Can You Stand A Re-Run?

I was looking through some old posts–trying to find one for a friend who’d asked me to dig it up–and came across a number of “golden oldies” that, unfortunately, remain relevant. I was particularly struck by a post from back in 2018 that married two persistent issues: national health care and vote suppression. 

Here was what I wrote then.


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 have thus far found inexplicable: 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–most importantly– voting!

Among other voter suppression tactics, the GOP has spent the last decade fighting a war on (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 documents a 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 voters have 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.


Given what appears to be the average IQ of today’s GOP establishment figures, Hartmann may have been giving the party pooh-bas far too much credit for strategic thinking. Republicans probably oppose a national health insurance program simply because “those people” would benefit. Still, such a program would, as he notes, provide Americans with a universal “Voter ID.” 

Yet another reason to support joining the rest of the civilized world…..


  1. It seems as if voter suppression is in the bloodstream of Republicans, by now. It’s almost an involuntary twitch. One might applaud their consistency, if it applied to any other position they take. Example: Deficit spending is bad, but only when the President is a Democrat.

    Frankly, they’re giving me a headache. I’m glad I have my Medicare card.

  2. Itʻs truly amazing how MAGA-GOPs will deny things that are good for themselves if it is available for everyone. Talk about “Cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face” …”an expression used to describe a needlessly self-destructive overreaction to a problem: “Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face” is a warning against acting out of pique, or against pursuing revenge in a way that would damage oneself more than the object of one’s anger.”

    Universal health care would benefit EVERYONE, so of course MAGA-GOPs must be against it.

  3. Thom Hartmann is excellent at what he does and has a historic amount of research and resources as well as daily programs on YouTube. It can be difficult to listen to him sometimes, but his information in invaluable for motivation. Check out his information about all kinds of other subjects too. The GOP is in such a cornered market of politics that as soon as it is overcome the country will be 100% better and just keep getting better and better in short order. We have such a better life coming when the GOP is not removing reality for their followers.

  4. Thanks for this 2018 post rerun.

    The gop argues that Medicare for All would cost too much. Besides that, corporations and other employers that offer health insurance coverage would lose a very important form of control over their employees and they would also lose huge tax credits.

    The gop cares more about protecting the profits of their corporate johns. Oops, I meant campaign donors. Their oligarch masters will not be happy until their business’ profits are 100% tax free while many also enjoy government subsidies paid for with higher taxes on individuals.

  5. And the purges have gone on…interesting that the Brennan Center has not updated that data….

  6. Or another way to parse it is — the GOP rejects anything that helps the average Joe/Josephine – period!

  7. Morality is, simply put, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    Republicans offer an alternative. Me first.

    I have lived here for a long time. I believe we are a moral nation.

    I think that we are witness to the unfortunate crash and burn of the Republican Party.

  8. I want to agree with Sheila’s perspective on the dumbness of the GOP, but, then, there are people, like Bannon, Stone, Miller, et. al , who have intelligence, but only use it for nefarious reasons. I tend to think that the issue with universal health care is the money it would siphon off from the already wealthy, still greedy, upper echelon bastards.

  9. Minor correction from up here in Canada. We arrived in Canada from the U.S. on work permits in 2011. The minute we set foot across the border we were covered through Canadian Medicare; that continued after we qualified for Permanent Residency (the Canadian equivalent of a green card), and of course was extended after we gained citizenship (we’re now dual US/Can). As for voting, one’s health card number makes clear who is a citizen (and thereby has voting rights) and who is not. The Canadian health system is not perfect, but an enormous improvement over the US, and we feel very fortunate.

  10. Thanks for the rerun. I might have missed it the first time.

    The GOP is a mess and they are showing daily they are the party of money and not FOR the people.

    We must end Citizen’s United and remove money from politics. There’s no other way our country will survive.

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