Dear President Obama: A Modest Medicare Proposal

Pub date August 18, 2009
SectionBruce Blog

B3: Thom Hartman, on his Air America radio talk show, summed up his health care proposal in one line: From birth to death, everyone in the U.S. should be covered by Medicare. It’s the best one line proposal I’ve heard to date.
Below is his longer version about Medicare in the form of an open letter to President Obama.

For more from Thom Hartmann, visit

Dear President Obama,

I understand you’re thinking of dumping your “public option” because of all the demagoguery by Sarah Palin and Dick Armey and Newt Gingrich and their crowd on right-wing radio and Fox. Fine. Good idea, in fact.

Instead, let’s make it simple. Please let us buy into Medicare.

It would be so easy. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel with this so-called “public option” that’s a whole new program from the ground up. Medicare already exists. It works. Some people will like it, others won’t – just like the Post Office versus FedEx analogy you’re so comfortable with.

Just pass a simple bill – it could probably be just a few lines, like when Medicare was expanded to include disabled people – that says that any American citizen can buy into the program at a rate to be set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) which reflects the actual cost for us to buy into it.

So it’s revenue neutral!