Promoting the “General Welfare” Should Include Health Care for All

Obamacare is an inefficient end-run around the right’s insane aversion to single payer health care for all

The Constitution says that government should promote “the general welfare.” To me and millions of others, that means not only providing fire fighting, policing, roads and schools, but health care insurance.

It is our government — supposedly — and as a society, we ought to set a minimum that will help people avoid poverty and sickness. It’s the best thing not only for the “downtrodden,” but for all of us, as a society decaying around us is not good for anyone.

Unfortunately, we’ve allowed the greediest among us to take over the function of government, and by allowing virtually unlimited election funding, we’ve assured ourselves of something closer to an oligarchy than a democracy.

A lot of Democrats don’t care for Ralph Nader, ever since the 2000 presidential election, when he was blamed for throwing the election to Bush, at Gore’s expense, in Florida. But I would think Republicans would like him for doing that. And he criticizes Democrats as much as Republicans, calling them two branches of the same party.

So maybe some conservatives could keep an open mind and listen when Ralph Nader says:

[One] reaction to Senator Cruz was that many of his more specific objections to Obamacare — its mind-numbing complexity, opposition by formerly supportive labor unions, and employers reacting by reducing worker hours below 30 hours a week to escape some of the law’s requirements — are well-taken and completely correctable by single-payer health insurance, as provided in Canada. Single-payer, or full Medicare for all, with free choice of physician and hospital has been the majority choice of Americans for decades. Even a majority of doctors and nurses favor it.

Single-payer’s advantage is that everybody is in, nobody is out. It is far more efficient, allows for better outcomes…

For example, in Canada, full Medicare covers everyone at half the per capita cost that Americans pay even though 50 million Americans are still not covered. The U.S. per capita figure is almost $9,000 a year and over 17% of our total GDP. In Canada, administrative costs are much lower…

Critics of Canada’s system charge it with delays for patients. For some elective procedures, provinces that were under-investing have experienced some delays until Ottawa raised its contributions. Canada spends just over 10% of its GDP on healthcare, by comparison…

For those who prefer to believe hard-bitten businesspeople, Matt Miller, writing yesterday in The Washington Post, interviewed big business executives — David Beatty who ran the giant Weston Foods and Roger Martin long-time consultant to large U.S. companies in Canada. They were highly approving of the Canadian system and are baffled at the way the U.S. has twisted itself in such a wasteful, harmful and discriminatory system…

Mr. Martin, an avowed capitalist, who has experienced healthcare in the U.S. and Canada, according to Mr. Miller, called Canadian Medicare “incredibly hassle-free,” by comparison.

Republicans are all in a tizzy over Obamacare, but it’s really their fault. For one, they invented it, before they opposed it. For another, it was their opposition to single payer health care that forced this byzantine law.

The right’s unreasonable fears of single payer, calling it “socialist,” etc, is not even based in reality. As I noted earlier, we elect to provide ourselves police and fire protection, etc, so why not health care? America will not suddenly turn into a Marxist society just because we finally do what every other democratic first world country in the world does regarding health care, we will simply take a huge financial burden off our backs.

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