THE COHEN COLUMN--The good news is that, at least for today (Wednesday, Jun 28th), health care did not get dramatically worse in America. The Republican controlled Senate will not pass, or even vote on, a health care killing bill . . . today.
The bad news is that the structural problems in our health care system remain. So-called Obamacare cannot be fixed. It was designed to be unfixable, to put corporate interests permanently in control of our health care, to enshrine the very problem itself in law.
In the immediate short term I would not put it past the Republicans to attempt to push through something perhaps slightly less bad than what they had as their first Senate draft, maybe only 15 million sick people and nursing home residents kicked out on the street instead of 22 or 23 million. That may in fact be their legislative pitch strategy, "See, this isn't so bad."
Senator Chris Murphy said something remarkable today in the wake of the massive fumble by Republicans in the Senate. He said, "Maybe five years from now we'll be in a single payer system." Hey, Senator Murphy, bring it forward now. At least campaign on it for crying out loud.
The irony is that the only way for Trump to honor his expansive campaign promises of a great health care system with lower costs, assuming he ever intended to honor them for a second, is to simply expand the existing Medicare single payer system to everyone.
Even Trump has admitted that the Republican bills on the table are the exact opposite, "mean, mean, mean." And the Congressional Budget Office, run BY a staunch Republican, Dr. Keith Hall, at least he has had the integrity to speak this truth. Trump may have in fact stabbed his own bill in the back by bad mouthing it after the House went out on a limb to squeak it through.
Why do we have to wait "maybe" five years for single payer, the only real solution, to happen, if ever?
And the clear answer is that STILL not enough people are speaking out to demand it. This is the ONLY way it's going to happen.
Case in point, we have the world's most magic opportunity to pass a single payer health care system for the entire state of California. And yet in spite of our constant ranting about support of SB 562 many times Californians are blissfully unaware of the bill and its benefits.
So why should we be surprised that the head of the CA Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, just shelved SB 562, despite being passed by the CA Senate, setting us all back as much as a year?
If you are in CA, it is all the more urgent to make sure you submit a request to you State Assembly Representative to now pass the bill.
To put it bluntly, the rest of our CA people need to seriously get off their asses and get serious about speaking out on this.
The bill is not yet dead … yet
Now, with the fraud fully exposed of the Republican promise to repeal and replace Obamacare day one after they took over, with a plan they never even bothered to think about for 7 years, we have a magnificent opportunity to build a real movement for real change.
If more of you would speak out Bernie Sanders' new single payer bill would be on the floor of the Senate today, not five years from now, TODAY. SB 562 would be sailing through the CA Assembly on the way to Governor Jerry Brown's desk right now.
But we have said from the beginning that the most important contribution is to keep speaking out and to encourage everyone else you know to do the same.
Remember the answer is always: VOTE.
Michael N. Cohen is a former board member of the Reseda Neighborhood Council, founding member of the LADWP Neighborhood Council Oversight Committee, founding member of LA Clean Sweep and a contributor to CityWatch.)
Tags: The Cohen Column, Michael Cohen, health care, Obamacare, Trumpcare, single payer, Jerry Brown, SB 562