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Vice-President Biden calls for expanding Social Security, while opposing Medicare for All

Written by Diane Archer

At an AARP Iowa forum, Vice-President Joe Biden unequivocally called for expanding Social Security benefits. Regrettably, Biden still opposes Medicare for All.

In Biden’s words: ‘We should be increasing, not decreasing, Social Security. It’s within our capacity to do so.’ Biden joins Barack ObamaHillary Clinton, and the rest of the Democratic Party in support of expanding – never cutting – Social Security’s modest benefits. Congressman Larson has a plan in Congress, the Social Security 2100 Act, to expand Social Security.

At the same time, Biden wisely supports prescription drug price negotiation. But, he mistakenly limits federal drug price negotiation to people with Medicare. For everyone else, rather than having the federal government step in to regulate drug prices, he proposes allowing drug importation. That’s a fine band-aid but hardly a long-term plan.

Biden says he does not support Medicare for All. He may not understand that his health care reform proposal–to expand the Affordable Care Act and offer people a public option on the state health insurance exchanges–will only ensure that high health care costs rise higher.

The ACA’s state health insurance exchanges add a layer of bureaucracy and administrative costs to our health care system that only drive up health care spending. Moreover, because no individual state has the power of the federal government to rein in provider rates, the ACA also keeps irrational and excessive rates for doctors and hospitals.

Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation explains to Politico: Biden’s plan leaves “an inefficient and costly health care system in place.” It preserves high prices for working Americans. Only Medicare for All eliminates administrative waste and rationalizes provider rates.

Medicare for All, in sharp contrast to Biden’s plan, improves on traditional Medicare. It offers richer benefits, including vision, hearing, dental and long term services and supports at less cost and it drives down health care spending by as much as $5.1 trillion over ten years.
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1 Comment

  • …the neoliberal solution to anything is always a “band aid” approach, “Let’s just put a patch on this, say it’s good, and not deal with the core issue of what is wrong.” This is why so many in 2016 rebelled and wanted to see real change instead of little incremental fixes here and there. It reminds me of the image I saw of an airline ground crew worker putting duct tape on the nacelle of a jet engine (link below).

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/ChIU9WTWgAE73cq.jpg

    We need a more progressive and permanent solution and that would be Medicare for All as being proposed and supported by several candidates, not just another temporary neoliberal “duct tape” solution.

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