|Like Elizabeth Warren, Patrick Murphy supports a single payer healthcare system.
Medicare for All
The many uninsured Americans-47 million and rising-only begin to tell the story of our health care system's failures. Many more are underinsured, unable to receive coverage for routine care or their most costly medical conditions or to afford rising premiums, deductibles, co-payments and prescriptions; others suffer long lines at the emergency room and worsened care because our system of health care delivery focuses on sickness, not health. Lives and livelihoods are threatened by a haphazard private insurance system which places profits above people. The cure for such a system ought not to be a series of half-measures or non-measures, but a move to a universal single-payer health insurance system which removes profit as the primary motivation of the health care sector and improves upon and expands Medicare for all United States citizens.
In circumventing profit-seeking insurance companies and giving government the responsibility of financing health care, the current delivery of care through a combination of public and private non-profit providers is maintained. Patient choices of hospitals or doctors are preserved for those with coverage already, and greatly enhanced for the many without it. Coverage for well-visits and preventative care; prescription drugs and long-term care; dental, hearing and vision care; mental health care and other care often not provided by private insurers because these types of care are seen as unprofitable, would be covered in an improvement and expansion of Medicare for all that would recognize their importance.
With government as our health insurer, citizens will not only experience more comprehensive care, but will see enormous gains in how efficiently funding is spent. No more will funding be diverted for advertising and marketing costs of insurance companies, or for their efforts to reject financial (health) risks from their plans or deny patients coverage if they slip through, or for their immense administration costs with eight-figure salaried executives. With all citizens under one plan, the government has greater leverage to keep health care costs down, as the current Medicare system has shown success relative to private insurers. A shift in emphasis toward preventative care will, in the long run, avert many of the more expensive emergency situations that arise now from continual neglect of potential or chronic health problems.
When some opponents of a single-payer system advocate for an employer-based health insurance system, they fail to face the realities of today and tomorrow. Medicare exists now to provide to the at-risk senior population coverage which it is not expected to obtain through employment. While some seniors must still work to be able to close gaps in coverage-and this must be addressed-the same logic may be applied to children under the age of eighteen, who are also at-risk and who cannot reasonably be expected to obtain insurance through an employer either. The same holds true for those who are unemployed, and may, because of a persistent medical condition, remain so.
Yet a call for employer-based insurance also fails to recognize the changing nature of work. Many people will have a number of jobs/careers throughout their life, and their reliance upon an employer to provide insurance only worsens an environment of increasing insecurity. The trend has been towards raising premiums, deductibles, co-payments, and correspondingly shortening the breadth and depth of coverage, or dropping it outright. Thus, an improvement and expansion of Medicare for all would allow for both greater flexibility in our workforce in moving from job to job and greater access to jobs in general. Small businesses could better compete with big corporations in attracting workers, and providing goods and services on a more human scale. Workers could reassert their power in the workplace, or renew their own entrepreneurial spirit. The universal single-payer health plan I propose would, in short, ensure that every American, regardless of age, income or health condition-is given the opportunity to live out his or her life to fullest, to pursue a dream to its fulfillment.
Patrick Murphy believes in the takeover of Primary and Secondary Education by the Federal Government.
I propose that:
1. We weaken the link between education funding and local property taxes. This revenue when combined with state funding (though much less) makes up the majority of funding and leaves the quality of our education system subject to fluctuations in the market. It also leaves the schools with the greatest need the least amount of help.
2. We shift our federal emphasis to early education, starting with preschool opportunities and continuing with primary schools where the most attention is needed.
3. We shift our priority from rote preparation for standardized tests to a true high-quality education by reducing class sizes, recruiting and retaining well-qualified teachers, building and updating school buildings, and funding both alternative education and that for individuals with disabilities. We retain teachers by creating better work environments-more freedom for their creativity, smaller class sizes, guaranteed health insurance (under my expansion of Medicare for All) and loan forgiveness programs.
4. We experiment with an expansion of the 180 day agrarian calendar to allow for more thorough coverage of material, more flexibility for teachers in developing their curriculums, a less-pressurized atmosphere, and deeper teacher-student relationships key to a child's progress. We honor and pay teachers professionally for this even greater commitment.
5. We reverse the perverse system of penalties in the NCLB Act which fails to address the root causes of the problem, and we oppose any sort of vouchers which not only fail to improve public schools, but strip them of their ability to improve.
6. We similarly oppose increasing Pell Grants and tax credits for college students attending private universities because of the arbitrariness of tuition hikes which have been shown to spike with higher grants. The more the federal government issues in grants, the more universities feel they can charge without being subject to any standards or cost-control mechanisms. They can raise tuition at any time, by any amount. We have to examine costs of a college education more closely and their loan practices. I would support raising the grants for public universities, over which the government does hold some leverage, and extending to the top quarter or third of graduating high school students a more affordable opportunity to attend our public universities. (This last measure would fall under the state's jurisdiction).
We must recognize that a good education requires not simply a sound education policy, but also access to health care and housing and a healthy home environment for our children. The success of a good education for every child will, in turn, further gains in educating oneself and others, in working productively and purposefully, in living healthier lives, in caring as citizens for our environment and our communities, and in participating critically and creatively in public debate about the direction of our country.
Patrick Murphy's plan to save Social Security is to reduce the Payroll Tax and replace it with a carbon tax. His solution for unemployment is more government employment. He also believes that the government should match your retirement savings.
Because Social Security is really about the ability of current workers to pay for those who have come before us, the solvency of Social Security largely depends on how productive our workforce becomes in the next few decades. A highly productive workforce can meet the demands placed on the system by retirees. Productivity requires reinvestment and investment requires funds to be available through a high savings rate. Both of these are at all-time lows. We must also expand our workforce toward full employment so that, in a strictly policy sense, more people are contributing to the system.
In short, we need to have policies that encourage both savings and work:
Reduce the payroll tax to encourage work and job growth, and replace lost revenue through pollution taxes on things we want to discourage like carbon emissions and by eliminating the payroll tax cap and making progressive the rate above the current cap.
Reduce the national debt, which is essentially a tax on future generations, by cutting corporate welfare, unnecessary earmark appropriations and tax expenditures, subsidies to oil, mining and timber industries, and the largest farms, and by reforming the tax code for simplicity and fairness.
Protect Social Security from privatization to ensure that the program serves its public purpose of bring greater certainty and security to retirees and is not subjected to downturns in the market.
Protect private pensions by strengthening the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, and ensuring that legal pension obligations are met.
Encourage work and full employment by providing for a public need unmet by the private sector with a jobs program based on the principles of the Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps. Projects could provide for a cleaner environment, more sustainable public transportation sector and a public energy infrastructure to meet future needs.
Encourage worker productivity by channeling public investment into a better education system and a universal single-payer expansion of Medicare for all Americans. The more productive our workforce becomes, the better we are able to meet demands placed on the system.
Encourage workers' savings rates by increasing the earned income tax credit, reducing the payroll tax for middle- to low income wage earners and replacing the regressive 401K contribution credit with a more equitable federal program of matching savings contributions up to a certain capped amount.
Don't be fooled by Patrick Murphy's "independent" label. He's not a moderate. He's as close to a full blown socialist as has run for Congress in Massachusetts. He's not a member of the Democratic Party because he believes that they are too conservative. He's just another Soros type progressive endorsing Elizabeth Warren. The real endorsement you should be looking at coming out of Lowell is the wildly popular former mayor, Rita Mercier. Who has hinted she is going to support Scott.
*Lowell has a Plan E form of Government and Mr. Murphy is a ceremonial mayor with no real power, save that of chairing the School Committee and running City Council meetings.