Solving Two Problems At Once

Thom Hartmann from Independent Media has written a column that is both provocative and persuasive.

If he’s right, it would also explain what I found inexplicable on Thanksgiving–why the GOP is so dead-set against a national system that would expand access to healthcare to all Americans.

Now we know why the GOP is truly terrified of Medicare for All; it will wipe out the Republican Party’s control of the House, Senate, White House, and most state governments. Because it could make it very easy for every citizen over 18 to vote.

Here’s how it works.

In Canada, every citizen has a Canadian government-issued “Health Insurance Card” … It’s largely only available to citizens, as all citizens are eligible for the Canadian Medicare system; everybody else has to work out other insurance options (yes, there are insurance companies in Canada). And in most provinces, the card has your photo and works as an ID card as well as a driver’s license or passport.

In Canada, that health insurance card is also a voter ID card.

As a Canadian explained to Hartmann, the health insurance card is unlike other government issued identifications, such as driver’s licenses, because virtually all Canadian citizens from all socioeconomic backgrounds have them. They can be used as photo IDs for flying domestically, buying alcohol and more importantly voting!

Among other voter suppression tactics, the GOP has spent the last decade fighting a virtually non-existent “voter fraud.” The party has used this largely fabricated concern to pass voter ID laws that make it hard for people who don’t drive –due to old age, lack of ability to afford a car, or in some cities (not mine), convenient public transportation–to cast a vote.

In 2016, Donald Trump won Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin by razor-thin margins far smaller than the number of voters purged and/or turned away at the polls.

The Brennan Center documentsa 33 percent increase in voters purged during the 2014-1016 election cycle (16 million), compared with the 2006-2008 cycle (12 million purged), as the GOP has made ID and purges (along with fear mongering about brown-skinned people) their main electoral strategy. In just the past year, as many as an additional 14 million votershave been purged from rolls nationwide, while over the past two decades every Republican-controlled state has introduced rigid ID laws.

But with a national ID system in place that’s universally used because it’s the key to getting your health care and medications, there’s no need for “voter registration” and thus no ability for the GOP to purge voters. Voter registration, after all, is a practice we largely got after the Civil War because Southern white politicians warned of “voter fraud” being committed by recently freed black people, and some Northern states used it to prevent poor whites from voting.

In some places in the United States, voter registration just never caught on: North Dakota never bothered to put such a system into place; you just show up at the polls with ID to prove you’re both a citizen and resident, and vote. And with a national Medicare for All ID, every citizen could easily vote, everywhere.

Hartmann insists that the GOP’s adamant  opposition to universal coverage is partly based upon the party’s realization that the universal ID such coverage would require would allow everyone to vote.

True or not, it’s hard to argue with Hartmann when he says that Medicare for All would allow America to join the rest of the developed world, by having both a national health care system and a functioning democracy.


  1. In addition to the voting assurance of a health care system ID, universal health care on the Canadian model would eliminate about 90% of the profits from health care insurers. Medicare’s overhead is between 3% – 7% while insurance companies enjoy a 25% – 60% markup from our premiums and out-of-pocket payments. Is it any wonder that before the ACA 60% of our domestic bankruptcies were the result of health care catastrophes?

    Republicanism is now the tool of the capitalists who are hell-bent on sucking all the profit and value out of our society for the enrichment of the 10%. That’s it. They now exist for no other reason. Their donors will NOT let them govern for the greater good. Full stop.

  2. It’s all about protecting the rich folks wealth from the lazy covetous poor who were too stupid to have picked the right parents.

  3. “Partly” is the operative word.

    It doesn’t explain why Dems are against expanding healthcare to all citizens. I like Thom but while this is fun to consider, the truth is the money and lobbyists are working hard to prevent universal healthcare.

    In every measure, we are the most expensive with mediocre results. If we truly had a “market-based” economy, this wouldn’t be possible. I could go on down the line with this comparison, but the smart people who read this blog are aware.

    When you look at healthcare, you also need to assign accountability to the industry because it’s not a market based economic industry. Only so many licenses are issued in a market. Trust me, if IU Health/BMH had a competing hospital, it would be closed and shuttered. Service is pitiful and costs outrageous.

    Now, instead of the board applauding the profits made by negotiating with insurance companies and the government, let’s suppose the entire industry was actually paid a stipend to invest in wellness or prevention of disease. Last I checked, 85% of all diseases are preventable.

