Last week a Democratic National Committee (DNC) panel voted against an amendment that would include Medicare for All as part of the Party’s 2020 platform. Only 36 members of the panel voted “Yes,” while an overwhelming 125 voted “No.” Furthermore, the committee rejected both the expansion of Medicare to children and the dropping of the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 55. Any of these measures would significantly improve the lives of workers during a grave public health crisis.
By contrast, the DNC’s 2016 party platform stated that Americans, “over 55 should be able to opt in to Medicare,” and that the Party would endlessly fight to, “guarantee health care as a fundamental right for every American.” So what happened to those promises?
While the Democrats put up a progressive front of standing with working people, it consistently fights against workers and does not deliver on its promises.
The Democratic Party elite is quick to sign on to any effort to bail out big corporations during economic crises, as we’ve seen during the current pandemic, while millions have lost their jobs along with their health insurance. Like its Republican counterpart, the Democratic Party cares more about profits than people, and prizes its friends on Wall Street and Silicon Valley above all else.
In May, the Democrats fell short in their Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act — still held up by Republican Senators — which fails to include: recurring direct cash payments, a paycheck guarantee, rent and mortgage payment cancellations, and expansion of Medicare to provide assistance to uninsured and unemployed Americans. Further, the bill would expand the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) eligibility to include corporate trade associations and 501(c)(4) organizations for dark money groups that influence elections.
What people need is not more profits for private companies and corporate bailouts, but a universal, socialist healthcare system. They need to be able to pay their rents and mortgages, and not fear evictions.
A long history of disappointments
This is far from the first time the Democratic Party refused to deliver a critically-needed progressive reform. Take the Affordable Care Act for instance, also known as Obamacare. While it appealed to the people as a progressive health care reform aimed to reduce the amount of uncompensated care for the average American family, it still ensured the profits of private companies and Big Pharma. Furthermore, it didn’t protect the working class when it levied a 40% “Cadillac Tax” on union health insurance plans — surprisingly repealed by Trump in 2019.
There were further failures that hurt unions. In 2009 the Obama administration turned its back on the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that would have made it vastly easier for workers to unionize. While he had promised to support the measure during his campaign, his party once again failed to deliver.
It is clear that the Democratic Party has failed the people time and time again despite its progressive facade. But the people deserve better. We deserve a stable health care system that puts our needs before the needs of private insurance companies. We deserve universal healthcare that protects us regardless of employment status. We deserve peace of mind and security during a global pandemic. To borrow the Democrats’ empty words from 2016, the people deserve guaranteed healthcare because, “it’s their fundamental right.”