WASHINGTON, DC – Candidates and leaders of the Green Party of the United States expressed hope that the Supreme Court will strike down the ‘individual mandate’ section of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) when the court issues a ruling on its constitutionality in late March.
Greens, who support single-payer national health care (Medicare For All), have called the passage of the ACA in 2010 a defeat for meaningful health care reform.
“A Supreme Court decision gutting the ACA’s individual insurance mandate can bring us closer to real universal health care, because we already know that Social Security and Medicare are constitutional. Medicare For All is based on the same model as these successful programs,” said Mayor David Doonan (Green) of Greenwich, New York.
Green Party members participated in protests and civil disobedience in 2009 when Democratic Party leaders held health care reform roundtables that included industry representatives and excluded single-payer advocates, particularly when Senate Financial Committee chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) declared single-payer “off the table” and President Obama negotiated away the public option in backroom meetings with lobbyists.
“America needs real universal health care, not a direct public subsidy in the form of a health insurance mandate to sustain the private insurance industry,” said Barry Hermanson, Green candidate for Congress in California’s 12th District (San Francisco). “President Obama and Democrats in Congress could have introduced a Medicare For All bill, which would cover every American and drastically reduce medical costs by removing insurance companies from control over our health care. Instead they acted in the interests of insurance and other corporate lobbies. Even with the mandate, the ACA leaves 23 million Americans without coverage and many millions more with inadequate health care.”
Greens strongly oppose proposals by Republicans to make Medicare a voucher program, which would privatize and dismantle Medicare. Greens also criticize Democrats for offering cuts to benefits and physician reimbursements as a compromise for higher taxes on the extremely wealthy.
“Democrats continue to defend the ACA, including mandates, because they want a political victory for President Obama in this election year. In the Green Party, we consider health care for every American and relief for people facing financial ruin over medical costs more important. Democrats pilfered the mandate idea from Republicans who introduced it in the 1990s, even though Republicans now oppose it,” said Carol Brouillet, Green candidate for California’s 18th District.
“Health insurance mandates cannot be compared to the requirement that every car owner purchase car insurance. Driving a car is a privilege for people with drivers’ licenses. Health care is not a privilege. It’s a necessity for the basic right of Americans to stay alive, to be able to enjoy life and make a living,” said Ms. Brouillet.
Medicare For All would cover every American regardless of employment, ability to pay, age, or prior medical condition and which would provide everyone with high-quality low-cost medical treatment and full choice of health-care provider. Decisions about medical treatment would be made by physicians and patients instead of insurance bureaucrats.
Medicare For All would boost the US economy by abolishing the financial burden on businesses to provide health care benefits for employees. Americans would pay for Medicare For All in the same way we pay for Social Security, but we would pay far less because the high cost of private insurance (for executive salaries and bonuses, profit margins, and other overhead) would be eliminated. Private insurance pads health costs up to 30% in administrative overhead, compared to 3% for Medicare. The profit motive is an incentive for insurance companies to restrict or deny needed medical treatment.
Green Party leaders sharply criticized Democratic and Republican legislators in California who defeated the recent statewide single-payer bill.
“California is a sterling example of the huge Titanic Parties playing games with our health. When Republican Schwarzenegger was governor, the Democratic legislature passed single payer twice, knowing it would be vetoed. When Democrat Jerry Brown was elected, it was predicted that the legislature would not pass the bill, and sure enough, they have not. Jerry Brown refused to take a stand on Medicare for All, and the Democratic legislature is leaving him alone. They’re also leaving us alone, with terrible health care,” said Laura Wells, 2010 Green candidate for Governor of California.
The Green Party speaks for a majority of Americans on health care reform: 64% of Americans believe that government should provide a national health insurance program for all Americans, even if this would require higher taxes, according to a 2007 CNN poll.
“Americans already recognize that everyone deserves the right of personal health and safety. That’s why we have public police and fire departments, without requiring insurance for the services they provide. We recognize that people have a right not to spend their final years in destitution. That’s why we have Social Security. The demand for national health care is based on the same principle. It’s time to recognize health care as a human right, instead of a cash cow for corporate middle-men and major shareholders,” said Natale “Lino” Stracuzzi, DC Statehood Green Party candidate for the District of Columbia’s nonvoting seat in the US House.
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