    The ACA started down this path but was repealed by legislators who ran against Obamacare or the black guy in the white house. 😉

    Use your forecasting skills…what would happen if the healthcare industry was actually charged with the prevention of costly diseases versus profiting from costly diseases?

    Do you think they’d allow the energy industry to poison our air? What would happen to the sugar or fast food industry? What would happen to our food production system?

    What about all the guns in our society? What about the medicines prescribed like Skittles?

    Reforming our healthcare system would have a rippling effect on the complete scam called capitalism. If we place people before profits, our entire economy would be forced to adjust. I cannot think of one industry sector which would be untouched.

    Now you can see why both political parties in this country are paid very well to obstruct any movements calling for reform. The entire capitalistic system is a scam. Once we start placing people before profits like every other modernized country, it will be like dominoes…

    Don’t point at the GOP because their reps and media have great propaganda to feed their cult members. Their followers don’t want to pay higher taxes if it helps people of color.

    But what is the excuse used by Dems?

    The “USA isn’t ready for Universal Healthcare.”

    That’s nothing more than a bullsh** excuse to buy their donors more time raking the American public over the coals.

    When you hold BOTH fraudulent parties accountable then you will have made progress. Otherwise, you’re just allowing denial to cover up your chosen cult.

  4. I was not aware of how Canada did their system. It makes some sense but I doubt the average GOP politician/talking head is able to connect those dots ( they might now that its been written about however) .

  5. We live in Canada half the year every year. Very interesting concept to integrate universal healthcare and recognized government ID. Now I understand why far right conservatives who distribute misinformation about Canada so we don’t consider the merits of their great democracy. Though some electoral jurisdictions elect Trumphad characters as well.

  6. “Among other voter suppression tactics, the GOP has spent the last decade fighting a virtually non-existent “voter fraud.” The party has used this largely fabricated concern to pass voter ID laws that make it hard for people who don’t drive –due to old age, lack of ability to afford a car, or in some cities (not mine), convenient public transportation–to cast a vote.”

    The GOP system for denial of the individual’s civil and human right to obtain legal ID which is required for many aspects of our daily lives is denying us security and peace of mind to maintain our individual existence. Those who are regulars on this blog are familiar with my devotion to movie quotes; from “The Mortal Storm” (1940) a quote being taught in German schools after Hitler became Chancellor of Germany is appropriate. “The individual must be sacrificed to the welfare of the state.” That quote could only be found attributed to that movie but a comparison was made to a Benjamin Franklin quote, “One who gives up liberty for security soon has neither.”

    Can/will the results of the November 6th mid-term elections awaken the GOP to their situation which fits Benjamin Franklin’s wise words. The major difference is that the GOP is not only giving up their own liberty for their personal financial security promised by Trump; but denying liberty to America and all Americans by “deconstructing” democracy, ignoring Rule of Law and the Constitution. A quote from another movie; “The Constitution is our conscience.” The current administration under the GOP has no conscience and no discernible leadership.

    “…–why the GOP is so dead-set against a national system that would expand access to healthcare to all Americans.” This denial of “Medicare for all” is but one problem as part of the greater picture; the denial of “government of the people, by the people and for the people” which, contrary to the words of President Abraham Lincoln is beginning to “perish from the earth”. All due to the most blatant and most dangerous state of this country today; FOLLOW THE MONEY.

  7. Health care in America is like anthropogenic global warming here. There will be very little progress to reduce the problem until the consequences overwhelm us. That is apparently the fate of democracy in a comfortable civilization. If we can procrastinate we do.

  8. JoAnn: “….a Benjamin Franklin quote, “One who gives up liberty for security soon has neither.”

    One who does not invest portions of liberty for security soon has neither.

    So, yes, I disagree with Franklin. Cooperation – with family, community, fellow workers, church, charity organs, state, national objectives, including security – every mutual process, including security, is successful in direct proportion to the size of the portions invested of each individual’s personal prerogatives. If Franklin actually believed his own BS, he would never have invented the volunteer fire department. Ben was good at urging others to invest portions of their individual license in order to cooperate with his projects, but I have never read of an instance in which he gave up any part of his appanage to cooperate with others. And he often used the guise of service to country in order to indulge his more earthy and libertine franchise. We make a large mistake in deriving blind faith from the barren and sophistic adages of historical characters.

