International Forecaster Weekly

Medicare for All Now

The $1.9 trillion stimulus bill helps low and middle-income families but way too little. It’s only for two years.


Stephen Lendman | March 13, 2021

At a time of unprecedented Main Street Depression with over 25% of working-age Americans unemployed, Medicare for all is more essential than ever.

Before made-in-the-USA economic collapse last year, around 33 million Americans lacked healthcare insurance.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, 12 million or more lost coverage last year.

For most US households with health insurance, it’s way inadequate — making coverage as it should be unaffordable for most people.

The $1.9 trillion stimulus bill helps low and middle-income families but way too little. It’s only for two years.

Individuals with income up to $51,520 qualify for subsidies so won’t pay more than 8.5% of annual income for health insurance.

For most households, coverage is way inadequate.

COBRA subsidies for unemployed workers will lapse at end of 2021.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, an individual earning $58,000 with Obamacare coverage will be entitled to a $1,250 tax credit, about 20% of annual premiums.

Healthcare is complicated for US households. It should be simple. It’s around double the cost in other developed countries.

Stimulus bill savings still leaves coverage as it should be unaffordable for tens of millions of US households.

A fundamental human right is unavailable or inadequately available for most Americans.

At a time of economic collapse and widespread deprivation, Medicare for all takes on added importance.

Yet the world’s richest country refuses to provide it.

Sticking with inequitable marketplace medicine, profits are prioritized over human health.

High US healthcare cost is the leading cause of consumer bankruptcies.

Because of high-cost/sharply rising premiums, deductibles and co-pays, healthcare insurance or enough of it for full coverage is way too unaffordable for millions of Americans.

Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) has long called for universal healthcare — everyone in, no one left out, prioritizing public and personal health over profit-making by insurers, Big Pharma, and large hospital chains.

It’s Beyond the Affordable Care Act (ACA) single-payer proposal “was drafted by a working group of 39 physicians and has been endorsed by more than 2,231 other physicians and 149 medical students.” 

“The most important feature of the Physicians’ Proposal is the removal of all financial barriers to medical care.”

Availability of healthcare should solely be based on human need, not cost, not profit-making by health industry firms or other considerations.

Access should be universal — premiums, co-pays, deductibles, and co-insurance eliminated.

The program should be federally financed like Medicare. It should include prescription drugs, dental, mental health, and longterm care.

Eliminating private insurance would free up around $500 billion annually for improved coverage for everyone.

Today it goes for unneeded insurer middlemen overhead, underwriting, billing, sales and marketing practices, excessive executive pay, bonuses, and huge profits.

No one visits their nearest insurer office when ill or injured. Their aim is to minimize costs and maximize profits.

Ignored is that food, shelter, clothing and healthcare are fundamental human rights.

Intense industry lobbying prevents Medicare for all from being enacted into law.

Obamacare prioritizes industry profits over healthcare for all.

The $1.9 trillion stimulus measure falls way short of fixing an inequitable system.

Most nations provide some form of universal coverage. Monied interests prevent its arrival in the US.

No one should have to choose between medical care when needed or paying for other essentials like rent, heat in winter, and other expenses.

Fundamental human rights should never be based on the ability to pay.

Yet mass unemployment, underemployment, institutionalized inequity and injustice, military Keynesianism, a permanent state of war, growing social injustice, erosion of human rights, totalitarian rule, and dysfunctional healthcare are the shame of the nation no longer safe and fit to live in.

Today it’s an unparalleled threat to the lives and welfare of ordinary people everywhere.