Politics of the public option vs single payer


Now, getting back to the thinking pattern of a lot of progressives in the Winter and Spring quarters of 2009, we can see that they decided that a social reality in which Medicare for All was feasible by the Summer or Fall of 2009 would never occur, and as a result of that prediction, they decided not to advocate for it anymore in this round of reform, but to advocate, in just as determined a way, for Public Option-based legislation, because they thought that it was the best that progressives could possibly hope for in the short run, and, many of them, thought, it might lead to single-payer over 5 – 10 years anyway. They set about creating, in other words, a social reality of reform with a robust PO.

They may well have been right about their prediction of the fate of Medicare for All, but I think they made a mistake when they concluded, further, that just because Medicare for All was unlikely to happen in the short run, they ought to give up pushing for it, and instead concentrate their political activity on pushing for a “robust” PO. I think this because, in deciding to take Medicare for All off the table, and working for a PO instead, they have brought forth a world in which the robust PO that was their pre-compromise position proved hard to communicate, became the left wing of the political spectrum of recognized possibilities, and the focus of attacks from the insurance industry, and so gave way in the legislative/lobbying process to what is likely to be at best a reform with a very, very weak PO, or even a “trigger,” that they must really bite their tongues to continue to support.

By committing to tactics of explicit advocacy of a robust PO, aimed at bringing about legislation, they set themselves on a path where the judgment that they needed as robust a PO as possible, always implied continued explicit advocacy of a robust PO at every stage of the legislative/lobbying process, regardless of the degree of defeat suffered at the preceding stage. When the most liberal House and Senate committees came out with disappointing bills that were quite far from the original idea of a robust PO, and had a completely unacceptable band-aid period, during which the majority of the deaths, bankruptcies, and foreclosures due to lack of health insurance would continue, they believed that they had to react with support of the best of those bills, because they offered the best available PO on the continuum of robustness. When the committees merged their bills, and even though the result fell far short of their original pre-compromise, there was nothing to do, they thought, but support and redouble efforts to prevent further erosion in the PO.


i think progressives and rest of citizenry need to declare political war on a Congress (and Prez) that sold us out to the corporations one more time.

re the “robust” option, progressive Congress people promised to vote ONLY for a robust bill. And Kucinich and Massa were the ONLY two who kept that promise. so are public option progressives all right with that? they are the ones who should be railing and rallying to fight for universal health care especially, having just been so profoundly betrayed!

S703 is coming up for a vote. so everyone IGNORES it because it is still not feasible and pragmatic re the bottom feeding corporate puppets? I say we put up a fight!!! I say it is time to share our outrage and rally the citizens, but at the very least, back up the universal health care people still fighting bravely, the single payer Medicare for All folks committing acts of civil disobedience, going to JAIL to help America get universal health care and not feed the profit coffers of the corporations.

Let us take it to the mattresses. I am calling the Senate nightly to vote yes for Sanders’ S703!!!! I am also talking up this bill to the non-choir people in my social network for whom so much of this has been under the wire. Who trust that our new President and our Democrats regard the citizens as their constituency, and not the corporations as those watching more closely truly grasp.


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