A Message from Joe Conn
NWI Green Party Chair
I first got involved with the Green Party in 2016 after Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign was sabotaged by the Democratic National Committee, leaving the Green Party’s Dr. Jill Stein as the only remaining presidential candidate supportive of a national, single-payer, universal health insurance system.
Dr. Stein earned my vote and the Green Party my support.
So, unsurprisingly, I’ve been involved with Northwest Indiana Medicare for All (NWIM4A), a cross-partisan educational organization, since its founding in December of 2017.
The mission of NWIM4A is to educate voters about the moral and fiscal superiority of switching to one, single-payer, government-run and financed, universal health insurance system, what we now call Medicare for All.
On the issue of Medicare for All, the goals of the Green Party and NWIM4A are the same, to improve the quality of life for all Americans by making top quality health insurance affordable and available to all residents of the United States.
In the health care section of the Green Party’s national platform for 2020 is a declaration that healthcare is a human right, not a privilege, and one way to ensure that right is to support “single-payer universal health care and preventive care for all.”
A study in June revealed 300,000 of the 1 million Americans who had died thus far in the COVID-19 pandemic perished needlessly simply because they lacked adequate health insurance. Pre-pandemic studies have indicated as many as 45,000 Americans die needlessly each year for lack of health insurance.
Our Green Party platform calls out the problem, saying, “Our current health care system lets tens of thousands of people die each year by excluding them from adequate care, while its exorbitant costs are crippling our economy. The United States is the only industrialized nation in the world without a national health care system.”
This past summer, as part of its educational mission, NWIM4A conducted a historic, door-to-door poll, reaching approximately 325 households of registered voters in the Highland precinct of 1st District U.S. Represenative Frank Mrvan, a Democrat. It is believe this was the first time any group has polled NWI voters to get their opinions on national health insurance issues. Pollsters received 100 written responses.
Here are the highlights:
The poll reveals there is broad support for Medicare for All (76%) across all party affiliations and among those who declared themselves to be politically independent or indicated no party preference.
Support dipped somewhat (62%) when voters were informed that providing Medicare for All coverage would mean giving up their own private health insurance. But most of that change was not to opposition to M4A, (those who selected “opposed” on the poll rose by just 4 percentage points) but to “unsure” (which rose by 9 percentage points.)
Seeking refuge in uncertainty indicates NWIM4A supporters and NWIGP members have more work to do educating our friends and neighbors, since no one should be uncertain about switching to Medicare for All. The benefits packages in both M4A bills now before the U.S. Senate and House would greatly improve almost everyone’s coverage at lower cost than they’re paying now.
Three more points likely to be of interest to Greeners jump out from the data.
1) Better than 1 in 5 polled respondents (22%) disclosed that in the prior 12 months they’d put off needed healthcare care due to concerns over cost. All but one of these respondents were insured, indicating that their health insurance wasn’t doing a proper job.
2) One person (1% of those polled, well above the national average) indicated they’d filed for bankruptcy due to healthcare bills. The person was uninsured at the time, though he/she had obtained insurance by the time they took the poll.
3) Forty-nine percent of those voters polled had no political party affiliation. The two “major” parties represented just 46% of the people polled, with Democrats accounting for 31%, Republicans 15%, while Libertarians accounted for 5%. This confirms for me there is substantial voter dissatisfaction with the two-party system.
Here’s wishing all NWI Greeners a happy and prosperous New Year.