GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES
For Immediate Release:
Monday, May 16, 2011
Green Party urges passage of Sen. Sanders' Medicare For All bill
• Mediicare For All must replace Obamacare; Greens urge rejection of
Democratic and Republican plans to cut and privatize Medicare
• Green Party Speakers Bureau: Greens available to speak on health
WASHINGTON, DC -- The Green Party called for national support for
legislation introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (Ind.-Vt.) for a
single-payer national health system (Medicare For All) and urged
Congress to reject Republican and Democratic plans to scale back
"The Sanders bill does what needs to be done -- it eliminates the
control by health insurance companies over our medical care," said Dr.
John Battista, former Green candidate for state representative in
Connecticut and co-author of his state's single-payer legislation in
1999 (the Connecticut Health Care Security Act). "Insurance companies
pad the cost of health care by as much as 31% for profits, CEO
salaries, and other unnecessary overhead such as managing care, while
restricting and denying care to make even more money. As a result,
over 45 million Americans have no coverage, millions more have
inadequate coverage, and the US has the most expensive, least
cost-effective health system of all industrial democracies in the
world. For-profit health care has consistently been shown to result
in poorer quality health care, and should be abolished, not
subsidized. International experience shows that single-payer improves
health care while reducing costs, eliminating managed care, and
providing increased access."
Greens emphasized that Medicare For All would provide every American
with quality health care regardless of ability to pay, employment,
age, or prior medical condition. It provides full choice of physician
and hospital and prevents people from going into financial ruin
because of a medical emergency. It would boost the economy by
relieving businesses of the burden of providing health care benefits.
Overhead and administration costs would be dramatically reduced from
their current levels of at least 25% to Medicare's current 3%.
"It's significant that Medicare For All has been introduced in 2011 by
someone in the US Senate who is outside the two major parties -- Sen.
Sanders, an independent. Americans who support Medicare For All
should vote to elect Green candidates to Congress, since Greens,
unlike most Democrats, will not compromise or retreat from a real
universal health care bill," said Darryl Moch of the DC Statehood
Green Party and the Green Party Black Caucus.
The Green Party's endorsement of Medicare For All reflects support by
a majority of Americans for such a program, according to numerous
polls (http://pnhp.org/blog/2009/12/09/two-thirds-support-3/ and
Green Party leaders expressed hope that Americans would reject the
Democrats' health care reform bill passed in 2010 ("Obamacare"), which
they called a life-support system for the health insurance industry.
"Medicare For All is superior to Obamacare in every way," said Holly
Hart, secretary of the Green Party of the United States. "The
2009-2010 health care debate between Democrats and Republicans turned
out to be a dispute over which party could best satisfy the health
insurance cartel. Obamacare does very little to stop the skyrocketing
cost of health care, and 23 million Americans will still lack
coverage. Furthermore, Obamacare's mandates -- an idea borrowed from
Republican plans of the 1990s -- require everyone to purchase coverage
from private companies, a legally questionable direct public subsidy
"Obamacare was designed primarily for the benefit of health insurance,
pharmaceutical, and other corporate lobbies, which funneled hundreds
of thousands of dollars in checks to Democratic as well as Republican
campaigns. That's why Sen. Max Baucus [chair of the Senate Finance
Committee] declared single-payer 'off the table' during his health
care reform roundtables in 2009. We were dismayed to see so many
progressive Democrats, who claimed they supported single-payer, turn
around and vote yea on the President's bill," said Tamar Yager,
co-chair of the Green Party of the United States.
Sen. Sanders' introduction of his Medicare For All bill coincides with
efforts by Republicans and by Democrats under White House leadership
to scale back and privatize Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
As economist Dean Baker noted
the privatization plan ("The Path to Prosperity") offered by Rep. Paul
Ryan (R-Wis.) would hike costs for seniors and would ultimately become
a $30 trillion handout from taxpayers to insurance companies, an
expense confirmed by the Congressional Budget Office, and would also
force as many 44 million poor and disabled Americans off Medicaid
during the next decade.
Greens warned that the Obama administration intends to balance the
federal budget with cuts that will "slowly strangle Medicare leaving
seniors struggling to find physicians able to care for them"
("Republican and Democratic Plans for Medicare and Medicaid Misguided:
Push for Privatization Will Accelerate Costs and Deaths, by Dr.
Margaret Flowers, Common Dreams, April 27, 2011,
"Cutting waste and profits for insurance companies is a far better
solution to the budget deficit than cutting Medicare services for
seniors," said Mark Dunlea, New York Green and co-chair of Single
Payer NY (http://www.singlepayernewyork.org).