Delaware National

A Country Leaning In to Single Payer

One of the reasons to read the wingnut press is to take their temperature of those things that they think Americans will be demanding that will upset their funders. Charles Krauthammer had a piece in the NJ last week intriguingly called: The road to single-payer health care.

But there is an ideological consideration that could ultimately determine the fate of any Obamacare replacement. Obamacare may turn out to be unworkable, indeed doomed, but it is having a profound effect on the zeitgeist: It is universalizing the idea of universal coverage.

Interesting, right? There’s more:

As Obamacare continues to unravel, it won’t take much for Democrats to abandon that Rube Goldberg wreckage and go for the simplicity and the universality of Medicare-for-all. Republicans will have one last chance to try to convince the country to remain with a market-based system, preferably one encompassing all the provisions that, for procedural reasons, had been left out of their latest proposal.

Don’t be surprised, however, if, in the end, single-payer wins out. Indeed, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if Donald Trump, reading the zeitgeist, pulls the greatest 180 since Disraeli dished the Whigs in 1867 (by radically expanding the franchise) and joins the single-payer side.

That’s a clear warning that the public is pretty tired of the insurance business bullshit and that single payer may indeed be close to gaining a lot of acceptance as the real solution.

Yesterday, Vox ran this piece: I ran a focus group with Trump voters. Half said they support single-payer.

We were in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, sitting in a sparse conference room at a big white table. Perry, who co-owns the research firm PerryUndem, asked the six-member group a question: Who likes Canada’s health insurance system? Who wishes we had something like that?

Half of the hands shot up.


But our focus group participants were onto something. Lately, there has been a surprising groundswell of support for universal coverage — and even single-payer — among Trump allies.

And all of this arguably starts with Trump himself, who campaigned on providing health insurance for everybody.

Trump did say that there would be insurance to cover everybody. And clearly people are seeing that making sure everyone has a way to pay for health care without insurance company interference is pretty attractive.

So why not work with this? We know that Bernie Sanders intends to put a Medicare-for-All bill up soon. This is the place to really push the idea, to get that idea out to everyone as the fix to Obamacare. As we all know, this will have a fairly high initial expense, so getting it through this Congress is unlikely. But this is a Democratic idea whose time seems to have come, so why not talk about a solution that more and more people want?

You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas. -- Shirley Chisolm

3 comments on “A Country Leaning In to Single Payer

  1. It’s not just Obamacare that’s failing, American healthcare is falling of it’s own immensely expensive weight. One is reminded of Winston Churchill’s famed comment “you can rely on the Americans to do the right thing, after they’ve tried everything else”, it sums up healthcare in America. Single Payer has worked in two dozen countries for decades and in Europe for 50 years, it can work and work well here too. I admit I have a big stake here, I’m staring Medical Bankruptcy straight in the eye when my wife has to go into a home, and it doesn’t have to be like that.

    • I recall that the Big Three automakers had a big deal meeting with Bush or Clinton on health care costs — I recall them saying they spent more on health care per vehicle than steel. This has been a problem for awhile. Obamacare did bend the overall cost curve buy covering more people, but the risk pools were never large enough to bring down the individual costs and no was there enough competition. American healthcare is just fine if you have plenty of money OR if you are really healthy. It still doesn’t support people as well who aren’t well off, though. It is still an opportunity for Dems though — especially since it seems that the GOP establishment thinks it is coming.

  2. I’m all for single payer and have been since my days as a Hospital marketing consultant in the 80’s and 90’s, where it became clear to me that the system we have now is a circular firing squad between hospitals, physicians and insurance companies getting in the way of quality patient care and manageable costs. But one thing has to be very clear to all…..the 600 pound cost generating gorilla in the firing squad is the hospital sector. That is where the big $$$$ are misspent, yes sometimes misordered by physicians. But mostly in their corrupted financial systems, especially with the so-called tax exempt not for profit hospitals. We must have cost controls and where needed, the ability of the government to shut down corrupt hospitals and put hospitals in rural and poverty urban areas that will be under served when the predatory hospital operators are driven out of business. And the government(and maybe also medical schools?} has to play a big role in educating citizens on science-driven lifestyle management, including diet where parents and schools have failed.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: