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A Single-Payer National Health Care Plan and Other Items

What follows is a little letter of mine, one which I recently wrote and then shipped out through the United States Postal Service.  Although I addressed it to a certain group of individuals, the intended audience of my letter was always much more broad in scope than the actual souls who (hopefully, fingers crossed) received it.  Thus, I dedicate this little letter of mine (and this subsequent blog post) to the following:  (1) the American people; (2) all other members of the human race; and (3) every other non-human resident on planet Earth.  Be well, and remember:  Now is the time to act.

* * *

Friday, January 11, 2019

U.S. Representative Ami Bera, M.D.
1727 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Congressman Bera:

Re:  A Single‑Payer National Health Care Plan and Other Items

My name is Travis Ray Garner.  I am an American citizen.  I was born in San Francisco, California, but now I live within the 7th Congressional District of California, the same district which embraces every other American citizen (and foreign national) who resides within it and for whom you represent on her or his behalf.

Today, I am forty‑six years old.  I am single.  I have never been married.  I have no children.  I do not own a home.  I have both an Associate of Arts degree and an Associate of Science degree.  I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in the English language.  And I have a Juris Doctor degree.  However, I am not a lawyer because the late Mark Twain was correct when he wrote the following:  To succeed in other trades, capacity must be shown; in the law, concealment of it will do.[1]

I am a writer of fiction, nonfiction, and satire, Congressman Bera, and it is within that trade that I shall stake my claim in what remains of my life on planet Earth.  If you were curious about my writing style, when time permits, of course, then you would find a sample of it on my blog:

Nevertheless, at this point in time, what with all of my past educational and vocational accomplishments in life (to date), I am unemployed and unable to find a job in the greater Sacramento area which is commensurate with my skill set.  Currently, I live with my mother, who is retired now, where I sleep in a spare bedroom within her two‑bedroom condominium, which she purchased after a twenty-year career in public service.  Most alarming, though, I am one of approximately thirty million (~30,000,000) American citizens to which the Affordable Care Act (ACA) denies comprehensive medical coverage.[2]

And that, Congressman Bera, is unconstitutional.

As it stands, the “general Welfare” phrase from the Taxing and Spending Clause within the Constitution of the United States of America more than justifies the constitutionality of a national (i.e., federal) single‑payer comprehensive health care plan which would cover every American citizen from the cradle to the grave.[3]  Look up the terms “general” and “welfare”, and you will soon understand why a national (i.e., federal) single‑payer comprehensive health care plan is constitutional.  Furthermore, a national (i.e., federal) single‑payer comprehensive health care plan must forever remain as an entitlement program (i.e., as a mandatory spending program).

After all, the “common Defence” phrase from the Taxing and Spending Clause within the Constitution of the United States of America has been used to justify the taxation of the American people so as to create or to fund such federal agencies as the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, and even § 215 of the USA Patriot Act.[4]  But unlike the harm that those three agencies and that particular section found within that specific piece of legislation have done to the American people (and foreign nationals), in the past, from time to time, over several decades, the only harm that could come to the American people from a national (i.e., federal) single‑payer comprehensive health care plan (aside from members of future sessions of Congress who might attack a national (i.e., federal) single‑payer comprehensive health care plan) would be a physician or other medical specialist who commits an act of negligence or an intentional tort (i.e., malpractice).
* * *
On January 11, 1944, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered his State of the Union Address during one of his radio Fireside Chats, due to a recent bout of ill health.  Toward the end of his speech, President Roosevelt announced a call to action:  To create a second Bill of Rights.  At the time of his speech, our nation was in the midst of World War II.  Our U.S. military branches had members who were sexist, racist, and homophobic.  Japanese American citizens were locked in internment camps, including a boy named George Takei, as a result of President Roosevelt signing and issuing Executive Order 9066.  Nevertheless, here is what President Roosevelt said about a second Bill of Rights:

This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.  They were our rights to life and liberty.
As our Nation has grown in size and stature, however—as our industrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.
We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence.  ‘Necessitous men are not free men.’  People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self‑evident.  We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race, or creed.
Among these are:
The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;
The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
The right of every family to have a decent home;
The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
The right to a good education.
All of these rights spell security.  And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well‑being.
“America’s own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens.  For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world. . . .[5]
* * *
The year is 2019, Congressman Bera.  The Climate Cataclysm Clock keeps on ticking.  Over the next two years, your colleagues and you who constitute the Democratic Party of today within our nation’s capital must demonstrate who among the 535 members with full voting rights in both chambers of the 116th session of the United States Congress will support legislation which will create the following:  (1) a Green New Deal; (2) a national single‑payer comprehensive health care plan; and (3) a progressive income tax plan, with a marginal tax rate of 90% to no more than 100% upon the income of the wealthiest American citizens and their undemocratic business associations (i.e., corporations and pass‑through entities), which the wealthiest (ab)use under the auspices of state law legal fictions (i.e., lies) so as to retain monopolies, to evade taxes, and to avoid personal liability for the harm that they cause to the majority of the American people, foreign nationals, and all other life on planet Earth.

