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Single-Payer Health Insurance?

If “only Nixon could visit China”, maybe “only Trump can pass single-payer health insurance”?

The “alt-right”, that racist segment of the right that fueled Trump’s victory, is moving more and more towards supporting single-payer health insurance (Medicare for all). And after the defeat of the repeal of Obamacare, they are getting more vocal about it. They support it because their base of working-class whites support it. Of course, they would want it to apply only to American citizens, and not (for example) to immigrants, especially not illegal ones.

What his means is that an unholy alliance of alt-right and progressive politicians (pretty much all Democrats, including Bernie supporters) could potentially cooperate to pass single-payer health insurance. Of course, this would have to overcome the health insurance companies who would be fighting strongly against it. But it is a chance.

I think this could be a big win for Trump (not to mention “president” Bannon, who supports the alt-right). And it looks like Trump is going to really need a big win soon.



  1. ebdoug wrote:

    I think President Bannon is being squeezed out. Mercer want to keep him there.

    Heath care insurance (all handled by private companies) is so easy. Add new baby to family plan. The co-pays and insurance payments are figured each year by computer after the return is filed. Those are the new premiums and copays. Age 26 that child goes out on its own income. Anyone who does not HAVE to file a tax return (people file for EARNED INCOME CREDIT only) don’t pay for insurance. They are essentially on Medicaid. We are paying out 75% of taxes for Medicare and Social SEcurity now. My bet is that is comparable to other countries. Then cut drug prices and “come back in a year so I can ensure my income as a doctor”

    Friday, April 7, 2017 at 4:20 am | Permalink
  2. Hassan wrote:

    Yes, I think it is fair that single pair system should be for US citizens/permanent residents only.

    Friday, April 7, 2017 at 9:59 am | Permalink
  3. TJ wrote:

    Then what happens to visitors with emergency medical needs?

    Friday, April 7, 2017 at 10:22 am | Permalink
  4. Hassan wrote:

    They pay for visit.

    Friday, April 7, 2017 at 2:18 pm | Permalink
  5. Iron Knee wrote:

    That is actually pretty common for countries to charge non-residents for health care. Canada and England both do it. New Zealand says they do it, but when we had an emergency room visit, they didn’t charge us anything. I think they have some discretion.

    I would be against charging all non-citizens. People with residency or work visas, who are paying taxes, should of course have their health care taken care of, since they are paying for it.

    Friday, April 7, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink
  6. Ed Alexander wrote:

    You guys are like someone who has never seen a car imagining what it would be like. Duh, you’re the only country without single payer health care. Canadian health care pays for all Canadian residents, including in other countries if they can’t get back to Canada for some reason, or if the procedure is not available in Canada. Visitors to Canada are charged, and the visitor’s health provider reimburses Canada.

    Friday, April 7, 2017 at 8:25 pm | Permalink
  7. Ralph wrote:

    Hey Ed, give us a break. Making America Golf, er, Great Again takes time. We’ve only been working on this since the Johnson Administration!

    Maybe sneaking a few distressed US babies with no insurance onto Trump’s Twitter machine might help. I know it sounds crass but it seems to have flipped him on Syria, I’m ready to try anything.

    Saturday, April 8, 2017 at 10:43 am | Permalink
  8. Ed Alexander wrote:

    I would love to give you a break, but what good would that do? At least get the facts right. FDR had considered single payer health care. You are all so focused on Trump as if he were the problem, when it’s so obvious that he’s only a symptom of a dysfunctional political system devised by revolutionaries in reaction to the parliamentary system of their “oppressors.” The only real significant changes only occur when you have what we would call a “majority government”. The problem is that having two very powerful “parliaments” plus an Executive who sits in neither pretty much guarantees that unless one party controls all three branches with significant majorities, very little happens. Note that the greatest social legislation in your recent history happened under FDR and LBJ who had these majorities. I know this is upsetting to Americans to hear this, because we were all taught from grade one that the US system was the greatest ever devised in the history of humanity, but until you hear it and do something about it, you will continue to be doomed. If you don’t believe me, then just think how really fantastic it must sound to everyone outside the US that you would only get single payer as a result of a coalition between the “communists” and the “fascists” put together by a crazy man.

    Sunday, April 9, 2017 at 5:35 pm | Permalink
  9. Ralph wrote:

    Sorry Ed, apparently you missed the sarcasm. You won’t get any argument from me on your account. Indeed, I believe the germ of the idea of a single payer system was with FDR, but understanding the history of how or why health insurance ever got tied into the job market post-WWII is above my pay grade. With much of his political capital spent on getting his controversial Social Security bill through Congress, perhaps he felt single payer was more than he could realistically take on at that time. Sounds like something Dan Carlin’s podcast, Hard Core History, would be more qualified to delineate.

