By Dave Lindorff
In the surreal alternative reality world of the US Congress, there are many bills passed each year that on the surface may sound like good ideas — they even give them high-sounding names like the US PATRIOT ACT or Better Care and Reconciliation Act, that in fact are the opposite of what they claim to be (the former actually being an unpatriotic undermining of the Bill of Rights and the latter actually being an unsuccessful attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act (itself a deceptively named bill that forced middle-income families to buy hugely expensive insurance plans or pay a tax penalty).
But few of these deceptions are as egregious as one being pushed by embattled incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who is advocating a bill that would require any legislation that would raise taxes on incomes in the bottom 80% to be passed with a 60% majority of the House.
That bill, while promoted by Pelosi as protecting the middle class from future tax rises, actually would make impossible passage of any bill expanding Medicare to cover all Americans, creating a kind of Canadian-model national health system, and might even prevent efforts to strengthen and improve Social Security benefits as called for by progressive Democrats.
The thing is, a broad majority of Americans, including many Republicans, and an overwhelming majority of Democrats, favor Medicare-for-All, a program that would extend and expand Medicare coverage making it a government insurance plan for covering all medical care for all Americans of any age — exactly what Canadians have had since 1971, and which they have overwhelmingly supported through both Liberal and Conservative governments since then.
And to fund such a program, Medicare taxes (currently 1.45% for worker and employer) would of course have to be significantly raised. But what conservative and even so-called “moderate” Democrats who oppose Medicare-for-All deliberately don’t say in criticizing the idea as a tax-increasing horror is that it would eliminate the need to pay insurance premiums for all people and also for employers, that it would eliminate the need to spend $140 billion a year or more on a Veterans Administration bureaucracy to care for military veterans, that it would eliminate Medicaid, the program that provides care for the poor and which currently costs over $600 billion a year in federal and state tax dollars, that it would end “charity care” which is the “free care” hospitals have to provide to ER patients who have to be treated if they have no other funding and don’t qualify for Medicaid — care which ends up raising private insurance premiums for those who do have insurance, and that would even lower car insurance premiums, since these would no longer have to pay for hospital care caused by accidents.
For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the uncompromised, collectively run, six-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative news site, please go to: https://thiscantbehappening.net/blocking-a-medicare-payroll-tax-rise-could-rule-out-medicare-for-all-and-bolstering-social-security/