The ultimate goal of health care reform should be universal health insurance. It’s about creating a system in which every American has access to the health care they need when they need it, without losing everything they have worked for in the process. It’s about making the system affordable and reducing costs significantly.
Single-payer is definitely one way to do that, but it’s not the only way. I support the concept as an ideal way to cut costs, but cutting costs is only one aspect of universal health care. And frankly, there are two things everyone must keep in mind when supporting a single-payer health care system. The first is obvious. It’s would require the United States to do something it has never done before; to take over an entire industry and essentially nationalize it. To say that won’t be easy is a massive understatement, and it will not be done with one bill. It will ake many bills over decades, and a long transition, if it is to happen at all. Even expanding Medicare, which would be the best way to implement such a system, will be a hard sell. The elderly will be nervous, and they vote in huge numbers. In other words, it will take a long, very difficult concerted effort to transform the views of millions of people; something we progressives have not been very good at for decades.
In other words, it will take a long, very difficult concerted effort to transform the views of millions of people; something we progressives have not been very good at for decades.
But the second thing to keep in mind is just as important as the first. Because this will be incredibly difficult and may even be impossible, we have to keep Republicans out of office in the meantime, so we can tweak what we have. We have to accept that single-payer may never happen, and put in place a system that meets all of the necessary goals in the meantime, just in case. We have to prepare for the eventuality that we may never get a single-payer system, and prepart accordingly.
And that’s okay. The fact is, every other developed country in the world has a universal health care system, but very few are single-payer systems. In fact, before Obamacare, WHO had the United States ranked as #37 in the world when it came to health care outcomes, and of the 36 countries ahead of us, only two have a single-payer system. (Source) Continue reading