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Single-payer healthcare vs. Obamacare

“Medicare for all” isn’t perfect, but it does what the ACA can’t: Guarantee better healthcare and a simpler system

From Salon

Whenever scandal arises in Washington, D.C., the fight between the two parties typically ends up being a competition to identify a concise message in the chaos — or, as scientists might say, a signal in all the noise. This week confirms that truism, as glitches plagued the new Obamacare website and as insurance companies canceled policies for many customers on the individual market.

Amid the subsequent noise of congressional debate and cable TV outrage, Republicans argued that the signal is about government — more specifically, they claim the controversies validate their age-old assertions that government can’t do anything right. Democrats countered that the signal in the noise is about universal healthcare — Obamacare is a big undertaking, they argue, and so there will be bumps in the road as the program works to provide better health services to all Americans.

This back and forth is creating an even more confusing cacophony — and further obscuring the signal that neither the two parties nor their health industry financiers want to discuss. That signal is about the need for single-payer healthcare, otherwise known as Medicare for all.

One way to detect this signal is to consider the White House guest list.

In trying to show that he was successfully managing the Obamacare rollout, the president last week staged a high-profile White House meeting with private health insurance executives — aka Obamacare’s middlemen. The spectacle of a president begging these middlemen for help was a reminder that Obamacare did not limit the power of the insurance companies as a single-payer system would. The new law instead cemented the industry’s profit-extracting role in the larger health system — and it still leaves millions without insurance.

The second way to see this single-payer signal is to behold the Obamacare-related congressional hearings. During the proceedings, you’ve been hearing a lot about the insurance enrollment website that the government is paying millions to insurer UnitedHealth Group to build. But you’re not hearing much about actual health care. That’s because the insurance industry wrote the Affordable Care Act, meaning the new statute’s top priority isn’t delivering health services. Obamacare is primarily about getting the insurance industry more customers and government contracts, whether or not that actually improves health services.

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Comments

One Response to “Single-payer healthcare vs. Obamacare”
  1. Tony Vera says:

    The cost advantages of a single-payer healthcare system need to be explained in plain simple arithmetic, pointing out the economics of removing the profit motive from healthcare. Michael Moore’s Sicko documentary did it to some degree, but the single-payer message needs to be repeated as often as the Obamacare scam is pushed as the imperfect solution to universal access to health care.