Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The road to single payer is easier if Republicans make Obamacare fail

Years ago, I had a conservative commentator who was convinced that Obamacare was a sham to move the American health insurance system to single payer. While I agreed with him that was a possibility when there was a public option in the proposed bill, when that was taken out and the ACA was passed, I didn't see any mechanism for moving towards a Canadian-style system. Still my commentator kept insisting that is what Obamacare was really about, even if he could not explain how exactly that would come about.

But I do buy this. By pushing Obamacare to fail, the Republicans are making an American single payer system more likely. If the hybrid market approach fails, the Democrats (or anyone else who actually cares about getting to universal coverage) have no where to go but to a single payer or socialized medicine. There is no appetite to nationalize all hospitals and medical facilities in this country, so that leaves single payer. It doesn't hurt that Medicare (a single payer system for the elderly) is extremely popular and that the Medicaid expansion (Medicaid being a single payer system for the poor to, in states where the Medicaid expansion occurred, lower middle class) is the most successful part of the ACA.