By Paul and Sarah Edwards in

Most people’s  health is on the line. Each day’s news brings headlines dimming hope for the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, and Social Security.   People have begun asking themselves, “What will we do about Grandma?” How will I get my medications and will I be able to pay for them? A recent article was headlined, “160 million Americans can’t afford to treat a broken arm.”  When former Vice-President Biden’s son was dying of brain cancer, the Vice-President and his wife nearly had to sell their home to pay their son’s medical bills. Better than one out of every two Americans (55%) worry they will not get the health care they need.

Most people in the middle class find themselves running ever faster just to stay in the same place economically.  Not only are people fearful of what they may lose, millions now are without the ability to get medical care they need.

What has taken a half century to accomplish could be wiped out despite the fact that more than 1 out of 2  Americans – 58% -want the Affordable Care Act be replaced with Medicare for All. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Americans say they have a positive reaction to the term “Medicare-for-all.”  People are realizing having health insurance is like requiring auto insurance to drive. Healthy people can work, have fewer problems that consume tax dollars, and public health is protected. Being On the other hand, recent polls indicate people are now no longer in favor of repealing ACA.  in the same polls indicate just over half favor repealing Obamacare.

Medicare is popular with 77% of Americans saying it is “Very important,” just below social security at 83%. 57 million Americans – 1 in every 6 people – depend on Medicare.

The total administrative structure for administering and delivering this is in place and billions of dollars would be saved, This is because Medicare’s overhead is 3%; HMO’s and private insurers’ overhead ranges from 15-30%. Families can expect to see the cost of health coverage decrease by one-half or more.

ACA reduced the number of people who were uninsured by an estimated 20 million people from 2010 to 2016. The funds will no longer available to help pay their premiums and deductibles. With many fewer people buying coverage, many insurers will stop offering policies, and the remaining customers are likely to be sicker than current Obamacare buyers, a reality that will drive up the cost of insurance for everyone who buys it, and force more people out of the markets. The Urban Institute estimates that the change would cause a total of 22.5 million people to lose their health insurance.

At stake are popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act like enabling young adults to stay on the family plan until age 26,  closing the drug cost loophole, assuring coverage for people with preexisting conditions, which alone represents 52 million Americans, and providing health coverage for children on Medicaid and CHIP,   Republicans are discounting the fact they will be alienating many of the people they look to for support.

Now is the time to advance “Medicare for All” as the best solution for developing popular support to arrest the Republican momentum seeking repeals and rollbacks in ACA and then go on to damaging Medicare and Social Security.  Even voters who supported Trump nearly 13 to 1, view Social Security as something they earned.

Your Pocketbook

Millions of voters have received benefits from ACA but discounted this when they voted and still discount what its loss will mean for them will be angry and arguably motivated to act in their self-interest. You are apt to find you can only buy sub-standard policies with little or no consumer protection and are paying more out of pocket.  The cost of individual policies purchased through the exchanges would rise 20-25% in the first year, and 18 million people would lose their health insurance. However, taxpayers whose average incomes were $318 million/year in 2014 would get their taxes cut $7 million a year. Two taxes support the popular provisions of ACA – taxes on persons with incomes above $200,000 year. Eliminating them would give the 400 richest Americans a tax cut worth around $7 million each.

The Economy

Reducing federal spending on health care takes so much money will be taken out of the consumer economy, nearly three millions of jobs will be lost. Nurses, health technicians, and other medical personnel will be out of work. Then there will be ripple effect – people with less money to spend on food, clothing, real estate, retrial trade, finance, insurance, travel, dentistry, and then less construction, and on and on. States will have less income to tax and less in sales taxes. This alone could trigger a recession, reducing the economy by 1.5 trillion dollars, according to the Center for Health Policy Research at the Milken Institute.

The U.S. national debt is sitting at 19.944 trillion dollars. During the past eight years, a staggering 9.3 trillion dollars was added to the national debt. It’s been estimated that the total savings by passing Medicare for All could slow the growth of national debt by 80%. This is important because “foreigners are dumping U.S. debt at a faster rate than we have ever seen before, and U.S. Treasury yields have been rising. This is potentially a massive problem, because our entire debt-fueled standard of living is dependent on foreigners lending us gigantic mountains of money at ultra-low interest rates. If the average rate of interest on U.S. government debt just got back to 5 percent, which would still be below the long-term average, we would be paying out about a trillion dollars a year just in interest on the national debt. If foreigners keep dumping our debt and if Treasury yields keep climbing, a major financial implosion of historic proportions is absolutely guaranteed within the next four years.” Source: Monetary Watch, January 23, 2017.

What you can do

First, stay informed about the changes that will be affecting you and your family. Second, let your Congressman and Senators know how you will be affected. The best way to do this is by phone, not letters, social media, or their websites. Phone messages get attention.  Third, mobilize with the people in your community being willing to demonstrate your views. Fourth, share this message and your own with friends around the nation.

Congressman Representative John Conyers Jr. introduced his Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, H.R. 676, into the current session of Congress. It is co-sponsored by 51 other congressmen, but more are needed, so asking your Congressman to co-sponsor will be most helpful.You can find contact information for your congressperson here or by calling the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. When calling, ask to speak with your representative’s Health Legislative Assistant. This link will give you more information.

A Pennsylvania business man, Richard Masters, has produced a movie that is worth watching and he is forming a national organization to put forward Medicare for All. This link will take you to the movie, which is worth watching and sharing with others.

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