By Ivan J. Miller, Ph.D.
We, like the rest of America, have had a chance to breathe a deep sigh of relief as the Senate has—at least temporarily—agreed to stop talking about a repeal and/or replace of the Affordable Care Act that would have taken health care away from millions. Although the Congressional alternatives to the ACA were atrocious, we also know that the ACA did not do the job. It is unbelievably complicated, way too expensive, and does not provide health care to enough people.
At least for now, we will be able to focus proactively on creating a universal health care system. Our goal is to ramp up education efforts and speakers. When Bernie Sanders introduces his proposal, there will be new energy behind Improved Medicare for All.
When Improved Medicare for All takes center stage, we anticipate increased opposition from the big medicine profiteers and the market ideologues who believe that an economically moral system allows unfettered profits. In addition, in spite of every industrialized country having universal health care at a lower cost than the U.S. and the success of Medicare, many establishment progressives will argue that achieving universal health care in the U.S. is an impossibly complicated and expensive goal.
It is also predictable that, in the name of realism, the establishment will call for avoiding Improved Medicare for All, and for putting all energy into achieving small change through the incrementalism shuffle. As incrementalists, they want to avoid the real moral issue—the idea that big medicine’s rights to profits needs to tempered by fair rules and the people’s right to life and need for health care. Each incremental goal will likely be worthy, but unfortunately, the process will consume a lot of the oxygen in the health care debate.
Our work remains focused on making sure that Colorado supports the national movement for universal health care and developing a plan for Colorado to lead the nation with a universal health care proposal. We are ready and willing to confront the real issues. As we move into a more pro-active phase, we are reaching out to like-minded groups that have been defending the ACA. Universal health care will only come about by a grassroots movement through the energy of many volunteers and supporters. To be involved and support the campaign, please get connected with a Regional Organizer and follow our e-mail announcements.
To find your Regional Organizer, go to http://www.couniversalhealth.org/get-active/
Ivan J. Miller is the Executive Director of the Colorado Foundation for Universal Health Care.