The Restive Single Payer Tribe

By Ed Kilgore
Washington Monthly, Political Animal, October 21, 2013

But if I were in the White House, I’d keep an eye on one issue they might not have thought much about in quite some time: the revival of progressive hostility to Obamacare on grounds that the law reflected a “sell-out” of the obvious single-payer solution to the problems of the health care system.

I’m not going to relitigate the whole single-payer-versus-managed-competition debate that’s been going on for decades, or even the argument that a managed competition model requires a “public option” to function properly. But whatever else it is, a single-payer system is a whole lot simpler and more predictable than anything that not only accepts but insists upon a publicly regulated and subsidized private health insurance marketplace.

Single-payer fans (or those strongly favoring a public option in a hybrid system) are never going to have much in common with conservatives who don’t believe in universal access to affordable health care and want to disable or repeal the public programs we already have. But if the one thing they do have in common — disdain for the messy hydraulics of any hybrid system — becomes the center of attention and stays there, watch out!

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute.…

It is fair to say that Ed Kilgore represents the views of neoliberals who have taken control of the Democratic Party and moved it to the right: that is, he represents centrist views. What is striking about his message is that the intensive political attacks on Obamacare by the conservatives are assisting single payer advocates who are busy exposing its profound policy deficiencies. With their noise, and our reasoned policy prescriptions, middle America may be ready to move to single payer much sooner than expected.