Single Payer Health Care: The Time Has Come

May 11, 2017
By Molly Rush

Federal and state legislation on Single Payer Health Care has been introduced annually for over ten years. It has not been on the public radar and has been largely ignored by most politicians.

Given the political power of the health industry to block any single payer “Medicare for All” bill, backed up by the myth that it wouldn’t work: [“look at Canada”], politicians succeeded for many years in keeping it off the table.

But the times, they are a-changing.

First Bernie Sanders’ campaign for single payer drew wide popular support. “It is clear that it is the only solution.”

This year, public furor over the atrocious Ryan-Trump bill sunk it without even a vote in the Congress. After much talk of “repeal and replace,” moving on from Obamacare is turning out to be more difficult than Republicans thought. Barack Obama’s first choice had been single-payer, but he thought, perhaps rightly, that the country wasn’t ready for it.

But the growing cost of insurance and prescriptions, with high deductibles and co-payments, have fueled the frustration and anger over ‘profits before people’ policies.

The idea that everyone has a right to good health care is now widely seen as just plain common sense.

Consider what two very conservative prominent columnists had to say:

GEORGE WILL suggests that America’s health care reality means that not only is Obamacare “unrepealable,” but that we are on the way to a single-payer system.

“Barack Obama said as a candidate that he would prefer a single payer but couldn’t get there. As President when they were going through the Obamacare agonies, he said look upon [it] as a starter home…the essence of Obamacare is the expansion of Medicaid.

“Who has benefited from that? Probably, disproportionately, white working class males. Trump voters.

“It’s about time that Conservatives come to the realization that those who benefit most from the progressive policies enacted by Progressives are people in the Red states. Ironically, if Trump, Ryan and their Republican cohort were successful in…instituting their draconian health care policies, their constituents would bear the brunt of the pain.”



“Obamacare may turn out to be unworkable, indeed doomed, but it is having a profound effect on the zeitgeist: it is universalizing the idea of universal coverage. Acceptance of its major premise—that no one be denied health care—is more widespread than ever. Even House Speaker Paul Ryan avers that ‘our goal is to give every American access to quality, affordable health care.’

“A broad national consensus is developing that health care is indeed a right. This is historically new. And it carries immense implications for the future. It suggests that we may be heading inexorably to a government-run, single payer system…

“As Obamacare continues to unravel, it won’t take much for Democrats to abandon that Rube Goldberg wreckage and go for the simplicity and universality of Medicare-for-all…Republicans will have one last chance to try to convince the country to remain with a market-based system…

“Don’t be surprised, however, if, in the end, single-payer wins out…It wouldn’t be terribly surprising if Donald Trump…pulls the greatest 180 since Disraeli dished the Whigs in 1867….and joins the single-payer side…That would be an American Krakatoa.”



And what about Trump? I know you have to take his word with a cup of salt, but he did say, and it’s been reported, that “Single-payer works fine in Scotland.” And when he met with the Australian Prime Minister he told him that “Your system works better than ours.”



FEDERAL:  H.R. 676 Single-Payer Medicare-for-All, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives 1/24/17.

Over seventy Representatives support the bill, including Pennsylvania Reps. Robert A. Brady PA-01, Matthew Cartwright PA-17, Michael F. Doyle PA-14, and Dwight Evans PA-02. Let them know you support them.


  • CONTACT your representatives and urge them to support HR676.
  • Speak up at town meetings.
  • Write letters to the editor.
  • Share on social media.
  • Talk to your neighbors and friends, many of whom have medical needs and/or lack decent coverage.
  • Check out  [Physicians for a National Health Program]



Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio is prime sponsor in the PA House of Representatives. Her phone # 215-482-8726

HealthCare4AllPA is a statewide organization that works for single payer health care. The Western PA group meets on the third Monday at 6:30-8:00 pm at the Squirrel Hill Library, Forbes & Murray.

Molly Rush is a TMC board member and member of the NewPeople Editorial Collective.


Categories: Health, Healthcare, News

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