And that is just the legislative beginning for the 116th session of this Congress.  Because even if not one single bill is enacted into law during the next two years; because even if Democratic Party candidates hold a majority in both chambers of Congress in January of 2021; because even if a Democratic Party candidate emerges to become the 46th President of the United States of America in January of 2021, ten years will remain on the Climate Cataclysm Clock for the citizenry of the United States of America to lead the way to triage that which will come:  a complete collapse of the planetary biosphere because of human industrialism compounded by overpopulation of our species as a result of less than one percent of the total human race insisting that the human notion of profit must always come before posterity (i.e., the future of life on planet Earth).

Now is the time to act, Congressman Bera, on behalf of the ninety‑nine percent of the American populace (and all other life, human and non‑human, on planet Earth).  The one percent of the American populace is doing just fine, and will continue to do so even when its members once again begin to pay their American fair share in taxes.  After all, even though the Democratic Party members from the 115th session of Congress held the line with that unconstitutional Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, some of them who are a part of the 116th session of Congress still reap a windfall from it.

If members of the Democratic Party of today (at the local, state, and federal levels) were to champion that call to action from 1944, so as to make concrete the second Bill of Rights of the late President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (save for that bit about the “mines” because we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground), from a man who was perhaps the second greatest President of the United States of America, right after President Abraham Lincoln, who suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War, then now would be the time, Congressman Bera, to show the majority of the American people (and the billions of human beings around the world mired in poverty) that all members of the Democratic Party in the United States of America fight for the majority of the American people (and, in turn, the entire world).

Now, if you will excuse me, I must take care of my health as best as I can under the present circumstances:

With a lovely jog beside the American River, using the American River Parkway – Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail.

I thank you Congressman Bera, both for your time and for your consideration.

Respectfully submitted,

Travis Ray Garner (i.e., your employer)

P.S.  Impeach (and tell your esteemed colleagues in the Senate to remove from office) the Kidnapper‑in‑Chief.  Posthaste.  After all, kidnapping hundreds, maybe thousands, of children from their parents along the southern border of the contiguous part of the United States of America more than qualifies as one of many “high Crimes” for an impeachment proceeding within the Constitution of the United States of America.[6]  Remember:  Impeachment is neither a “political decision” nor a “political act”; it is nothing more than a legal proceeding, and no different than ones in an American court of law—only this one happens within the chambers of the United States Congress.

c:  Senator Dianne Feinstein (D‑CA); Senator Kamala Harris (D‑CA); Speaker of the House, Nancy  Pelosi (D‑CA); Congressman Ro Khanna (D‑CA); Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio‑Cortez (D‑NY); Senator Chuck Schumer (D‑NY); Senator Elizabeth Warren (D‑MA); and Senator Bernie Sanders (I‑VT).

[1]           Mark Twain, Following the Equator (1897).

[2]           See, e.g., Edward R. Berchick et al., Health Insurance Coverage in the United States:  2017, Current Population Reports, U.S. Census Bureau:  U.S. Dep’t Of Com. Econ. & Stat. Admin. (Issued Sep. 2018), (chronicling the number of insured Americans in 2017).  For instance, the “Highlights” subsection of the “Introduction” section notes the following:

In 2017, 8.8 percent of people, or 28.5 million, did not have health insurance at any point during the year.  The uninsured rate and number of uninsured in 2017 were not statistically different from 2016 (8.8 percent or 28.1 million).

Id. at 1.

[3]           U.S. Const. art. I, § 8, cl. 1.  The full text of the first clause reads as follows:  “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States. . . .”  Id.  See also, e.g., U.S. Const. amend. XVI (stipulating the power that members of Congress possess to collect income tax on behalf of their employer:  the American people).  The full text of the sixteenth amendment reads as follows:  “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”  Id.  See also, e.g., U.S. Const. pmbl. (showing the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution).  The Preamble reads as follows:  “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”  Id.

[4]           U.S. Const. art. I, § 8, cl. 1.

[5]           Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32d President of the United States of America, State of the Union Address:  FDR’s Second Bill of Rights or Economic Bill of Rights Speech (Jan. 11, 1944), (last visited Jan. 10, 2019).

[6]           U.S. Const. art. II, § 4.

Copyright © 2019 Travis Ray Garner.  All rights reserved.

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