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Vocal support for universal coverage is on the rise among Democrats in Congress

AuthenticM

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From The Atlantic

Emboldened by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 defeat, and the Republican effort to dismantle former President Barack Obama’s signature health-care law, progressive lawmakers and activists are trying to move single payer into the party mainstream. There are signs the idea is winning traction: For the first time ever, a majority of House Democrats have signed up to support “Medicare for all” single-payer legislation, a threshold crossed in the aftermath of the presidential election. A number of influential Senate Democrats have also expressed support for single payer in the midst of the current Republican health-care push, which is now in doubt as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushes for an Obamacare repeal vote.

“If you’re serious about real health-care reform, it has got to be on the agenda, and I would hope that as many Democrats as possible support it,” Senator Bernie Sanders said in a recent interview after a rally against the GOP health-care bill in Kentucky, where he promised that “as soon as we defeat this terrible Republican proposal,” he would introduce his own Medicare-for-all legislation. “It’s going to be a tough fight,” Sanders said, “but it is a fight that has to be waged, because it is the only rational solution to the health-care crisis that we face.”

Sanders, the most popular figure on the American left, has used his higher post-election profile to advocate for single payer, while progressive firebrand Senator Elizabeth Warren has called single payer “the next step” for the party. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has publicly said that “we should have Medicare for all.” Senator Kamala Harris, frequently buzzed about as a rising star in the party, recently told a crowd in her home state of California that “as a concept, I’m completely in support of single payer,” though she added the caveat: “but we’ve got to work out the details, and the details matter on that.”

Advocating universal health-insurance coverage also has the advantage of creating a stark contrast to the legislation Republicans in Congress have spent months attempting to enact, which non-partisan analysts have estimated would leave millions of Americans without health insurance.

“It’s not just about single payer, it’s about inclusionary politics,” Democratic Representative Peter Welch said in an interview. “It’s about a government that has policies that are going to work for everyone, not just a select few. That’s really the heart of the message. It’s broader than just health care.”

The fact that Sanders gave Clinton a serious challenge while running on a platform that advocated Medicare for all has also created momentum. The Vermont senator’s campaign created visibility for the issue, and Clinton’s defeat in the general election has emboldened the party’s progressive wing to argue even more strongly that a centrist, incrementalist approach to Democratic politics is not the answer as the party seeks to rebuild.

“Bernie Sanders’s candidacy helped catapult single payer back to prominence in the Democratic Party. He is the only serious contender for the presidential nomination to back single-payer in the past quarter century,” said Jonathan Oberlander, a professor of social medicine and health policy and management at the University of North California-Chapel Hill.

As Democrats in Congress hold out the possibility of single payer, there is evidence that public opinion has moved in favor of such a system among Democratic voters. A majority of Democrats, at 52 percent, support the idea of providing health coverage through a single, national insurance program run by the government, according to a June poll from the Pew Research Center. The poll found that the percentage of Democrats who support that idea had grown by 19 percentage points since 2014. Pew also reported that the share of Americans who say “health coverage is a government responsibility remains at its highest level in nearly a decade.”

If Democrats controlled Congress, and the presidency, there would still be challenges to any kind of single-payer push, not least among them the question of how expensive it would be. Attempts to implement single payer in California and Vermont, liberal stronghold states, have run aground amid contentious debates over the cost required for implementation.

For now, Democrats who support single payer will keep making the case for the idea in the hopes of convincing party leadership, and whoever runs for the White House in 2020 that it’s a winning issue. Democratic Representative Ro Khanna suggested in a recent interview that future candidates may be able to argue that while Trump has made ambitious health-care promises—like his vow of “insurance for everybody”—only Democrats, running on single payer, will be able to deliver on the pledge of universal coverage.

“What the first person who runs in 2020 ought to say to Donald Trump is ...‘you promised the American people more benefits, less costs, more coverage, and you didn’t deliver. You know as well as we know that the answer is single payer. So, why are you not supporting Medicare for all?’,” Khanna said in an interview. “That’s a great attack, and a great message,” he added. “My view is that this is really going to become the platform of the Democratic Party.”

strip me of insurance if old
 

legacyzero

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HR676 has been on a roll. God to hear. If this somehow starts picking up support on the moderate GOP side, we might have a ball game here. And 2018 might be a bigger challenge for Dems
I would laugh FOREVER if the republican repeal and replace plan actually ended up getting us single payer or universal healthcare.
LOL yep. And Trump has spoken positively about Universal HC SEVERAL times before he was elected. So it could be a ........wait for it........

TRUMP CARD.
 

Stinkles

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I would laugh FOREVER if the republican repeal and replace plan actually ended up getting us single payer or universal healthcare.
 

