Debate: Transitioning to a Single Payer Healthcare System

Debate: Transitioning to a Single Payer Healthcare System

Sonali Kolhatkar with Michael Lighty and Joshua Holland on Rising Up with Sonali.

NOTE: With the wave of articles by ‘progressives’ coming out against National Improved Medicare for All, I hope this will be the first of many debates. This debate was lacking in 2009 when single payer was taboo.

It is interesting to note that Holland’s main objections to National Improved Medicare for All are:

  1. Pushing National Improved Medicare for All will divide the Democrats because they will be forced to show whether they are progressive or not.
  2. Fear that it will fail because of ‘risk aversion’ by people who like their health insurance (do they exist?), opposition from doctors and/or attacks by opponents.
  3. Not winnable, so the movement has to compromise from the start. This was used widely in 2009. Every negotiator will tell you not to begin from a position of compromise.

Please read my response to Joshua Holland here.

We must stay strong in our resolve to win because there will be many attempts to weaken us by either those who serve the interests of the industries that profiteer off the current system or those who are plainly partisan or dis-empowered by fear.

This movement for National Improved Medicare for All is winning. That’s why these attempts to undermine us are occurring. For more information and resources to counter incrementalism, visit this living document at “Divide and Conquer through Incrementalism.” Contact us at info@healthoverprofit.org if you want to contribute to it or want to see something answered that isn’t on it.   – Margaret Flowers

Soon after the GOP lost its last bid to repeal the Affordable Care Act, two Democratic House members, John Conyers and Ro Khanna challenged Representatives to sign on to a pledge supporting a transition to a Single Payer, or Medicare-for-All system. Conyers introduced a bill in January for Single Payer healthcare that has drawn backing from 115 representatives so far.

But some progressives and liberals are cautioning against jumping on the Single Payer bandwagon. Joshua Holland wrote an article in The Nation headlined, “Medicare-for-All Isn’t the Solution for Universal Health Care,” where he warns against a backlash to Single Payer and suggests there are reformist approaches that might work better. A few days later Paul Krugman declared in the New York Times, “there are more important priorities,” and asked, “Is this really where progressives want to spend their political capital?”

Advocates of Single Payer have hit back. Michael Lighty of the National Nurses United responded in Commondreams.org, “In the name of political reality, some liberal pundits, politicians and policy wonks are scolding progressives to give up on Medicare for All. They are dead wrong.”

Joshua Holland, contributor to The Nation and a fellow at the Nation Institute. He’s also the host of Politics and Reality Radio and Michael Lighty, Director of Public Policy for National Nurses United.

Leave a Reply