Why not single payer?

by Steve, March 29th, 2009

politicsI’ve been pretty hands-off on the new prez, at least publicly. But I keep asking myself a couple things. First, why they hell haven’t we nationalized the banking system yet? Second, why the hell isn’t Obama talking about single payer health care?

(Of course we knew ahead of time that Obama is something of a market fundamentalist, so we already know the answer to those questions.)

“Medicare for all” is the smartest thing we could do for the economy. It would eliminate the wasteful, burdensome, redundant and immoral private health insurance racket in one fell swoop, and eliminate the leading cause of personal bankruptcy in the US.

Even if Obama isn’t willing to consider it, circumstances may eventually force the issue. Meanwhile, a grassroots groundswell is building, with Laborer’s Local 483 among Portland unions to endorse passage of HR 676, the United States National Health Insurance Act.

I urge you to join with the laborer’s in calling your US Rep and encouraging them to support HR 676.

5 Responses to “Why not single payer?”

  1. Comment from Kari Chisholm:

    Talking about single payer is a nice discussion for a classroom, or a bar, or dorm room… but we’re talking about policy here.

    Ain’t nothing wrong with single payer as a policy, except that it won’t happen. At least not this year.

    Obama has committed to passing universal health care this year. THIS year. 2009.

    And there aren’t 10 votes in the U.S. Senate for single-payer, much less 60.

    If you can identify 10 votes in the U.S. Senate for single-payer, then you’re doing better than anyone else… and you’ve still got 50 to go.

  2. Comment from Steve:

    “Ultimately a genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.

    I can appreciate pragmatism.

    But the current crisis demands vision and leadership.

    (Gee, maybe we should make the health insurance industry qualify for TARP, and that would solve the problem. That seems to be working for the finance sector.)

    The good news is that this discussion is happening in union halls, town hall meetings and around the water cooler, i.e. well beyond the bars, dorms, and classrooms. And even if Obama and congress squander time and money on a plan palatable to the health industry in the meantime, ultimately he might have to follow the lead of the people and do the right thing.

  3. Comment from Terry:

    And didn’t Obama say he wanted the people to speak up? That’s what Steve is doing in his own small way. It’s what I do on my blog.

    I would add that single payer would be a huge boon to the U.S. economy, especially if you believe, as Obama does, that we’re in competition with other countries, almost all of which don’t saddle their largest employers with paying for employee health care.

    I heard (or read) somewhere that General Motors pays more for employee health care than it does for the steel to build its cars.

  4. Comment from Rita:

    I have a question for Kari and the rest of the Democratic Party illuminati: if single payer health care is a topic for discussion in “a classroom, or a bar, or dorm room,” not to mention all over the web, in truly progressive circles, and around water coolers (for those of us still working), why is it NOT a topic of discussion in DC? Why is it not even allowed to be on the table?

    Don’t get me wrong, I like Obama and am desperate for some real change, but I am increasingly concerned that this President who so lavishly alluded to the “team of rivals” concept in the runup to Jan. 20 has notably not included any real “rivals” among his health care, economic, or education teams. Why can’t we even debate anything other than the usual policies?

  5. Comment from Rick:

    Here’s another one from this Obama backer.

    What’s with our “wall-to-wall” wars?

    Quick now, why are we fighting in Afghanistan?

    Al Qaeda? Taliban?

    What say we keep the robot drones snooping and flying (which also keeps the defense industry happy) and pull out the troops?