Pop-O-Matic

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What was that about "Obamacare needing to die so universal may rise from the ashes" that some gaffers were on about a few weeks back?
 
D

Deleted member 231381

Unconfirmed Member
The Dems have been in favor of UHC for eons.

The article is specifically talking about single-payer. The original title of the article was: "Why So Many Democrats Are Embracing Single-Payer Health Care"; the OP has quoted a section of the subtitle.
 

Autodidact

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Dec 13, 2008
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The article is specifically talking about single-payer. The original title of the article was: "Why So Many Democrats Are Embracing Single-Payer Health Care"; the OP has quoted a section of the subtitle.

Which is a form of universal health care, which in turn has been in the Democratic platform since Truman.

Your pedantry is not cute.
 
D

Deleted member 231381

Unconfirmed Member
Which is a form of universal health care, which in turn has been in the Democratic platform since Truman.

Your pedantry is not cute.

I'm just pointing this out to kirblar in case he'd not read the original link. The article explicitly talks about rising Democratic support for single-payer as opposed to any of the various other universal coverage options, responding to that by saying 'the Democrats have always supported at least one of the universal coverage options' isn't really contributing much.
 

Trojita

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Feb 9, 2009
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To the the "both sides are the same" morons.

The only thing keeping us from going European with universal healthcare is the need to still get elected from our dumb voting electorate. Elected democrats are the only thing keeping our country from having turned into a serfdom like so many Republicans like Paul Ryan want.
 

legacyzero

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Joke post?
Not at all. Think about it. (Now I'm just being an armchair political analyst here) but Trump has spoken HIGHLY of Single Payer many times both before AND after he got elected. The current failures and the rise in popularity of Single Payer. They could easily pivot to that, and do some good.

Their current failures in Health Care (and a lot of everything else) is killing the SHIT out of their chances for 2018 and 2020. They need a strategic win, and thus could be where they grab it.

Edit: wow you edited your post to be even more useless than the one I thought was more serious.
 

Ogodei

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It's fair that Universal Healthcare was viewed as more or less toxic by centrist Democrats since the failure of Hillarycare, which is why you couldn't get public option through the Senate in 2009, but the 2010 purges have gotten most of those people out of the ranks, so the smaller caucus is more ideologically aligned.
 

Intheflorsh

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Not at all. Think about it. (Now I'm just being an armchair political analyst here) but Trump has spoken HIGHLY of Single Payer many times both before AND after he got elected. The current failures and the rise in popularity of Single Payer. They could easily pivot to that, and do some good.

Their current failures in Health Care (and a lot of everything else) is killing the SHIT out of their chances for 2018 and 2020. They need a strategic win, and thus could be where they grab it.

Such beautiful naivety on display. It makes the heart weep, truly.
 

lobdale

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I think even filthy progressives like myself would say that universal single payer/NHS would be a case of the end justifying the means. It's such a dire situation out there for so many people that I think folks would tolerate a lot of collateral damage and stupid bullshit to get to that point.
 

kirblar

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No they havnt . If that were the case, we would have gotten it during the Obama era when we had the Majority.
If Obama had nuked the fillibuster it would have been a very different bill that eventually passed.

The uninsured rate was about halved ( https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2016-obamacare/ ) and the big issues standing in the way of UHC are two things:

a) the reliance on state medicaid expansion as a delivery mechanism, allowing states to fuck over their own populations

b) the unpopularity of a mandate requiring everyone to buy in (alongside with not having all 50 states on board the expansion to avoid screwing people caught in the middle)
 

Toxi

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Not at all. Think about it. (Now I'm just being an armchair political analyst here) but Trump has spoken HIGHLY of Single Payer many times both before AND after he got elected. The current failures and the rise in popularity of Single Payer. They could easily pivot to that, and do some good.

Their current failures in Health Care (and a lot of everything else) is killing the SHIT out of their chances for 2018 and 2020. They need a strategic win, and thus could be where they grab it.

Edit: wow you edited your post to be even more useless than the one I thought was more serious.
I couldn't actually tell if your post was serious at first.

"Moderate" GOP politicians would rather put their faces next to a blowtorch than support universal healthcare.
 

kirblar

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And this is despite zero meaningful support from the party's institutional infrastructure. Leftist activism actually can accomplish things.
There's zero support from this from the party infrastructure because even w/ a party majority in congress there's no majority to pass single-payer.

If you try and go full-blast on passing it you'll run into the same issues the GOP just did w/ Obamacare repeal- the moderates will abandon you.
 

diablos991

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Jun 15, 2013
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I would laugh FOREVER if the republican repeal and replace plan actually ended up getting us single payer or universal healthcare.

