Not that you didn't know this, of course, but it's nice to have some figures to throwback at politicians and "journalists" the next time they start explaining to us how very, very urgent it is to cut Medicare:
Upgrading the nation’s Medicare program and expanding it to cover people of all ages would yield more than a half-trillion dollars in efficiency savings in its first year of operation, enough to pay for high-quality, comprehensive health benefits for all residents of the United States at a lower cost to most individuals, families and businesses.
That’s the chief finding of a new fiscal study by Gerald Friedman, a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. There would even be money left over to help pay down the national debt, he said.Friedman says his analysis shows that a nonprofit single-payer system based on the principles of the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, H.R. 676, introduced by Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., and co-sponsored by 45 other lawmakers, would save an estimated $592 billion in 2014. That would be more than enough to cover all 44 million people the government estimates will be uninsured in that year and to upgrade benefits for everyone else.
“No other plan can achieve this magnitude of savings on health care,” Friedman said.
The journey of a million miles begins with a single step, someone once said. While it's a long road ahead for this constitutional amendment, hopefully this is a sincere effort from the legislators involved to dissolve the shackles that bind them to their big donors. We can piss and moan all we want about Citizens United, but how willing are we to actually do anything about it - say, hold a coffee klatch with our neighbors and try to get them behind the idea? Bring it up at a meeting of our local municipality? Take a petition around the neighborhood? Call our elected officials asking for them to support this?
If you really want to make a difference, it's a good time to get involved:
On Wednesday, a group of members of Congress, local and state lawmakers, and activist groups met in a Capitol Visitor Center hearing room to do something unusual for its loftiness: they announced and signed a “declaration for democracy,” pledging their support to an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to overturn the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, which allowed unlimited spending by corporations and unions on elections.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), himself the author of such an amendment, was one of the first lawmakers to speak:
The U.S. Constitution has served us very well, but when the Supreme Court says, for purposes of the First Amendment, that corporations are people, that writing checks from the company’s bank account is constitutionally-protected speech and that attempts by the federal government and states to impose reasonable restrictions on campaign ads are unconstitutional, our democracy is in grave danger. There comes a time when an issue is so important that the only way to address it is by constitutional amendment."
Sanders was joined by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Tom Udall (D-NM), as well as Democratic Reps. John Conyers (Mich.), Donna Edwards (Md.), Keith Ellison (Minn.), Rush Holt (N.J.), John Sarbanes (Md.), Betty Sutton (Ohio), Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas), Ted Deutch (Fla.), Hank Johnson (Ga.), Peter Welch (Vt.), and David Cicilline (R.I.). Many have introduced constitutional amendments of their own; all signed on to the declaration and expressed their support for the movement.
Each member echoed Sanders, especially focusing on the momentum building across the country for such an amendment. Hawaii, New Mexico, and this week, Vermont, have all passed resolutions in their state legislatures calling on Congress to overturn Citizens United. They’re joined by over 147 cities nationwide that have passed resolutions. The summit highlighted the Resolutions Week initiative spearheaded by Public Citizen and other organizations, aimed at passing local resolutions the week of June 11.
[...] “We have developing here a grassroots movement,” Udall said.
The members noted that passing this 28th amendment requires commitment from citizens and activist groups:
“With this vehicle, we are going to organize America and all Americans are central to that success,” said Ellison. “We need people to take personal responsibility…this has to be a mass action.”