No Privatization or Cuts in Funding to Medicare!

June 6, 2015

As part of a generalized assault against entitlements, Democrats and Republicans are failing to fully fund Medicare.

As a result of a series of government cutbacks since the 1980s, today Medicare covers, on average, only 50% of the health care costs of senior citizens.  Many retired workers spend 1/5th or more of their annual income on out-of-pocket medical expense.

This anti-social agenda is pushing our country backwards.  Medicare, the health insurance program for retired workers, was first implemented in the 1960s as a result of repeated popular struggles demanding that every American be guaranteed access to health care.  The passage of Medicare not only represented at least a partial legal recognition of the right of senior citizens, but also, by investing a portion of our country’s resources in a social fund set aside to guarantee access to health care, created the means necessary to insure this right in practice. Since its passage, Medicare has increased the longevity of the American people, improved the health of seniors and kept millions out of poverty.  

According to the capitalists and their politicians, the people have no rights which the government is bound to guarantee.  Instead, the profit motive must be put in command of even such elemental human needs as access to health care or income security in retirement – that is, be available for those with money but denied those without.  According to the capitalists and their politicians, the social sector of the economy  – set up to guarantee at least a minimum of rights for the people – must be privatized and turned over to the big monopolies.

The working class and people must step up our struggle against cuts to Medicare and other social programs. We must not only unite our ranks and resist these attacks on our rights, but come into the political arena with our own pro-social agenda that demands ironclad guarantees for the health of the population as well as income-security in old age, loss of capacity to work, etc. The starting point of such a genuinely pro-social agenda is to demand that the government Stop Paying the Rich and make all the investments needed to guarantee comprehensive, free health care for everyone.  

Obviously, considering our country’s economic development, the issue is not an issue of resources. It is a political issue. The workers and people must assert their inalienable rights by coming out as an independent political force to challenge the political power and prerogatives of capital and win victories for the political economy of the working class.