On Sunday, December 15 I and several other members of Medicare for All Connecticut, a grassroots activist group of which I am a part, attended a town hall event hosted by Senator Chris Murphy in Guilford. After brief introductory remarks on the impeachment of the president, the ACA’s open enrollment deadline, and the anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting, Murphy opened up the floor for a public Q&A.
For almost two hours, Murphy answered questions from audience members. Well over half of them were regarding Medicare for All. But you wouldn’t know that from press coverage of the event:
- CTNewsJunkie.com: Murphy Talks Impeachment In Guilford (mentions of healthcare or Medicare for All: 0)
- CT Post: Murphy on Trump impeachment: ‘This is as serious as it gets’ (mentions of healthcare or Medicare for All: 0)
- Patch: Murphy Talks Impeachment, Gun Control In Front Of Guilford Crowd (mentions of healthcare or Medicare for All: 1 [“A large contingent bantered back and forth with the senator about health insurance and the role government should play in paying for the cost of it.”])
Such an oversight seems like it must be deliberate, but who knows?
Let the Record Show
Connecticut residents showed up in force to push Senator Murphy to support Medicare for All. They shared personal stories of pain. They recited hard data about our country’s wasteful absurdity of a healthcare system. They highlighted the savings offered by Medicare for All — which come from streamlining our bloated and byzantine billing and insurance infrastructure.
Murphy, who claims to support single payer in theory — instead offers a public option plan called “Choose Medicare” which would leave the predatory and parasitic private insurance industry intact. He says that a public insurance plan would give individuals the opportunity to “choose” it over private insurance. He also claims that businesses would be able to take the burden of managing their employees’ health insurance off of their plate.
When I had the chance to ask Murphy a question, I asked him to square that circle: How can a plan offer individual Americans the ability to “choose” private insurance or a public option, while also empowering their employers to “choose” to kick them off of their insurance onto the public plan? “What would you say to someone,” I asked, “who supported your public option and came to you later and said ‘you told me I could choose to keep my insurance, but I couldn’t.’” His answer, in a nutshell, was “some people would choose the public option, and some businesses would too.” This, of course, evades the substance of the question and overlooks one of the most glaring problems with any public option plan. But it’s the best answer there is, really, which underscores how bad the problem is.
Murphy said in his opening remarks that he likes to listen to his constituents, and that he’s willing to change his mind based on what he hears. Here’s hoping he means it, and here’s hoping he changes his mind on Medicare for All.
P.S. Please feel free to call his office and urge him to do just that: (860) 549-8463/(202) 224-4041