Single-Payer and Obamacare
The liberal reaction to the Supreme Court review of Obamacare has ranged from comic incredulity to tragic inconsolability. But for some on the left the door is now open to their Holy Grail, single-payer, universal health care.
I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer, universal health care plan... we may not get there immediately...
Picking up the single-payer baton in the wake of Supreme Court hearings that were disastrous for the Democrats, the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson expounds on what he considers the inevitable:
... the obvious alternative is to emulate other industrialized nations that deliver equal or better health-care outcomes for half the cost.
I'm talking about a single-payer health-care system. If the Supreme Court strikes down Obamacare, a single-payer system will go from being politically impossible to being, in the long run, fiscally inevitable.
Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich adds what he calls "political ju-jitsu" to the mix:
But with a bit of political jujitsu, President Obama could turn that defeat into a victory for a single-payer health care system - Medicare for all...
...If the Supreme Court strikes down the individual mandate in the new health law, private insurers will swarm Capitol Hill demanding that the law be amended to remove the requirement that they cover people with pre-existing conditions.
If this happens, Obama and the Democrats should say they're willing to remove that requirement - but only if Medicare is available to all, financed by payroll taxes.
Reich laughably also observes from his ivory tower that Obama couldn't get the votes for single-payer because "not a single Republican would even agree to a bill giving Americans the option of buying into it," when in reality it was his fellow Democrats who stopped the public option.
Even conservative Josh Barro at Forbes pours a cold dose of reality over the possible demise of Obamacare:
Strike down Obamacare, and single payer instantly becomes the number one organizing cause for liberals in America...
...The centrists held the key to building a majority coalition, and they got their way on structure in Obamacare-but an unfavorable Supreme Court decision would effectively take that structure off the table.
...liberals see universal health coverage as the crown jewel in a completed social safety net... This isn't an issue they're likely to go quietly on...
Strike down Obamacare, and only the Left will have a viable plan for universal coverage, and it will be one even less palatable to conservatives than the one that was enacted in 2010. Absent another viable proposal, they will eventually get their way, and Medicare For All will become a reality.
If Obamacare is overturned or repealed, it will be up to the Republicans to rise to the challenge and produce a patient-centered plan that opens up markets to provide choice and competition, replaces mandates with flexibility and innovation, and provides for the uninsured and for pre-existing conditions.
The hounds of single-payer will be nipping at their heels.