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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Simplify the Health Care Debate -- Pass a Single Payer Bill

Category: Single Payer Health
Posted: 06/25/09 00:26

by Dave Mindeman

I have difficulty understanding the arguments being used in the current health care debate...and remember this debate is about a weak "government" option rather than single payer.

Private insurers have complained about the costly bureacracy that would, they say, inevitably happen with a government run system. Even though their own administrative costs rocket upwards of 17 to 20%. Medicare's costs, which is government operated, runs about 3%.

Now, the private insurers are concerned about competing with a government insurance option because it would run them out of business. In theory because costs would be low and coverages broadened. Afraid of the competition?

The Chamber of Commerce is complaining that a public option will force mandates on employers and penalize them with some "mysterious" fine that so far has no basis in fact. And how these mandates can be forced on employers when a public option is available is also quite mysterious.

Republicans complain that the public doesn't want government run health care....even though a recent poll claims that 72% of the American public say the opposite.

Democrats seem to be afraid of their own shadows; because they are worried about a government run option even though they hold majorities in both Houses to pass it and have a President who is eager to sign it.

And still.....nobody is dealing with real, honest to goodness, single payer health care. What we have been debating is a weak ghost of the real thing....a usurper that claims to have all the same advantages, yet it adds too many of the old private insurance problems.

Single payer would be a complete change from what we have now. It apparently worries the people who profit from the status quo. And it should, because it can fix the burdensome problems that are dragging down the budgets and the economy.

It is the solution that requires leadership and courage to bring it out of the shadows. The people are ready -- but the leadership and courage is in short supply.
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Forget Public Option -- The Right Direction is Single Payer

Category: Single Payer Health
Posted: 06/16/09 05:43

by Dave Mindeman

It is really disappointing to see the Obama administration fall all over themselves to avoid even the appearance of approving a single payer health plan.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made that clear via NPR:

"This is not a trick. This is not single-payer," Sebelius told Steve Inskeep. She added: "That's not what anyone is talking about ? mostly because the president feels strongly, as I do, that dismantling private health coverage for the 180 million Americans that have it, discouraging more employers from coming into the marketplace, is really the bad, you know, is a bad direction to go."

The bad direction to go is a patchwork of health plans and options that leads to more of the same. And that is where we are going.

The statistics and analysis continue to prove single payer is the best health care option. For cost savings it is single payer. For consistent standards of care it is single payer. For benefits to employers and small business it is single payer. For job transitions and retirement it is single payer. For simplicity, it is single payer.

Yet, the administration will only allow for a public "option". And, even with that, they are so sensitive to the "governement run" critique that Sebelius and other spokespersons go out of their way to make assurances that their plan is NOT a government plan.

Then it will be a problem. It will be complex. And it will probably fail to achieve its main objective.... stop spiraling costs.

The only glimmer of hope I see in the Obama Health plan is that the government option, in whatever form it takes, will serve as a basis for advancement to single payer in the future.

But it is only a glimmer.
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Public Opinion Keeps Moving Toward Single Payer & Gay Rights

Category: Single Payer Health
Posted: 02/16/09 19:13, Edited: 02/16/09 19:13

by Dave Mindeman

Polls can often depend on how you ask the question, but they often give solid clues to trends...especially over time.

CBS did a recent poll which compared public opinion now as compared to 1979...30 years ago. Some things are the same but some things have changed drastically.

Here is a few of the most interesting parts:


Here is the question. Do you think homosexual relations between consenting adults is wrong?

In 1979, 62% thought it was wrong.
In 2009, 54% though it was NOT wrong.

That is a near complete reversal.

Premarital Sex.

This is especially interesting when comparing the question on homosexuality to the question on premarital sex.

In 1979, 56% thought premarital sex was NOT wrong.
In 2009, 60% thought premarital sex was NOT wrong.

So our feelings on premarital sex remain virtually unchanged while our thought process on homosexuality has reversed.

News Gathering.

In 1979, newspapers were the preferred news source at 42% followed closely by television at 41%. In 2009, 60% preferred television while newspapers dropped to 14%! The internet (which didn't really exist in 1979) was virtually tied with newspapers at 13%. The precipitous drop for newspapers shows why chapter 13 is more prevalent than chapter stories.

Health Insurance.

But here is the feature item of the day. In 1979, the question was asked about government insurance vs. private insurance. Here are the results:

Prefer Private Enterprise Insurance.......................48%
Prefer Government Insurance (full).......................28%
Prefer Government Insurance (Emergency Only).....12%

Now, let's look at the same question in 2009:

Prefer Private Enterprise Insurance....................... 32%
Prefer Government Insurance (full).......................49%
Prefer Government Insurance (Emergency Only)......10%

I think that reversal is amazing. During that 30 year period we have had several attempts at private insurance reform and a number of health care task forces. And although private insurers have spent million, even billions, in lobby efforts, the trend toward single payer has continued to grow.

Single payer advocates need to forge ahead, even in the face of the deep pockets of their adversaries.

Single payer's time is now.
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