Judy Atkins: US needs to unite to find healthcare that works

Published in Greenfield Recorder, March 11, 2017

Looking back at the last eight years, we should never have tolerated the re-naming of the Affordable Care Act to “Obamacare.” It was the right-wing and conservatives who gave the ACA this name in hopes it would destroy it politically.

During his entire term, the conservative Republicans went after Barack Obama in every way they could both in Congress and in their home districts. Most of the attacks were based in racism as much as policy.

Trump was one of the biggest promoters of the anti-Obama campaign during the two terms of his presidency. Claiming that Obama was not born in America, he promoted both racism and anti-immigrant fervor.

The ACA was a compromise by the Democrats with the Republicans. The program keeps the health insurance companies in the game, and didn’t do anything about rising pharmaceutical company profits and rising drug prices. We should have insisted on a publicly funded universal health care system that treated everyone the same and was paid for by putting together all the federal funded health programs into one improved Medicare for all system.

The government has proved it can administer a health program. The overhead for Medicare is 3 percent, way less than what private insurance companies cost us.

We need to resist the Republican plan to go backwards towards the full reign of the insurance companies with higher premiums and worse coverage for most of all. The best alternative is to go forward to a universal publicly funded health care system while we defend the good parts of the ACA.

There is a bill in the Massachusetts Legislature to enact a single-payer system on the state level. It is called Improved Medicare for All and with this plan there would be no need for premiums, deductibles, or co-pays and everyone would qualify. The Single Payer Task Force of the Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution (fccpr.us) is the group working to support this bill. Please join us.