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Dems’ Single-Payer Push Demonstrates Lunge to the Left

Once forced to defend Obamacare from charges of a “government takeover” of health care, some Democrats are advocating for just that in 2017.

As Republicans continue their efforts to rework the American health care system, some Democrats have voiced their frustrations with Obamacare and are indicating they support a government-run health care system.

[The] liberal base, emboldened by Senator Bernie Sanders’s forceful advocacy of government-backed health care last year, is increasingly unsatisfied with the Affordable Care Act and is demanding more drastic changes to the private health insurance system.

In a sign of shifting sympathies, most House Democrats have now endorsed a single-payer proposal. Party strategists say they expect that the 2020 presidential nominee will embrace a broader version of public health coverage than any Democratic standard-bearer has in decades.

This comes about six years after Democrats, in a strict party-line vote, passed Obamacare and defended the law against criticisms that it amounted to a government takeover of the American health care system.

A New York Times story published Monday noted, however, that Democrats find themselves in the minority in the House and Senate and do not have control of the White House, making any single-payer health care option nearly impossible to pass.

At this point, state and federal single-payer proposals appear mainly to embody the sweeping ambitions of a frustrated party, rather than to map a clear way forward on policy. A handful of legislators in Democratic states — some positioning themselves to run for higher office — have proposed single-payer bills, including in New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Only in California does the legislation appear to have at least a modest chance of being approved this year.

Even there, State Senator Ricardo Lara, an author of the bill, said his legislation would not clear the State Assembly without detailing how expanded coverage would be financed. The proposal currently lacks a complete funding plan.

Still, with Democrats lunging further to the left on health care, the liberal wing of the party will almost certainly require their party’s standard bearer to include single-payer in his or her platform for the presidency in 2020.