In our ongoing campaign against the corporate assault on America’s healthcare system, Ralph welcomes Kip Sullivan of “Healthcare for All Minnesota” to talk about what he terms “the creeping privatization of Medicare,” and tells us the story of how that ongoing corporatization is based on one particularly destructive yet durable myth.
Kip Sullivan is a Health Care Advisor with Health Care for All Minnesota, and has written several hundred articles on health policy. He is an active member of Physicians for a National Health Program, which advocates for universal, comprehensive single-payer national health insurance.
I’ve had numerous conversations with intelligent people with whom I agree on every political issue, except health policy. Who tell me that we need Medicare Advantage, and we need programs like DCEs because there’s this “rampant overuse” in Medicare and in the country at large… Someone’s going to get a Pulitzer Prize to explain how that myth got such a grip on the brains of smart people… A whole lot of smart people that should be progressive on this issue are inebriated by it. And we need to get at the root cause of this apathy toward the takeover of Medicare by these companies by rebutting the myth that there’s something wrong with traditional Medicare.
If you care about a sane and efficient healthcare system in this country, you have to care about retaining the traditional Medicare program. Because it’s an example of an imperfect, nevertheless highly efficient, single-payer program. We are using the phrase “Medicare for All” as a euphemism, or as a bumper sticker phrase for “single payer.” But the longer we wait and watch it get taken over– first by Medicare Advantage and by DCEs– the harder it is to hold Medicare up as a symbol.
Complications are a controlling process by these corporations. Obamacare was over 1500 pages. 1500 pages. Medicare in Canada, when it passed in the 1960s, was 13 pages. 13 pages. So, all this complication is avoidable. And a much more just system is a much simpler system.