I would be grateful and it would likely earn Republicans my vote for many years since they would be the ones to do what the Democrats could not.

Universal coverage is a no brainer at this point so long as we also get rid of insurance companies. Make the payment between the federal government and the provider. No need to have that middleman making profit for no added value.
 

legacyzero

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Such beautiful naivety on display. It makes the heart weep, truly.
#JustSayin
If Obama had nuked the fillibuster it would have been a very different bill that eventually passed.

The uninsured rate was about halved ( https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2016-obamacare/ ) and the big issues standing in the way of UHC are two things:

a) the reliance on state medicaid expansion as a delivery mechanism, allowing states to fuck over their own populations

b) the unpopularity of a mandate requiring everyone to buy in (alongside with not having all 50 states on board the expansion to avoid screwing people caught in the middle)
I also think that a lot of people just didn't understand what Single Payer was mainly because of Republican talking points. "Socialism is SCARRY!"
I couldn't actually tell if your post was serious at first.

Moderate GOP would rather put their faces to a blowtorch than support universal healthcare.
2018 is that blow torch.
There's zero support from this from the party infrastructure because even w/ a party majority in congress there's no majority to pass single-payer.

If you try and go full-blast on passing it you'll run into the same issues the GOP just did w/ Obamacare repeal- the moderates will abandon you.
That's where the activism comes in. A lot of he support gained for HR676 has been from constituent push to various reps. All about that momentum.
 

kirblar

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I also think that a lot of people just didn't understand what Single Payer was mainly because of Republican talking points. "Socialism is SCARRY!"
The problem you have is that among people who do no what it is and don't have a problem w/ it in theory, it's too big of an infrastructure change to get to based on where we currently are.

Health Care is 1/6th of the modern economy, and trying to tear down private infrastructure and establish public infrastructure all at once would be devastating to it.

If you want to do Single Payer as your long term goal, you need to backdoor it via the Public Option.
 

Aaron Strife

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Not at all. Think about it. (Now I'm just being an armchair political analyst here) but Trump has spoken HIGHLY of Single Payer many times both before AND after he got elected. The current failures and the rise in popularity of Single Payer. They could easily pivot to that, and do some good.

Their current failures in Health Care (and a lot of everything else) is killing the SHIT out of their chances for 2018 and 2020. They need a strategic win, and thus could be where they grab it.

Edit: wow you edited your post to be even more useless than the one I thought was more serious.
are you serious
 

Stinkles

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I would be grateful and it would likely earn Republicans my vote for many years since they would be the ones to do what the Democrats could not.

Universal coverage is a no brainer at this point so long as we also get rid of insurance companies. Make the payment between the federal government and the provider. No need to have that middleman making profit for no added value.

It would not be the Republicans doing it though. They've accidentally exposed people to the idea that it's good by over protesting about how bad it is. If it ever happened it would be majority Dem votes with maybe a few GOP folks, but I agree with you that a middle man who only exists to skim money off the top is complete madness. Like, "I just invented cigarettes" level of crazy.
 

rjinaz

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I would be grateful and it would likely earn Republicans my vote for many years since they would be the ones to do what the Democrats could not.

Universal coverage is a no brainer at this point so long as we also get rid of insurance companies. Make the payment between the federal government and the provider. No need to have that middleman making profit for no added value.

In what universe do you live in where Republicans will ever be the ones that put out UHC? That party is only about self-interest. Full stop.
 

Toxi

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kirblar

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http://ijr.com/2016/02/537107-5-times-donald-trump-praised-socialized-healthcare/
You don't think there's a chance Trump could flip on it?

Party lines are a bitch.
You really should take as a lesson that Trump had spent his entire adult life vocally supporting some form of UHC, but that when it came to a choice between implementing UHC or trying to tear down the first black President's legacy, he chose the latter.

Human nature and tribalism are big problems for us.
 

Aaron Strife

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You don't think there's a chance Trump could flip on it?

Party lines are a bitch.
Even in this hypothetical timeline where Trump comes out for single-payer, who does he get the support in Congress from? Mitch McConnell? Paul Ryan?

One, you're counting on Donald Fucking Trump of all people to do the right thing, and two even if he did the president is not all-powerful. You need to understand this and you clearly don't given your suggestion that Obama didn't really want universal healthcare as he would have gotten it with a majority.

BCRA should be proof positive that simply having a majority in Congress isn't the golden ticket for the president to do whatever he wants.
 

Somnid

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They need to be vocally for it, none of this 'well...it's nice but...' BS. It's your job to make it happen, not speculate on whether or not it happens.