Tuesday, September 12, 2017


I won't get agreement on this from most of my readers, or even in my own household, but I think Bill Scher has a point:
The Democratic Party now is, for all intents and purposes, the party of single-payer health insurance.

Big mistake.

... As any single-payer devotee will eagerly tell you, a July Quinnipiac poll found 51 percent of voters support such a system. When characterized as “Medicare for All,” a June Kaiser Health Tracking poll registered support at 57 percent. In the current era of polarized politics, where centrist voters are increasingly elusive, single-player would certainly energize progressive voters and could help Democrats woo back some economic populist Trump voters.

... [But] the topline numbers don’t ensure that support can withstand attack. Kaiser’s poll analysts concluded: “the public’s attitudes on single-payer are quite malleable, and some people could be convinced to change their position after hearing typical pro and con arguments.”

For example, upon hearing the startling news that single-payer might “give the government too much control over health care” support plummets to 40 percent. The revelation that the plan would “require many Americans to pay more in taxes” did the same. Maybe, just maybe, a Republican will give these talking points a try.
Maybe, just maybe, the health insurance industry -- which single payer would destroy -- will fight like a cornered rat, using these arguments to drastically diminish public support for single payer. The entire GOP will fight. The right-wing media will fight. They'll be able to tap into Americans' massive distrust of government (even the ones who live on Social Security and receive Medicare). They'll rail against the necessary taxes, an argument that will resonate, even though the taxes will be substitute for premiums, and there'll be a real benefit in return.

I'm not saying that this an impossible fight. I'm saying that fighting it will bloody the Democrats the way fighting for the Clinton and Obama health care plans bloodied the Democrats. It will bloody the Democrats the way the failed "repeal and replace" bloodied Republicans.

James Carville sees this as a law of politics:
I find that there`s a kind of a political rollout that is almost absolute. To move on health care is to lose. Whoever tries to change what exists - politically, I'm talking about politically - loses....
On health care, I'd like to sneak up on single payer in a way that voters won't find disruptive. I like the approach of Connecticut senator Chris Murphy: Let people of all ages, as well as businesses, buy into Medicare. I think this would be better received than a single payer plan that will poll well until heartland voters see the price tag, a moment that could either defeat the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee or, if that person wins in 2020, lead to a congressional wipeout for the Democrats in 2022 similar to the ones in 1994 and 2010.

There, I said it. Now I'll just duck the incoming.

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