John Nichols and Rep. Anthony Weiner get it.
Don't try to explain the "public option" one more more time.
The cure for what ails a healthcare system that leaves close to 50 million Americans uninsured and at least that many underinsured is not an "option."
"As President Obama prepares to address the nation about his vision for healthcare reform, we should not overlook the last, best truly transformative change to our healthcare system: Medicare," argues Weiner..."
Weiner is not merely offering Obama and Democratic leaders a practical proposal. He is telling them how to get out of the political corner in which they placed themselves by trying too hard to satisfy Republican legislators and their insurance-industry paymasters.
"Medicare also provides us with a case study in the hypocrisy of our Republican friends who have built their party on a 44-year record of undermining this popular program. And now their Chairman sees no irony in ripping 'government run' healthcare while publishing an op-ed opposing changes to Medicare, argues Weiner.
"If Medicare has been such a success, why not extend it? Why not have single-payer plans for 55-year-olds? Why not have one for young citizens who just left their parents or college coverage?"
And the New Yorker suggests that, "The real reason we haven't seen the Democratic Party embrace the obvious and simpler idea is that it boils down to pure beltway politics. We've been reluctant to tackle the real inefficiency in the current system, namely, the very presence of the private insurance companies. Too many in Washington would rather stay friends with the insurance and drug companies when real reform probably can't be achieved in a way that makes these powerful institutions happy."
This is a fight that Barack Obama can win -- not for himself but for the tens of millions of Americans who need healthcare and for the hundreds of millions of Americans who need a better healthcare system.
But he won't win it by taking advice from George Bush: "stay the course."
He will win it by taking the wise counsel of Congressman Weiner and offering America what the people understand and want: "Medicare for All."
Read it all at The Nation