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.

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