The Daily Vigil, 7/24/17: The BCRA vs. Single Payer
The Tuesday Vote: Let my own example be a lesson to you, kids. Don’t go around declaring victory before you are absolutely, positively sure you’ve won. The other day, I did just that- I gleefully declared that the BCRA was dead. I had enough good sense to preach caution as well, saying that the Republicans would probably try to circle back to this issue in the future… I just didn’t know they’d try to do so within a week. But, surprise! They’ve scheduled a Senate floor debate tomorrow, and will be doing their best to raise this abomination from the dead once again. You can be sure there will be no Democratic amendments accepted; this will be a dog-and-pony show for the Ted Cruzes of the world, who believe that the BCRA has not gone far enough in attacking the poor. There will also be some attempt to bribe Moderate republicans with more Medicaid money- funding that would still fall woefully short of what would be necessary. Remember, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted that McConnell’s BCRA would demolish $772,000,000,000 from Medicaid funding. Seven hundred and seventy-two billion dollars. Has McConell pledged to restore that amount of funding in its entirety?
This Is Why You Call Democrats: Against this backdrop we have Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader, who comes out yesterday saying that Democrats are willing to consider Single Payer as a platform the whole party supports. This is a fairly major thing for him to say, as Democratic leadership has resisted such pushes in the past. Its not as good as actually drawing up legislation and getting people to officially sign on to it, but it is a step in the right direction- one that we have ourselves to be thankful for. This is why we call Democratic legislators in addition to Republicans. We, as the Left, have to know what we stand for in addition to knowing what we stand against. And through concentrated activism over the course of long months, we are beginning to change the trajectory of the Democratic party. It may sometimes be like trying to steer a cargo ship on the ocean by swimming against one side of it, but we are starting to change its course.
By Grabthar’s Hammer, What a Savings: I’m sure you’ve heard people go on about how expensive it would be to implement a Single Payer health care system. “Thirty two trillion dollars!”, they cry, “How could we possibly afford anything that costs thirty-two trillion dollars!”
First of all, that’s the projected cost over ten years. It costs an average of $9,900 per person to provide Americans with health care, as of 2015. Multiply that by the number of people who’re living in America (roughly 326,000,000) and you come out with more or less 3.2 trillion dollars per year in health expenses. Expand over the course of ten years, and boom, there’s your “32 trillion” figure. However, that price tag only works if health care costs stay level- which they won’t. They’r expected to rise by 5.6% each year through 2025, which means that if we change absolutely nothing about our health care system, we’ll be spending forty nine trillion dollars over ten years by the later half of the 20’s. That’s $17,000,000,000,000 we’re throwing away for no better results than we’re getting today. Imagine the sort of good we could do for our people over the next ten years if we just found a cool seventeen trillion laying around between our national couch cushions!
How Does Single Payer Avoid Such Costs?: Simply put, if everyone can count on quality health care (not just health insurance– not the same thing!), people are more likely to seek treatment for their ailments early on, rather than only seeking care once their situation is dire. Additionally, the establishment of a collective bargaining pool of this size would enable the government to demand lower prices for treatments. The fact that Medicaid and Medicare get the best deals on medicine is nothing new. Now we would be applying that kind of downward pressure with the weight of three hundred and twenty-six million Americans, rather than the 55.3 million that Medicare had in 2015.
This is why it’s so important to keep calling our Senators, everyone- even if they’re Democrats. The Democrats need to hear from the progressive base; they need to know what we will support them for. Hearing from us allows them to go further out on a limb than they otherwise might, and with the 2018 elections coming up fast, they need to be able to point to something and say “THIS is how the Democratic Party can help you, Jane and John Q Public”. Having those issues on lockdown, and communicating that commitment to the public, is the only way we throw the Republicans out of the House in 2018- and restore any semblance of hope that the government will return to serving its people.