'Bitter pill' should prompt lawmakers to back Medicare for all

By Timothy Shaw, M.D.
The Capital Times (Madison, Wis.), Letters, March 11, 2013

Steven Brill’s recent Time magazine article “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us,” rightly portrays our American health care system as a mess. Health care has become an unaffordable business monopoly that benefits the medical community and corporations the most, and patients the least.

But before the right-wing media starts spinning the fantasy that this mess is “Obamacare,” I want to emphasize that this is NOT Obamacare. Speaking at an AFL-CIO event in 2003, then Sen. Obama advocated for a single-payer plan. But in 2010, President Obama had to settle for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. While it has some excellent provisions in it, it still leaves in place a dysfunctional, employer-based, for-profit health care system which is the cause of the problems elucidated in Brill’s article.

PPACA, as written, was influenced by over 3,000 special-interest lobbyists — doctors, health insurers, big PHARMA, hospital systems, etc. Influenced by special-interest money, Congress dropped the public option, and when eight caring doctors and nurses rose to speak at a congressional hearing in favor of an affordable single-payer system, they were arrested.

Some of our elected leaders speak in disfavor of labor unions, but encourage and are funded by the excessively greedy and profitable union of doctors, insurers, hospitals and big PHARMA.

Our elected leaders should live up to their oath of office and “promote the general welfare” by expanding our Medicare system to ALL citizens equally by voting for H.R. 676 “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act.”

Dr. Timothy Shaw resides in Fitchburg, Wis.