Can We Agree?

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.


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?


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.


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


“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?


we agree that Republicans are generally in favor of privatizing

government-run programs and favoring private for-profit corporations?


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?


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?”

Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.