blood because he was all hyped up on FEAR. Guess who got him this way? Glen Beck kept screaming on his CNN TV show these kinds of LIES: "Obama's gonna take your guns!" WHERE DID HE GET THIS? WHY DID HE MAKE THIS UP? President Obama never said he was going to take away anyone's guns.
I can't even bring a glass bottle or nail clippers to a rock concert. Why are there violent right-wing racists allowed to show up at Health Care rallies with weapons? Huge assault rifles? I am ashamed and embarrased to have these as my fellow Americans and everyone should be ashamed of the Republican party for condoning LIES, RACISM AND HATE-SPEAK.
Now I know why I am no longer a Republican. Thank God. THere is nothing remotely Christian or moral about this current tribe.
TRILLIONS SPENT ON WAR DURING BUSH, YET YOU WON'T SPEND ON LIFE AND HEALTH CARE
To those who brag about being right-wing terrorists: you spend trillions on war, on an illegal and horrifying invasion of Iraq based on lies for oil to profit BIG OIL. You destroyed millions of innocent Iraqi lives, children's lives -- and thousands of American troops lives. With your evil war, and these seeds you have sown, the result is over 30,000 maimed, injured American troops with the highest suicide rate of any returning military in any war AND YET -- yet you won't spend money on HEALTH CARE for your own people?