  9. For those of you who want News, I would suggest Newsy Now, it is on Comcast and Bright House. For instance Newsy had an excellent program recently concerning the crime of rape: Dozens of police departments are making it appear they have solved a significant share of their rape cases when they simply have closed them.
    Given the recent hearings concerning Kavanaugh, the above program went into great detail concerning the obstacles rape victims face.

    If you are tired of Fox, CNN and MSDNC spinning stories to fit their audience’s preference, try Newsy Now.

  10. First of all you need to have most if not all Federally Elected Democrats on board and supporting Single Payer-Universal Health Care here in the USA as step one. As I have said here before Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer will not Co-Sponsor HR 676 – Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act.

    I agree with John Neal’s comment, ” The Hartmann hypothesis is goofy.” The real opposition to Universal Health Care here in the USA has nothing to do with ID’s or Voting Rights. The For-Profit Health Care vampires and their elected puppets are opposed because they would lose billions in profits, and elected officials would lose millions in campaign contributions.

  11. Not to throw cold water on the parade, but Madison built in the rights of states to do their own thing in regulating elections, including federal elections, (which explains the patchwork and varying rules and regs of different states – unless a federal constitutional right is sufficiently involved to confer standing to sue). I therefore think there is a question as to whether a national ID card could withstand a state regulation to the contrary, especially given the current makeup of the Supreme Court (from whose bar I resigned after Bush v. Gore).
    On the other hand, and personally, I think there is a federal constitutional right built in to exercise of the voting franchise per se. My daughter (a federal worker) thinks these heightened state requirements are Republican attempts to suppress the vote since they know the demographics otherwise point to Democratic wins for the foreseeable future.
    I don’t know how the proposed use of a national health card in lieu of voter registration run by the states would end up, but I can guarantee that such a proposal would be robustly opposed by states’ righters jealous of a continuation of rules and regulations derived from such powers, so let’s first get universal health care and then try it, and see what happens.

  12. Larry; do you believe the current elected GOP in this country – and their supporters – still feel secure in this Trump administration after giving up their liberty of freedom of speech and thought? Or do you believe they actually believe his threats and promises of freedom as they support his every word – written and spoken – under his White Nationalism and calling it “America First”? They have sold their souls to the Devil and will leave office, either willingly or voted out, with their payoffs due to Citizens United. Will they really have their liberty when they return to their home states and live in peace or will they be forever looking over their shoulders to see if their actions under Trump are still following them?

    “We make a large mistake in deriving blind faith from the barren and sophistic adages of historical characters.”

    The above comment describes the current administration blindly following Trump, already a “historical character” due to his entire life style which has been deemed newsworthy for 40 years and his current position of “a legend in his own mind” Trump himself is not free of himself and has no escape route planned as his end in politics is inevitable.

  13. Total expenditure on health as a percentage of GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
    Source CIA World Fact Book 2014
    Canada 10.4%, Japan 10.2%, USA 17.1%.

    Total health expenditure per capita (per person) in US dollars. 2015
    Source Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
    Canada $ 4,608, Japan $4,150, USA $ 9,451.

    Compare life expectancy by country
    Source Data List by the World Health Organization (2015)
    Canada 82.2 years rank # 12, Japan 83.7 years rank # 1, USA 79.3 years rank 31.

    U.S. states and DC by life expectancy
    Indiana 77.6 years Rank # 39

    What is rather obvious is that we pay more for Health Care in the USA, not everyone is “covered” either, and our life expectancy at birth is less. Canada, everyone is covered automatically at birth – everybody in, nobody out. In Canada, health care coverage stays with you for your entire life. This is in contrast to the USA where your coverage is in many cases is determined by your employer. In Canada, the government negotiates drug prices so they are more affordable. In Canada, there are no necessary co-pays or deductibles.

  14. north dakota,measure 2/ white people,u.s.citizens only,the change has passed. so dont think its all nicey,nicey, though its still a right to vote,and easy to go vote,this maybe the start of some republican games come this new legislature. obviously,trump rules here,in mind locked north dakota….

  15. I’ve mentioned the National ID card here before and how the GOP will never approve of that. That’s how Germany and Switzerland keeps track of everyone but we also have a separate ID card for insurance as there are many companies here. I know my spouse has a UK ID card that is for medical and that hasn’t changed in a couple of decades. The politicians in the US need to implement some of the very workable solutions that are offered around the world and then they can certainly claim they are best country in the world.

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