By Ralph Nader
Dear Representative Pelosi:
I see you were quoted in The Hill newspaper recently (“Pelosi Rips GOP for Cut and Run Strategy on Obamacare,” by Mike Lillis, January 12, 2017) saying that you are for single payer health insurance. You had this preference before Presidents Clinton and Obama, who ideally agree with you, dismissed single payer as “impractical” given the entrenched and powerful healthcare industry.
A couple of years ago, I wrote an article titled “21 Ways Canada’s Single Payer System Beats Obamacare”.
Within a week or so, your colleague, Congressman John Conyers (D-Michigan), will re-introduce HR 676, the single payer bill in the House.
Will you actively support this much more efficient and comprehensive legislation, with its many advantages proven in other countries, and persuade other House Democrats to also co-sponsor?
Last year, only 63 Democrats co-sponsored.
Obamacare, without a public option, has been a complex patchwork in so many ways — including forcing individuals to purchase inadequate insurance from private health insurance companies — insurance that carries with it high premiums, deductibles, co-pays and forces narrow networks.
For many, Obamacare is quasi-catastrophic insurance with limited choice of doctor and hospital.
If the Republicans repeal Obamacare, Democrats need to be ready and offer to replace it with something that can attract left/right support — single payer, Medicare for All — everyone in, nobody out, free choice of doctor and hospital, no medical bankruptcies, no coercive co-pays or deductibles, with all their accompanying fears and anxieties, and no more deaths due to lack of health insurance.
A December 2015 national Kaiser public opinion poll found that 58 percent of adults in the U. S. supported single payer (Medicare for All), including 81 percent of Democrats, 60 percent of Independents, and 30 percent of Republicans. Imagine the poll numbers when Full Medicare for All starts to be explained, in its clear simplicity, and promoted by a major political party.
Let’s work together to present the American people something both more efficient and responsive that they want and need — Medicare for All and freedom to choose their doctor, clinic and hospital.