“You’re being obtuse about the arguments against single payer health care. First of all, that phrase means something different in every country that has a single payer system.”
Actually, I was very succinct about it. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee under Pelosi tells the rightist “Democrats” it supports that even if they don’t actually support single-payer, its ok to say they support “Medicare For All” because the phrase can later be interpreted to mean basically nothing — just don’t get pinned down to publicly saying you support “single payer healthcare” and you can get away with it. It’s an intentional effort to sow confusion; your talking-points here further it. The most popular model among single payer advocates in the U.S. has long been — as in, for decades — the Canadian system but at this stage, it’s more important to get people behind the principle of the thing than to hammer out such details.
“Secondly, nobody can adequately say how to pay for it or ensure that it will get the support it needs (because a president is not a king).”
The first assertion there is false — we’ve had multiple proposals over the years for how to pay for it. In his most recent proposal, Bernie Sanders recognized the obvious — that funding mechanisms will be hammered out as part of the ordinary legislative process — and called for “vigorous debate as to the best way to finance our Medicare for All legislation,” offering several ideas. Single payer gets the support it needs by building a consensus in support of it, which is what’s happening now. Anti-progressive Clinton cultists love their “but what about the Republicans” talk and efforts to make single payer seem impractical but that’s just another effort to roadblock the legislation; if Democrats only advocated things Republican politicians won’t oppose, they’d never advocate anything.
“Thirdly, democrats have been steadily moving towards a single payer system through the expansion of medicaid, because they know that an all or nothing approach is naive and doesn’t allow for progress — the list goes on.”
That’s neither a “single payer system” nor was it ever even envisioned as morphing into one, and it never would have become law if there was even a chance of that ever happening. The Medicaid expansion of Obamacare was just to provide coverage to people at the bottom of the scale in the context of preserving for-profit insurance; it put the failed insurance companies on federal welfare, which, in turn, helps subsidize their purchase of legislators and makes any effort at real reform increasingly difficult. Obamacare was a Republican healthcare plan, crafted in the ’90s as a counter to Hillarycare. The proposed public option — Obama’s major innovation in his own initial version — could have created a mechanism for a slow transition to single payer — too slow to be particularly helpful — but Obama threw it away in a backroom deal with hospital lobbyists.
“And yes, she is the first person in America to get the idea of a federal government supported healthcare system to the national stage”
lol. National health insurance initiatives started appearing in Europe in the 1880s. The Socialist party under Eugene Debs began advocating national healthcare in 1904; Theodore Roosevelt’s Progressive party adopted it in 1912 but Teddy lost the election.
The original proposal for Social Security included health coverage but AMA opposition to this led FDR to drop it instead of imperiling the entire SS effort. In 1939, New York Sen. Robert Wagner, the author of the Social Security Act, first introduced what became known as the Wagner National Health Act. This went through several evolutions in the new few years to become the Wagner-Murray-Dingell bill, a comprehensive national health program. When Harry Truman became president, he endorsed it and the AMA launched the biggest campaign in its history up to then to kill it. That campaign succeeded but the legislation was reintroduced every years for 14 years.
The 1950s saw the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) call for a comprehensive national healthcare plan; it would continue to do so for decades.
The ’60s, of course, saw the creation of Medicare; upon its adoption, UAW president Walter Reuther called for a national healthcare program and created the Committee for National Health Insurance, which crafted a model program that was subsequently introduced in the Senate by Ted Kennedy. That same year, 1970, saw two other single payer bills introduced in the Senate. Kennedy would continue to introduce versions of his legislation, sometimes his own, sometimes in concert with others, for years — disagreement over this issue would significantly contribute to his rift with Jimmy Carter — and competing national health proposals by Nixon, Ford, Carter and various legislators consumed the decade, which saw, among so many other things, the Medical Committee for Human Rights, which was the medical arm of the civil rights movement, launch a campaign for national healthcare. In 1977, California congressman Ron Dellums, in cooperation with the MCHR, crafted the National Health Service Act, which would have created a full-blown British healthcare system to the U.S.; Dellums reintroduced this legislation in every congress until his 1998 retirement from the body. His successor, congresswoman Barbara Lee, continued to reintroduce it into the present century.
In the 1980s, the issue was generally shoved to the backburner but the decade also saw the creation of Physicians for a National Health Program, which was and continues to be one of the major advocates for single payer. By 1988, a majority of respondents were telling pollsters they supported the idea. The end of the decade also saw the publication by the Heritage Foundation of “A National Health System For America,” the first link in a chain that would eventually morph into Obamacare, and the creation by the House of Representatives of the Claude Pepper Commission, established to study the issue.
The 1990s opened with that commission’s report, which didn’t endorse single payer but it was important for documenting the gathering healthcare crisis and was prescient as to where it was likely heading. Hawaiian Sen. Daniel Inouye introduced the NASW’s proposed single payer plan, the National Health Care Act, in 1992 and 1993. In ’92, Michigan Rep. John Conyers also introduced his first single-payer bill, the Health Care For Every American Act. He would continue to tinker with this proposal and has reintroduced a version of it in every congress up to the present. That same year saw both then-House Republican leader Bob Michel and Democratic congressmen Jim Cooper and Mike Andrews, working together, introduce “managed competition” healthcare plans. In 1993, Washington Rep. Jim McDermott introduced a single payer plan (something he, too, would reintroduce for years to come).
It was only at that point that Hillary Clinton came along to become, in your narrative, “the first person in America to get the idea of a federal government supported healthcare system to the national stage.”
Now, tell me again, which of us doesn’t “really have an understanding of politics or history”?
Clinton’s plan as it emerged was largely lifted from that of Republican leader Michel (who, himself, subsequently introduced a different plan). It led to a flurry of competing Republican plans, the major one being what would eventually become Obamacare, as well as Democratic plans. Bernie Sanders, who had been agitating for single-payer for years, introduced his first single player plan in the House at that time. He has continued to advocate for this issue right up to now. As I’ve already covered, when he introduced his 2015 single payer plan in the Senate, no one — not a single senator — stepped up to co-sponsor it. Sanders’ strong advocacy on this issue throughout the presidential campaign and beyond has meant that 1/3 of the Senate Democratic caucus has now gotten behind his plan, including all of the 2020 presidential hopefuls in the body. His advocacy has paid off in the House as well. In 2015, John Conyers’ single player plan had only 49 co-sponsors; it now has 120, the most in its history. Some of this support in both bodies will no doubt prove to be opportunistic but Sanders has moved the needle. These facts certainly present quite a contrast with last year’s Hillary Clinton, screeching like some insane Alex Jones-ite monster about how single payer “will never, ever come to pass!!!”