Colin Powell pitches single-payer health care in U.S.

By Alex Lazar fro ABC News

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell has waded into the health care debate with a broad endorsement of the kind of universal health plan found in Europe, Canada and South Korea.

“I am not an expert in health care, or Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, or however you choose to describe it, but I do know this: I have benefited from that kind of universal health care in my 55 years of public life,” Powell said, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal, last week at an annual “survivors celebration breakfast” in Seattle for those who, like Powell, have battled prostate cancer. “And I don’t see why we can’t do what Europe is doing, what Canada is doing, what Korea is doing, what all these other places are doing.”

Europe, Canada and Korea all have a “single-payer” system, in which the government pays for the costs of health care.

Some Democrats who strongly advocated for, and failed to get, a single-payer system in the 2010 Affordable Care Act, still believe the current law doesn’t go far enough to reform the US health system.

A retired four-star general and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Powell told the audience about a woman named Anne, who as his firewood supplier, faced a healthcare scare of her own. Anne asked Powell to help pay for her healthcare bills, as her insurance didn’t cover an MRI she needed as a prerequisite to being treated for a growth in her brain. In addition, Powell’s wife Alma recently suffered from three aneurysms and an artery blockage. ”After these two events, of Alma and Anne, I’ve been thinking, why is it like this?” said Powell.

“We are a wealthy enough country with the capacity to make sure that every one of our fellow citizens has access to quality health care,” Powell. “(Let’s show) the rest of the world what our democratic system is all about and how we take care of all of our citizens.”

Powell, who has taken heat from Republicans for twice endorsing President Obama’s election and reelection bids, said he hopes universal healthcare can one day become a reality in the U.S. ”I think universal health care is one of the things we should really be focused on, and I hope that will happen,” said Powell. ”Whether it’s Obamacare, or son of Obamacare, I don’t care. As long as we get it done.”


  1. Bonnie Boggs on December 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    you said it all. We want Single Payer Health Care.

  2. Elias Forin on December 12, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    It is impossible that this will not be here some day, so why not bend to the will of the people, and then possibly we will be able to be proud of the life that we lead in these United States. For the only thing that I know where we are Number One is in prison population. When can these stupid people stop voting for these vicious politicians who are too busy collecting money from the insurance lobby and are doing so much harm to our fellow neighbors, I am sure one day we will have it so WHY NOT NOW!!!!

  3. clyde winter on December 12, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    The answer to “WHY NOT NOW?” is almost precisely the same as the answer to the questions, “why not in 2010?” or “why not twenty years ago?”, or “why not 48 years ago?”. Indeed, “why not a century ago?”, when Teddy Roosevelt of the Progressive/Bull Moose Party campaigned for the presidency on a platform plainly endorsing comprehensive socialized, health care FOR ALL Americans by expanding and extending the existing hospital and health care system that had been established half a century earlier for military personnel and veterans. (Officials of neither the Republic Party nor the Democratic Party at that time were any more willing to adopt that platform plank a hundred years ago than are willing to embrace it today, despite the fact that virtually the entire so-called “developed” world today has adopted that Bull Moose Party platform plank as national policy and practice.)

    The answer to the question “WHY NOT IN THE USA?” is that we the people have not yet become sufficiently informed and organized and unwavering enough to overcome the increasing and now almost total control of both permitted major political parties and all branches of what should be our state and federal governments by corporations, the super-rich, and their associations.

    As bad and ominous as the health care crisis has become in the USA, with almost complete control and administration now in the hands of profit-seeking mega-corporations, this crisis is merely one of the symptoms, one of the clues, of what the future holds for the people and for life on this planet, if the people fail to establish and then defend democracy and government that is truly of, by, and for the people.

    The struggle will get more difficult and more desperate, the longer that we wait to do what needs to be done.

    If socialized medicine is good enough for our active duty troops and their families – indeed, if it’s good enough for our Presidents and our Supreme Court Justices and their families – then it’s damn sure good enough for all the rest of us.

    • Dave Cox on December 19, 2013 at 8:54 pm

      Thank you Clyde for a well stated answer as to “why”. We can only keep hoping that more and more citizens will wake up and see the logic of a little socialism in certain areas like health, education and military service.

  4. kitty60 on December 12, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Something not mentioned is the fact that we already spend enough on healthcare here in America that we could and should have the best Single Pay healthcare system in the world.

    We should remember that it was people like the Rockefellers that made healthcare so expensive in the first place by buying the Medical Colleges out and closing over half of them. There is NO reason education should all but bankrupt anyone.

    • Philippe de Sablet on December 12, 2013 at 6:58 pm

      kitty60 says:
      December 12, 2013 at 5:15 pm

      “We should remember that it was people like the Rockefellers that made healthcare so expensive in the first place by buying the Medical Colleges out and closing over half of them. There is NO reason education should all but bankrupt anyone.”

      Interesting. Could you give more details on this?

  5. Anna Galvin on December 12, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    If single-payer Medicare for All was there for the taking in 2009 as many liberals lament, the President would have done so. The health insurance goons axed it. They aren’t going to allow the gravy train of 31 cents on every premium dollar disappear. How EVER will they gamble on Wall St without our premium dollars?! They’ll keep up this ruse for as long as they can get away with it….til the American people finally see they’re being ripped off and demand single-payer, not-for-profit Medicare for All. Alternatively, Medicare for All could evolve into being when the insurance cartels can’t make enough off of us anymore due to the ACA’s ‘new rules’, and get out of the business. This isn’t going to happen overnight, but either way, it WILL happen. It’s almost time for this cash cow to go to the slaughterhouse, and we can all help it along by supporting Medicare for All….. because Medicare is not the problem-it’s the solution. And the added bonus is that it will save us $400 billion/year!

    • clyde winter on December 14, 2013 at 2:18 am

      Lots of luck waiting for the insurance cartel to go out of business due to not being able to make enough money due to the “new rules” of the ACA. Those new rules (including, of course, the rule that everyone who is not already insured, and from now on, will be required – with a taxpayer supplied subsidy, if necessary – to purchase a health care policy from them) were written by the health insurance cartel (with a little help, of course, from their very tight corporate friends).

      I’m afraid that the people’s only solution is to get smart, get organized, and win and defend government that is of, by, and for the people, rather than government that is by and for the corporations and the super-rich. We cannot wait for the corporations to fail on their own while we just stand aside and watch.

  6. Vets890 on December 14, 2013 at 11:37 am

    I took a trip to England several years back and saw firsthand how a government run healthcare system can and does work. The hospital I visited in southern England did not have crazy lines, unclean hallways and doctors who were incompetent or unlicensed. What I observed first hand is a system with clean facilities, highly educated doctors, and a strong administrative staff who were committed to providing quality government healthcare to all of its citizens who walk through their doors. So this notion that such cannot be completed in America is a load of nonsense. It is a simple tactic by the rich in America to sustain their wealth by keeping their companies afloat for as long as they can while they use Congress as their game pieces and abuse the middleclass in the process. I sense there will be a national healthcare system in place but it will take some time for us to get there due to the serious propaganda that has been pushed upon Americans against it. We already have the infrastructure in place for this type of system in place. It is called the VA Medical Centers across this nation. They have the land and can simply add additional buildings, staff and hire all those private doctors into the system to handle the needs of the American public with a few strokes of a pen.