• Why not national single payer now?

    Following up on my post this morning, one of the health reform ideas many consider “radical” is single payer. Yes, I know about Vermont. Still, I maintain many people think it is a radical idea. Indeed it is, if only in the sense that it is a huge departure from our current multi-payer system.

    But if it is good for Vermont, why has it not been anywhere near to passing at a national level? The answer is political feasibility, or lack thereof.

    Early in my time in the Senate, single-payer proponents–led by organizers from the California Nurses Association–visited to seek Senator Kennedy’s support for single payer as the path to national reform. We asked them  how many senators they knew supported their preference. “We haven’t done a head count,” they said, and they never provided one. Senator Kennedy’s health team had done one–the Medicare for All legislation he sponsored earlier in the decade had garnered zero cosponsors.

    Zero is pretty far from a filibuster-proof majority. The passage is from John McDonough’s Inside National Health Reform.

    • There is support for single payer legislation:

      • Sorry, Molly. You unfortunately reinforced what Austin Frakt wrote, so Austin Frakt is probably smiling smugly to himself. You referred to a list of 33 out of the 435 members of the U.S. House. That is a mightily tiny number.

        The Support Monitor, as of earlier this year, now gives you the most accurate and complete count, so I suggest that you always refer to it.

        See the support in the U.S. Senate
        It’s 5, but 2 of the Senators are (in my words >>) waiting for American citizens to learn what the subject is (become informed) and establish the political will about which Austin Frakt wrote. Until that process of becoming informed is initiated (which will occur in the coming months), you might as well not be communicating our weakness.

        Austin Frakt is “technically” wrong to state that there is zero support, since he does not do the detailed research that the support monitor reflects.

        However, the Senate support is so very close to zero that one might as well state zero, which he does.

        As far as the U.S. House is concerned, please do a careful read at the bright red “Special Notice” at the following web page.
        There you can learn more about why the best reporting of support is at the Support Monitor.

        Molly, the amount of support in the U.S. House is actually more than twice what you referenced, as listed at the monitor. However, 79 out of 435 is still only 18% support. Since a few of the remaining 46 might be fragile, let’s say for today that there is 15% support in the House and 5% support in the Senate. That brings us to Austin Frakt’s main suggestion of it being a “radical” health reform idea. Molly I welcome you to help make improved Medicare for All via single-payer health care politically feasible, which has nothing to do with any organization contacting the members of the U.S. Congress … and everything to do with Americans informing other Americans about things like peace of mind (no major medical bills, and new freedoms to make health and life choices) and jobs (that is opportunities created by lowering employer costs by cutting the cost of health care per person to 40% of what it is today). One of the tools for doing that is to have the testimonials of Americans who live and work in other countries that have health-care-for-all systems.

        – Bob the Health and Health Care Advocate