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Ann Jones: Can the Age of Trump Spur Medicare for All?
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Over the years, Ann Jones has confronted some of the most daunting and depressing issues on the planet: the abuse of women, African civil wars, the disaster that is Afghanistan, and — as reflected in her book They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return From America’s Wars — the plight of American casualties of the fighting there. She’s put on her flak jacket and combat boots to “embed” with U.S. troops at forward operating bases near the Pakistani border. (“I… got a checklist of things to bring along. It was the sort of list moms get when sending their kids off to camp: water bottle, flashlight, towel, soap, toilet paper [for those excursions away from base], sleeping bag, etc. But there was other stuff too: ballistic eyewear, fireproof gloves, big knife, body armor, and Kevlar helmet. Considering how much of my tax dollar goes to the Pentagon, I thought the Army might have a few spare flak jackets to lend to visiting reporters, but no, you have to bring your own.”) She’s been in trauma units in Afghanistan and on U.S. C-17 cargo planes taking the desperately wounded home. (“Here again is Marine Sergeant Wilkins, just as he was on the flight from Afghanistan: unconscious, sedated, intubated, and encased in a vacuum spine board… He remains in cold storage, like some pod-person in a sci-fi film.”) In the heat of summer, she’s ventured off to watch U.S. advisers trying to whip Afghan military recruits into shape. (“Hundreds of little Davids to the overstuffed American Goliaths training them… Like me, many sag under the weight of a standard-issue flak jacket.”)

So, honestly, who could blame her for finally seeking out a little time in Norway, a country that just took first place in the annual World Happiness Report of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network? Not me. She spent several years in Norway, in fact, returning to her own land with a strong sense of what might raise the American happiness quotient. As it happened, she was just in time to watch her country’s slo-mo dive off the edge of a cliff in a fit of plutocratic triumphalism. In response, she offered a little advice about what actually works when it comes to a better life from one of the happiest, most satisfied countries on Earth, a place where welfare isn’t a dirty word and the social safety net isn’t the preferred place for budget cuts. (Check out her “Social Democracy for Dummies.”) Of course, not many were listening to such suggestions at the time, not at least until Bernie Sanders came on the scene as a presidential candidate.

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Having paid another visit to Norway recently, she’s home again, infused with hope in these grim times. In that spirit, she offers her own uplifting antidote to Trumpcare (that is, to the various Republican deathcare bills) and a striking sense of how resistance to The Donald & Co. might proceed on a state-by-state basis. For me at least, her perspective feels like tonic in a desperately down time.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Donald Trump, Obamacare, TomDispatch Archives 
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  1. This is an important topic that few understand, and this article doesn’t help. Allow me to clarify with an old blog post:

    Feb 12, 2013 – Lower the Medicare Age!

    There is crazy talk that we should raise the Medicare age to 67 to save money. Why? Do our 65 and 66 year olds no longer need medical insurance? This would simply shift costs to Medicaid (insurance for the poor) and for average incomers–the local hospital ER. It would also force millions of elderly Americans to keep working another two years, thus increasing unemployment by an equal number of young workers.

    Our nation should move the other direction and lower the Medicare age to 62. This would save Medicaid and local hospitals billions of dollars and allow millions of Americans to retire at age 62. Many Americans have enough income to retire with Social Security at age 62, and would like to stop working, but can’t afford ultra-expensive private insurance, so they hang on until age 65. Allowing them to retire at 62 would open jobs to millions of younger unemployed Americans now on welfare related programs.

    This is win for everyone, except the private insurance racketeers who would lose a few million customers to the far more efficient Medicare system. For those Americans misinformed by our corporate media, America’s mostly private health insurance system costs twice as much per person as other industrialized nations, yet is rated below average as another independent study recently confirmed.

    This idea would shift costs from welfare programs supporting young, healthy unemployed Americans over to Medicare. Local hospitals would save billions of dollars as they no longer get stuck with huge bills for uninsured Americans age 62-64, thus lowering medical costs for everyone. The billions saved from welfare related programs could be used for deficit reduction. Medicare would need additional funding, which is possible by simply raising the payroll tax for Medicare from 1.45% to 1.8%. This is an expansion of a flat tax that imposes an equal burden on all workers, who would all be eligible for Medicare at age 62. Unfortunately, our nation’s powerful insurance racketeers hate this idea, and are pushing their front men in Congress and the White House the opposite direction.

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  2. unit472 says:

    Sounds like you are 62-64 and are pissed off taxpayers won’t pay for your healthcare. Medicare is not full coverage unlike Medicaid which is. The distinction is important as many healthcare providers do not take Medicaid patients so shifting people from one program to another would only ‘save’ money to the extent Medicaid patients give up trying to get taxpayer funded treatment or Medicare patients pay their supplements.

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  3. I get so tired of all this stupidity.

    Healthcare costs are going to shrink, one way or another. Expanding medicare or medicaid is one way.
    Denying through the marketplace is the other.

    Now, f&cking learn to sing O’Canada, raise taxes by 3%, equalize income and capital gains taxes, and impose 100% confiscation on any tax fraud over $1 million. Corporate taxes are 12% worldwide- do the math, pay all the taxes, etc.

    So now we have basic universal healthcare, so employers will feel free to drop it all on Uncle Sam.
    Sing O’Canada- but the catch is that all illegals have to go home- Citizens get automatic coverage, but immigrants must pay full cost of coverage- can’t make enough to pay, tough. Companies that sponsor visas pay full coverage up front for duration of visa. Etc.

    As for refugees, only if sponsors pay coverage for greencard period- no coverage for social insurance, buh bye.

    And as stated, all illegals go, or if family will be separated, then full social coverage must be paid by family or sponsors- if not buh bye.

    ONLY way to make this all work.

    Next, fix the roads- gas tax gets doubled, and diesel as well. All to roads.

    Next fix foreign adventure idiocy- cut back to 10 bases worldwide- abandon Iraq and Afpak, they are lost so cut the losses- end all of the deployments of our special ops troops.

    Countervailing tariffs if free trade is not allowed (China, Japan, and Germany are some of the biggest offenders), duh.

    One big ugly set of bargains, that would be enough to save America.

    It also is a real set of reforms.

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