Welcome to Libby Montana, the Only Town in America with Medicare for All (Almost)

by | Feb 2, 2022 | Progress & Solutions, Human Rights

Libby is a small town in the northwest corner of Montana, 35 miles east of Idaho and 65 miles south of Canada. The town lies in a picturesque valley carved by the Kootenai River and framed by the Cabinet Mountains to the south. Photo: US EPA

Welcome to Libby Montana, the Only Town in America with Medicare for All (Almost)

by | Feb 2, 2022 | Progress & Solutions, Human Rights

Libby is a small town in the northwest corner of Montana, 35 miles east of Idaho and 65 miles south of Canada. The town lies in a picturesque valley carved by the Kootenai River and framed by the Cabinet Mountains to the south. Photo: US EPA
Medicare For All exists in America right now....almost, only in one small town: Libby, Montana. This gives us an opportunity see how this works, and to ask why we can't have universal healthcare in the rest of the country.

There are over 19,000 towns across the country, but only Libby, Montana has Medicare for All, mostly. The story of how they got it is revealing and educational.

Almost no one has heard of the town of Libby, Montana. It was the site of a former vermiculite line run by chemical company W.R. Grace. It turned out that ore being mined also contained asbestos fibers and many people in the town were diagnosed with asbestos related diseases, became ill and died from it. Executives at W.R. Grace knew about the dangers, carefully documented the decline in their workers and kept silent.

During the Obama administration and the fight for the Affordable Care Act, Senator Baucus of Montana managed to get a provision written into the bill that was finally passed that resulted in Medicare coverage being extended to those who suffered from this exposure.

The video below from More Perfect Union tells the story of how this town has benefited from this coverage and creates an example of how this could work for the rest of the country.

As you can see, it is not that hard to actually create a better healthcare system in our country. Like anything else it starts with the decision to do it.

We are the only industrialized nation in the world that has no provision for universal healthcare. Why? Profiteering. The United States spent $4.1 trillion on healthcare in 2020. That is a river of money that dwarfs the defense budget which is the highest in the world by far.

It is a cruel irony professed by cold-blooded and corrupt political operators who profess that we “can’t afford” universal healthcare. But we can spend nearly 20 percent of our GDP on it.

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