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Health Care Should Be a Litmus Test for Democrats

By Scott Galindez

am so tired of hearing people say they don’t support litmus tests. If you can’t judge candidates by their positions on issues, then how do you know who to vote for? Too many people supported George W. Bush because he was a “good Christian man.” George Will is a great guy at a baseball game, but I disagree with him on the issues, and it is those disagreements that will cause me to not vote for him.

Healthcare is important to me, and if a candidate does not support single payer healthcare, they will not get my vote. I am not a single-issue voter; healthcare is not the only issue I care about. It is, however, a deal breaker.

I do not have time or money for any politician who does not support single payer healthcare. I don’t want to hear anyone say all we have to do is tinker with Obamacare. I do not support the current repeal efforts, only because they are not replacing it with single payer or a step in that direction.

I am working, paying for health insurance, and the current system is failing me. My insurer would rather pay for dialysis three times a week than pay for a kidney transplant. The private insurance system is not sustainable without allowing them to deny treatments. That is what Trumpcare would do. Young, healthy people would pay less for health insurance while older Americans would pay more and receive less.

Single payer has to be the ultimate goal. Currently, you get sick, go to the doctor if you have insurance, and the doctor gives you the treatment the insurance company approves – and even then you could go into debt paying your co-pay. Under single payer, you go to the doctor and get the treatment he thinks is best, and it is paid for by the government out of your taxes.

It is not free … we pay for it out of our taxes. I want the government to guarantee me healthcare, education, electricity, clean water, and public safety. The market can take care of everything else. The market can determine the cost of my TV set, not my healthcare.

What would happen if the police started checking your ability to pay before accepting a call to your house? Healthcare is a necessity and should be the right of every human being on the planet.

Any Democrat who does not support single payer healthcare should be opposed in the next primary. On Election Day we sometimes have to hold our nose and vote for candidates who are better than the alternative, but on Primary Day we need to be running candidates we believe in. That is how we will create a Democratic Party we believe in. If your elected official or candidate for office does not support single payer healthcare, look for one who does.

The current healthcare fight is a little more complicated. Obamacare is not sustainable, and it needs to be replaced by single payer. Trumpcare, however, is not the answer. We must oppose repealing Obamacare without replacing it with single payer. Senate Democrats appear to be united on that, and it will only take a couple of Republicans to block replacing Obamacare with the cruel plan the GOP is proposing.

We do have to be careful, though, to make sure a Democrat like Joe Manchin doesn’t betray us. Medicaid expansion seems to be the key to killing the effort to repeal Obamacare this year. Conservative Democrats like Manchin do not want to explain why they gave up federal funding for expanded Medicaid. That will likely be why a few Republicans vote with the Democrats against repeal.

We should fight to stop a move backward on health care, but that should not be the end of our struggle. Single payer healthcare is the issue that progressives can unite around to take back the Democratic Party and then the country.


Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador’s slain Archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice. Over the years he has been influenced by the likes of Philip Berrigan, William Thomas, Mitch Snyder, Don White, Lisa Fithian, and Paul Wellstone. Scott met Marc Ash while organizing counter inaugural events after George W. Bush’s first stolen election. Scott moved to Des Moines in 2015 to cover the Iowa Caucus.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

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Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador's slain archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice. Over the years he has been influenced by the likes of Philip Berrigan, William Thomas, Mitch Snyder, Don White, Lisa Fithian, and Paul Wellstone. Scott met Marc Ash while organizing counterinaugural events after George W. Bush's first stolen election. Scott Moved to Des Moines in 2015 to cover the Iowa Caucus.

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