Wednesday, June 16, 2010

qotd: League of Women Voters calls for 'Medicare for all'

Physicians for a National Health Program
June 16, 2010
League of Women Voters calls for 'Medicare for all'

Noting the Obama administration's new health law falls short of providing affordable care to all U.S. residents, the national convention of the League of Women Voters passed a resolution Monday calling on the group's board to "advocate strongly" for "an improved Medicare for all."

Although many other groups, including labor unions, religious denominations and medical associations, have gone on record in recent years in support of a single-payer health program, or an improved Medicare for all, the League's action is believed to be the first national endorsement of its type since Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in March.

The resolution was introduced at the Atlanta meeting by Karen Green Stone of Bloomington, Ind., who argued that the new law lacks effective cost controls and does nothing to eliminate wasteful paperwork and bureaucracy in the U.S. health system.

Green Stone commented after the vote, "The delegates at the meeting understood that it has never been more important to push for a single-payer plan, an improved Medicare for all. They loved our new slogan in Indiana: 'Health care reform: We're still for it ... and we're not done yet!'"


League of Women Voters
2010 Convention
Atlanta, Georgia
June 11-15, 2010

Motion #549-473, submitted by LWV of Bloomington-Monroe, IN.

Whereas the League of Women Voters of the United States believes quality health care at an affordable cost should be available to all U.S. residents; and

Whereas the current and proposed systems do not achieve the League goals of affordability and access to everyone; and

Whereas an improved Medicare for all, a publicly funded and privately delivered national health care plan, is consistent with this goal;

Therefore, be it resolved that we, the representatives of local and state Leagues assembled at the 2010 LWLVUS Convention, call upon the LWVUS Board to advocate strongly for bills that legislate for improved Medicare for all.



LWV Address by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

Closing remarks:

So I want to thank you for all your hard work on behalf of the Affordable Care Act.  It's a tremendous accomplishment.

But I'm also here to tell you that our work isn't over.  You understand this.  The League of Women Voters was created right before the passage of the 19th amendment.  Some people might have said it was a strange time to start a group focusing on women and democracy.  After all, women were already poised to get the right to vote.

But you knew that passing the amendment was just the first step.  There was still hard work to be done to fulfill its promise.  That's also true for the Affordable Act.

We're on the right track.  But we've still got a long way to go.  And we'll need your help to get there.

Comment:  Once again, the League of Women Voters leads the way. Although they supported the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), they realize that it falls far short of the League goals of affordability and access for everyone. Even HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius concedes that we still have a long way to go. 

There are several beneficial measures in PPACA that we should continue to support. But the greatest deficiency in the act is that the PPACA financing model can never get us to an affordable system that includes everyone. The delegates at the LWV convention recognized this when they passed the resolution calling for the national LWV Board (LWVUS) to "advocate strongly for bills that legislate for improved Medicare for all," since it would provide the financing infrastructure that we desperately need.

The individuals and organizations, who in the name of compromise abandoned support for a national health program, have achieved their lesser goal of passing something - anything - as long as the act provided some benefit. Now that it is clear that tweaks to PPACA will still leave us with only compromised "something - anything" policies, it's time to remount the unified effort to enact an improved Medicare program that includes everyone. We need to give Kathleen Sebelius the tools that she needs to get us there, and that didn't happen with PPACA.

The League of Women Voters has picked up the torch. Let's join them. After all, as they say in Indiana, "Health care reform: We're still for it ... and we're not done yet!"

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