Will Obamacare lead to single-payer?

Markos Moulitsas argues it will:

Had Republicans embraced their Heritage-devised plan, worked with Democrats to best shape it in their mold, then accepted this market-based approach in bipartisan fashion, Obamacare’s numbers would look much better. And if overwhelming majorities approved of the plan, any hope of future progress on the issue would be dead in the water. Republicans might not have their ideal (i.e. screw the uninsured), but their CEO buddies would still be living large and they’d still be able to boast of a market-based solution in line with their political ideology.

But with approval of the law still in iffy territory, liberals have room to agitate for further improvements without having to tackle an entrenched and deeply popular law. And with Republicans refusing to allow even minor technical fixes to the law to improve its efficacy, their continued undermining of the law makes it just as easy in the longer term for liberals to push for bigger and broader chances.

There’s a lot taken for granted in these two short paragraphs.  But Markos is absolutely right that by failing to embrace the ACA and do everything in their power to make it work, Republicans have left liberals with the political space to argue in favor of single payer.  Any failure in any part of the ACA provides space to argue for single payer – Republican governors reject Medicaid?  They wouldn’t need to if every American were covered by Medicare for all.  Insurance companies still find ways to cancel policies?  That wouldn’t be an issue if we had  a single payer system.

Here’s my pushback to Markos’ argument: Republicans shut down the government to defund the ACA.  They’ll crash the world economy to prevent single-payer.  More problematically, however, is that the ACA will work well enough that Dems won’t want to take on that bruising political battle again.  We need a Democratic majority in Congress to make the technical adjustments any large law requires, to make the ACA work then to introduce a public option.  At that point, my instincts tell me market forces will end up driving us to single-payer.

  1. #1 by Larry Bergan on April 12, 2014 - 8:01 am

    Will Obamacare lead to single payer?

    Not in my lifetime!

    See Ya sometime. 🙁

    • #2 by Glenden Brown on April 12, 2014 - 9:36 am

      Larry – My sense is that there’s a shift taking place politically. Republicans are increasingly unable to argue that the law is an outright failure but they don’t have any replacement policies that pass the laugh test so they’re increasingyl being forced to just oppose healthcare policy in general. I don’t know that we’ll see single payer but I think we’ll see evolution towards it.

    • #3 by Glenden Brown on April 12, 2014 - 9:44 am

      Larry if you haven’t, you should read this editorial:

      The Republican position — that the law can’t work by definition – is essentially an admission that Republicans simply don’t support doing what Obamacare sets out to do: Expand coverage to the number of people the law hopes to cover, through a combination of increased government oversight over the health system and — yep — spending money. The GOP focus on only those being negatively impacted by the law, and the aggressive hyping of cancellations into “millions” of full blown “horror stories” – combined with the steadfast refusal to acknowledge the very existence of the law’s beneficiaries — is, at bottom, just another way to fudge the actual GOP position: Flat out opposition to doing what it takes to expand health care to lots and lots of people.

  2. #4 by Larry Bergan on April 12, 2014 - 8:20 am

    I don’t want to be a downer, and if I die today, I will have lived a very charmed life at 61, but I work with people who will never have the future I thought I had.

    Not even close!

    Unless something like this happens:

  3. #5 by Larry Bergan on April 12, 2014 - 10:31 am

    Maybe I’m naive, but unless we stop flushing trillions and trillions of dollars down the Military-Industrial-Complex that Eisenhower warned us against, the old, young, poor, middle class, poster-carrying, urchants will never survive.

    • #6 by Glenden Brown on April 12, 2014 - 10:45 am

      Larry – it is the choice between empire and democracy.

  4. #8 by Larry Bergan on April 12, 2014 - 11:02 am

    That guy on the wood blocks didn’t miss a beat in the Stevens video. He was on a mission.

  5. #9 by Larry Bergan on April 12, 2014 - 1:05 pm

    Probably my favorite song ever:

    Hard to tell, because I love a whole lot of songs.

