HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

New Single Payer Organization: What will they accept if single payer isn't on the table?

Ezra Klein points out the new health reform coalition named, "The Leadership Conference for Guaranteed Health Care." He describes the new group as follows: 

Another week, another health care coalition. But this one isn't like most of the others. It's not a Washington project. It's not playing an inside game. Rather, The Leadership Conference for Guaranteed Health Care advocates for a "single payer national health program [that] would eliminate the wasteful role played by private health insurance companies." The coalition includes the National Nurses Organizing Committee/ California Nurses Association, Healthcare NOW!, Physicians for a National Health Care Program, Progressive Democrats of America, All Unions Committee for Single Payer H.R. 676, and the California School Employees Association. . . .

My sense of the single payer movement, having watched and interacted with them for some time, is that they think, not necessarily wrongly, that their enemies are on the left. Their targets tend not to be those blocking reform, but those promoting the wrong type of reform. . . . .  It's a sincere disagreement, and there's a compelling strategy to the approach: Single payer can't become the consensus choice for the country if it doesn't first become the consensus on the left.

But what if it doesn't? At the end of the day, some form of incrementalism is likely to advance in Congress. Does the Conference then campaign against the bill the Administration eventually champions? . . .  Or is there a set of policies that single-payer advocates want to see inserted into hybrid legislation and could stomach supporting even if the final legislation stops short of full single-payer?

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