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From Common Dreams: Don't Bust Up Medicare and Turn It Over to the States!

Berry Craig
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Projecting intermediary steps, especially ones that can’t work, only delays national single payer.


Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna of California has introduced legislation, and Senator Edward Markey (D-Mass.) may be preparing to do the same, that would turn over Medicare and other federal health care monies to the states for experimentation in state-based health care plans. There is no requirement in the bill that a state’s plan be a single-payer bill. A state can get the Medicare money based on the politics and the discretion of the secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). Despite the good intentions of many of its promoters, such legislation is a bad idea.

Medicare has a proud history as the foundation of the desegregation of the nation’s hospitals because of its provision that hospitals had to be certified in compliance with civil rights law in order to receive Medicare funds. A vibrant, 1960s, on-the-ground, civil rights movement—in conjunction with federal Medicare law—transformed the country’s health care system towards justice. That would not have happened had Medicare been implemented by states. Turning over health care policy to the states is a backward move, an abandonment of the campaign for "Improved Medicare for All."

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