It has been a year since what has now become popularly known as Obamacare was signed into law by the President and the irrepressible Joe Biden said it was some sort of “big fucking hairy deal.” Over twenty millions of Americans now can get subsidized health care services that could not before. Many of them are children.
In Vermont, Governor Peter Shumlin, Senators Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy, and Congressman Peter Welch along with the Vermont Worker’s Center have committed themselves to a Single Payer health care system in that state. It is to be a laboratory via a Federal waiver under Obamacare, to see if such a system could be expanded and Federalized. The effort faces stiff corporate opposition as it threatens the many profit centers and corporate control of health care that has led to the crisis the nation remains in.
For Obamacare is expensive however much we like to sugar coat it. And it leaves millions yet uncovered by health insurance and may not prevent American citizens from bankrupting themselves in merely having the cheekiness to want to stay alive and battle a mortal illness.
In the United States Congress, New York Representative John Wiener and a group of progressives are attempting to revive the public option that was set aside when the Federal health care initiative was drafted over a year ago. Republican budget cutting makes this option look more attractive in the face of some steep financial commitments the government will have to make.
But our vision must be bolder still. It won’t do to have Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, and even state plans all over the nation in a patchwork quilt that is both expensive and inefficient. What is lacking is the will and moral insight to see and to know, and to act on what we see and know.
The greatest stumbling block to healthcare as a fundamental human right and one protected under the United States Constitution, is the subordination of the public good to corporate interest and corporate money, and yes we say unabashedly, corporate greed.
Anyone who has dealt with a private insurance company knows how much they spend on simply denying people their rightful benefits. We all know that without effective cost controls on the already swollen profits of private insurers, and perhaps the elimination of those companies in the marketplace health care for all as a human right is virtually an impossibility. We must also act to control costs among doctors and private health care providers.
Most of all, if healthcare for every single American citizen, from the moment they are in the womb to the grave without question and without regard to station in life, requires two amendments to our wonderful Constitution.
The 28th Amendment would require Federal financing of all electoral activity in the United States and would pave the way for the FCC to require public media to broadcast ballot-access candidate debates and forums without charge and as part of a renewed civic responsibility that comes with being conduits of public information. Attack ads for fun and profit would be gone, and Citizens United would be irrelevant.
The 29th Amendment would make healthcare a fundamental right of all American citizens and provide Congress with the power to enforce the amendment by appropriate legislation.
This must be part of the great progressive pushback of the 21st Century. We too have to have our think tanks. So, Struggles For Justice announces that effective immediately we are a Think Tank for a progressive America that puts people ahead of corporate profit and makes the Constitution work for all of our citizens. We are THINK AMERICA now. And readers are invited to submit posts via the Contributions section of the blog and they will be transferred as regular posts or you can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and the Editor will get them up there. The 28th Amendment will enliven the First, and give us the kind of exchange of ideas that has been lacking in the corporate dominated tweedle-dum-tweedle-dee hypnotic consumer mad media we have.
And the 29th Amendment will mark out the United States as a civilized nation that treats its citizens with compassion and dignity and not barbarity in regard to such an essential human need.
Opponents would call this socialism. But it need not be. Private doctors and private health providers via some sort of single-payer system are what is needed. Vermont has it right. Let’s cheer them on. And so what if it were socialism. A communitarian approach to living in this country and interacting with each other is much preferred to the atomized, dog-eat-dog world we always have had and which has been shown to fall far short of a civilized society.
Universal, equal, and accountable healthcare is a human right and it would finally allow the United States to stand out as a civilized nation and perhaps it might elevate us to the world leader in healthcare as a fundamental human right.