Will Medicare ever be expanded?
Jack Bernard, a retired SVP with a large national healthcare firm, has worked extensively with hospitals across the nation regarding cost containment and insurance. He was also the first Director of Health Planning for Georgia.

Will Medicare ever be expanded?

Jack Bernard, a retired SVP with a large national healthcare firm, has worked extensively with hospitals across the nation regarding cost containment and insurance. He was also the first Director of Health Planning for the state of Georgia.

Despite the rhetoric, 2016 was a relatively close election. Voters of both parties were fed up with Congress and politicians arguing but getting nothing done.
The divisive finger-pointing this time around was even more extreme, volatile, and ideological than usual, leading to a surprise victor promising big and immediate changes.
Gallup (Feb. 2018) found that approval ratings for Congress continue at historical lows post-election (15%) and that we have a very unpopular President (CNN, 2-27-18, states that his net disapproval rating is -17%).
One primary factor for this level of disapproval has been the inability of this Congress and President to do anything significant regarding either healthcare cost or access. This lack of action on healthcare policy is nothing new by either party. When in power, neither addressed the elephant in the room: Medicare expansion to cover all Americans.
When running for the Senate (6-30-03), Obama stated: “A single-payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. That’s what I’d like to see.”
Candidate Obama campaigned in 2007 on hope and change, but by the time he started his Presidential run, the Chicago Tribune reported: “He has said he is reluctant to switch to a ‘single-payer’ national health insurance system because of the difficulty in making a quick transition from the employer-based private system.”
In other words, he was clearly afraid to make major changes to our healthcare system and guarantee Medicare for all. He inexplicably took a conservative program that was designed by the right-wing Heritage Foundation and adopted it. Overnight, Romneycare, with its known pros (increased access) and cons (cost, dependency on private insurance companies), suddenly became Obamacare. Obama naively expected GOP support that never came.
Thus, the similar switch by Trump away from “Medicare for All” to the market-based (i.e. you are on your own and good luck) Speaker Ryan/ Secretary Price-inspired American Health Care Act (AHCA, Trumpcare) should not have been a big shock to anyone.
To refresh our memories, especially those of Trump supporters, in his 2000 book “The America We Deserve,” and in various interviews around that time, Trump praised the Canadian single payer system. More recently, in the Republican debate on 8-6-15, he said: “As far as single payer, it works in Canada. It works incredibly well in Scotland. It could have worked in a different age, which is the age you’re talking about here.”
True, it works in almost every developed nation, with high-quality healthcare and at a fraction of what we pay with everyone covered, just not here due to scared, bought-off politicians.
By January 2016, Trump’s tune had changed, as he indicated on ABC’s “This Week”: “We’ll work something out, that doesn’t mean single payer.”
He evolved into proposing Trumpcare, which the Congressional budget office projected would result in a loss of insurance for millions of Americans.
A Kaiser Family Foundation poll in 2015 before the election revealed that 58 percent of the public supported a Medicare for All type national health plan (i.e. single payer). So, what is happening? Why the backtracking and double talk by politicians? Why did both Obama and Trump run away from the obvious best solution to our health care access and cost crisis?
The answer is clear: Corporate America is using the Congressional and Presidential influence it bought and paid for to advance its own agenda, regardless of party. Always concerned with their bottom line and little else, the healthcare-industrial complex remains determined to keep us, the American people, fighting amongst ourselves. Meanwhile, their profits rise, and their CEOs make millions in bonuses and stock options. I know, I worked directly for several of them.
Each and every one of us must open our eyes and see that we have been duped by the lobbyists who work for the big drug and insurance companies and the puppet politicians that they own.  Then, at long last, maybe we will come together and elect people in both parties who will enact legislation that serves our needs, rather than corporate profits.
A wonderful start would be establishing Medicare for All as our national health program.