Single-payer system is the real goal now

Published on Sunday, 15 December 2013 22:14 - Written by

There’s a new move underway to abolish the Affordable Care Act exchanges. But it’s not coming from where you’d expect, and you’re not going to like the reason for the move.

“On Monday, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, introduced the American Health Security Act, which would require each state to set up a single-payer health-care system and would undo the exchanges that have plagued Obamacare,” David Freelander wrote last week for The Daily Beast (the website that used to be Newsweek). “Meanwhile, various state-led efforts are under way that advocates hope will sweep the country statehouse by statehouse, as soon as lawmakers see the advantage of a single-payer system. In Vermont, for example, lawmakers have set aside the financing and are already preparing to adopt a single-payer system when the federal government permits it, which according to provisions of the Affordable Care Act will be in 2015.”

Whether or not a single-payer system (“Medicare for all”) has always been the goal, it’s more and more likely to be the outcome of an Obamacare failure. That’s a prediction we made back in October, and The American Spectator made a few weeks ago.

Because of the math, writes the Spectator’s Peter Ferrera, either taxpayers will soon have to bail out insurance companies as they collapse under the weight of new mandated coverage and too few healthy enrollees, or we’ll soon see a single-payer system.

“Next on the horizon is an Obamacare ‘death spiral’ for the private health insurance industry,” Ferrera warns. “Taxpayers will now be told a new bailout of hundreds of billions for the private health insurers must be passed, or else private health insurance will go out of business under Obamacare. That would leave the government in complete control of American health care, especially as he who pays the piper calls the tune.”

Americans are in no mood to bailout anything, much less the private insurance companies they’ve been told for five years are the real villains in American health care.

The Democrats are seizing on this fact, and the energy of their unlikely Republican allies.

“As the rollout of Obamacare clunks forward, activists who opposed the law from the beginning say it is time to seize the moment, to tear down the current health-care edifice and start anew, especially now as frustration with the law’s implementation is reaching a peak,” Freelander writes. “These are not Tea Party activists but advocates for a single-payer health-care system who say some of the problems with the launch of the Affordable Care Act — in addition to built-in problems with the law itself — have made the American public more receptive than ever to a Medicare-for-all kind of coverage system.”

That’s the prediction of the Democratic former governor of Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell: “They [Republicans] torpedo the Affordable Care Act, and I believe we will now have single payer in this country within the next 15 years.”

It’s more and more likely that he’s right. Republicans who call for the repeal of Obamacare had better be ready with real alternatives — because the Democrats already are.