    If I’m not mistaken, Nixon also favorably viewed a single-payer system, along with proposals from the right-wing think tank, The Heritage Foundation around 1989, something of a blue print for Romneycare in Mass, (aka Obamacare Lite). All along the way, of course, “true” Republicans denouncing it as Socialism (the dirtiest, most profane word in the Republican dictionary), and doing their utmost to repeal or sabotage.

    My only lost point being that it wasn’t until LBJ instituted Medicare that anything close to single payer has been realized in this country. Ironically, it was a program first proposed by Eisenhower (a Republican, in case some may forget) as a program of health care for social security beneficiaries (the elderly).

    In this increasingly hyper-partisan system we have, though, progress on important social issues progresses in fits and starts, and almost always at the behest of Democrats. It’s two steps forward, a step and a-half back. But in my lifetime of a bit over a half century (gasp!) I never would have imagined, for example, legalized abortion, legalized gay marriage, legalized marijuana, or a black president. And single-payer healthcare seems to be something that is gradually becoming a more mainstream idea among the general population as the only sensible way to try to get spiraling healthcare costs under control, even among many conservatives now (see the recent Krauthammer op-ed piece I recently cited on this blog).

    I mean, there’s a reason Obamacare got any traction at all from the start. The old system of insurance companies running a healthcare economy that provided less coverage for increasing numbers of people and premiums that far exceeded the rate of inflation for decades, in short, a profits over people business model, clearly wasn’t sustainable. Even large employers have been getting crushed and passing increasing costs onto disgruntled employees. But the current system has become enormously complex over time and big ships like this don’t turn on a dime overnight. Or even a lifetime, it seems, when Republicans are in charge. No wonder I drink.

    That’s my sick story and I’m stickin’ with it!

    Sunday, April 9, 2017 at 10:57 pm | Permalink
  10. Ed Alexander wrote:

    I apologize for my very strong opinions on this subject (sometimes causing me to miss subtleties). I have a younger brother who was admitted to a psychiatric facility after he had a breakdown after coming out of the closet. After what I recall was 3 months, the insurance company notified the doctor that they were terminating coverage.
    The other reason is that the cost of your present system is such a drain on the US economy it naturally affects your neighbours (yepper that’s neighbours here), especially when the money could be used to clean up the Great Lakes. Or geez you could pour even more money into the military! (now there’s some sarcasm for you).

    Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 6:28 am | Permalink
  11. Ralph wrote:

    Hey Ed, no offense taken, sometimes I don’t even get my own sarcasm! đŸ˜‰

    I assume the brother you refer to is/was residing in the US at the time of his medical challenges, otherwise it would be surprising to hear his coverage was terminated, as I understand pre-existing conditions are not grounds for termination in Canada. I hope your brother has since rebounded. Regrettably, even with gay marriage now the law of the land nationwide here, LGBT discrimination continues to be commonplace, particularly from the religious right (Exhibit A, the recent bathroom bills in NC). I can appreciate your brother’s experience to the extent that individuals in my own family have also found coverage for psychiatric services to be marginal, at best, even through Obamacare. One member chooses to pay out of pocket, fearing discrimination should an employer, or future prospect, gain wind of it. Seems proving discrimination is even harder than quelling it. I shall never understand how insurance companies, or anyone, can justify or rationalize separating the brain from the rest of the body, but there you have it.

    The business practices here (prior to Obamacare, anyway) of denying coverage for pre-existing conditions flies in the face of what insurance is supposed to be about – spreading risk, not concentrating it. So when Paul Ryan recently presented his now infamous slide show describing the proposed elements of the ill-fated AHCA that included the concept of “risk pools” (with predictably pitiful subsidies granted to those unfortunate enough to be thrown into one), it revealed the continuing denial from the conservative camp of this most basic definition of insurance.

    Ironically, the party that decries Obamacare as the progenitor of “death camps”, or the gov’t getting between you and your doctor, is just fine and dandy with insurance companies getting between you and your doctor and thus profiting on the backs of anyone not contributing to their quarterly bottom line. So you see, this is the kind of political thinking and resistance we are up against down here. For hard line conservatives, if you can’t make money off it, it practically doesn’t exist, or shouldn’t. Any social program is a slippery slope to all out Socialism.

    BTW, does anyone out there know of anyone WITHOUT some pre-existing condition that puts them in some “risk pool”? Everyone I know has something in or on them that’s not running at 100%, often from birth. And these “pools” will only grow larger and deeper as genetic profiling becomes commonplace. Jesus H. Christ, even Iron Man has a bum ticker! Me? Among the various hitches and annoyances, some carried since childhood, I particularly suffer from incurable ISS (Incorrigible Sarcasm Syndrome).

    But I digest, it’s lunch time!

    Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 10:05 am | Permalink
  12. ed alexander wrote:

    He was residing in the Chicago area at the time. This goes back at least 30 years.

    Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

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  1. Political Irony › How to Replace Obamacare on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at 12:30 am

    […] I still think Donald Trump could have a big win by replacing Obamacare with single-payer health insurance, but I’d be happy if the GOP would just make a bunch of improvements to the ACA and call it Trumpcare. […]