Can We Agree?

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Ben Cohen
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by David Glenn Cox

Can we agree that Franklin Roosevelt was a liberal Democrat?

Can we agree the Harry Truman was a liberal Democrat?

Roosevelt first dreamed of a single payer national healthcare scheme that would run concurrently with Social Security.

In 1948 Harry Truman brought a single payer, government-run health care plan to Congress.

The
plan was defeated in the Republican-controlled Senate along party
lines. Republicans who called themselves conservatives were strongly
against Truman’s single player plan.

Can we agree that in 1948
and 2009 Republicans and politicians who call themselves conservatives
were and are against a single payer, government-run healthcare plan?

Can we agree that Lyndon Johnson was a liberal Democrat?

In
1965 Johnson signed the Medicare bill into law. To illustrate how long
the struggle had been to provide a government-run, single payer health
care plan for America's seniors, Johnson invited Harry Truman to
witness the signing ceremony. Truman said the following, “This is an
important hour for the Nation, for those of our citizens who have
completed their tour of duty and have moved to the sidelines. These are
the days that we are trying to celebrate for them. These people are our
prideful responsibility and they are entitled, among other benefits, to
the best medical protection available.


"Not one of these, our
citizens, should ever be abandoned to the indignity of charity. Charity
is indignity when you have to have it. But we don't want these people
to have anything to do with charity and we don't want them to have any
idea of hopeless despair.”

Lyndon Johnson followed by saying,
"It was a generation ago that Harry Truman said, and I quote him:
'Millions of our citizens do not now have a full measure of opportunity
to achieve and to enjoy good health. Millions do not now have
protection or security against the economic effects of sickness. And
the time has now arrived for action to help them attain that
opportunity and to help them get that protection.'

"Well, today, Mr. President, and my fellow Americans, we are taking such action--20 years later.

"Because
the need for this action is plain; and it is so clear indeed that we
marvel not simply at the passage of this bill, but what we marvel at is
that it took so many years to pass it. And I am so glad that Aime
Forand is here to see it finally passed and signed--one of the first
authors.

"There are more than 18 million Americans over the age
of 65. Most of them have low incomes. Most of them are threatened by
illness and medical expenses that they cannot afford.”

Can we agree that Democrats are historically in favor of single payer, government-run healthcare? Would that be fair to say?

Can we agree that a single payer system is the most cost effective form of coverage?

Can we agree that the stated purpose of healthcare reform is to control costs?

Can we agree that Ronald Reagan was a conservative Republican?

Can we agree that it was Ronald Reagan who first proposed privatizing government programs like Social Security?

Can we agree that George W. Bush was a neo-conservative Republican?

Can we agree that George W. Bush put forward a plan to privatize Social Security?

Can
we agree that Republicans are generally in favor of privatizing
government-run programs and favoring private for-profit corporations?

Can
we agree that the centerpiece of the Clinton healthcare plan was an
employer mandate requiring employers to supply healthcare insurance for
their employees?

Can we agree that when John McCain ran for the
Presidency as a Republican and calling himself a conservative that one
of his answers for healthcare was in taxing employer-based health
insurance? Am I wrong about that? Can we agree on that?

Can we agree that the House bill has an employer mandate but that the Senate bill does not?

Can we agree that the US Senate is more conservative than the House of Representatives?

Can we agree that Republicans are against the employer mandate and Democrats favor it?

Can
we agree that the plan being prepared by Senate Democrats does not have
an employer mandate? That it only assesses penalties on the business
when an employee seeks federal assistance for health care?

Can we agree that the plan passed by the House taxes healthcare benefits?

Can we agree that the plan proposed by Democrats requires citizens to buy private insurance from for-profit companies?

Can we agree that the proposed plan carries us further away from the goal of single payer health insurance?

Can we agree that Democrats historically favor a single payer, government-run healthcare plan?

Can we agree that Republicans favor a privatized approach with no employer mandate?

If we can agree on these issues then we are left to ask ourselves, "What Democratic healthcare plan?"