    • #10 by brewski on April 12, 2014 - 4:44 pm

      Not sure how a man who made such beautiful song maker could turn into a pro-murder Yusuf Islam.

      • #11 by cav on April 12, 2014 - 7:33 pm

        Come on brew’- put down the pipe.

  6. #12 by brewski on April 12, 2014 - 4:37 pm

    Mr. Moulitsas is ignoring several important points:
    1. The American public did not support ACA when it was passed
    2. The American public do not support ACA now
    3. ACA is an a giant corporate giveaway as evidenced by the surge in healthcare companies’ stock prices the day it was passed and since then
    4. The GOP won landslide elections in 2010 as a reaction against ACA
    5. “Embracing” a bad law that most people don’t want is nonsensical
    6. Americans don’t support a single payer system
    7. This isn’t just about Democrats and Republicans. This is about an actual law which most actual people don’t want.

    • #13 by Richard Warnick on April 12, 2014 - 5:12 pm

      You could add that Dems are still running away from the ACA even in this year’s elections. It’s because of this:

      I wonder what they would say if asked about Medicare (aka single-payer)? Next to Social Security, it’s the most popular government program ever. In poll after poll, Americans DO support a single-payer system.

  7. #14 by Larry Bergan on April 12, 2014 - 5:53 pm

    We are a mal-informed nation of people who think that voting on machines produced by corporations count their votes.


    Ya think?

  8. #15 by Larry Bergan on April 12, 2014 - 6:05 pm

    I’m sorry, but I met Markos Moulitsas face to face and asked him what he thought about the corporate voting machines.

    He didn’t laugh in my face, but he later laughed in the face of the gathering he attended when asked again.

    I don’t respect the man. He is either computer illiterate, or a shill.

  9. #16 by Larry Bergan on April 12, 2014 - 6:10 pm

    It doesn’t matter if they spend a hundred trillion dollars on ads; It only matters if our votes count.

    The FACT is that we don’t know whether they are or aren’t being counted on the machines.

    We know for sure that numerous other methods are being used to steal liberal votes. It’s right out in the open!

  10. #17 by Larry Bergan on April 12, 2014 - 6:32 pm

    Amended version:

  11. #18 by Larry Bergan on April 12, 2014 - 6:45 pm

    Yusuf Islam later realized the internet was a good thing. You must respect a man who can change.

  12. #20 by Larry Bergan on April 12, 2014 - 9:19 pm


    I saw that concert. They had to sneak Cat and his son in, because they were on a terrorist list. It was a great show!

    The right wing is going CRAZY because David Letterman is being replaced by Stephen Colbert. We’ll soon see if they actually have the guts to do that.


    They’re putting an actual liberal on the air at 11:30! This can’t be happening! I thought Tom Snyder was dead!

    • #21 by brewski on April 12, 2014 - 11:13 pm

      Why would so-called right wingers give a hoot about David Letterman or Colbert. Who cares?

      You spend too much time watching TV.

      • #22 by Richard Warnick on April 13, 2014 - 10:55 am

        I sure don’t know why, other than the fact that right-wingers tend to freak out about anything at any time.

        Rush Limbaugh Freaks Out About Stephen Colbert Getting ‘Late Show’

        “CBS has just declared war on the heartland of America,” Limbaugh fumed. “No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values, conservatism. Now it’s just wide out in the open…”

        • #23 by brewski on April 14, 2014 - 4:00 am

          Who cares what Rush or anyone else says? I don’t ever listen to him so I don’t know why you do.

          • #24 by Larry Bergan on April 14, 2014 - 8:06 pm


            NOBODY listens to Limbaugh! Why is he still on our public airwaves?

            You know the answer to that; he’s corporate friendly to a fault.

          • #25 by brewski on April 14, 2014 - 9:28 pm

            Richard seems to be his biggest listener.

          • #26 by Richard Warnick on April 14, 2014 - 9:52 pm

            Our friend brewski asked a question, and I tried to answer it. I rely on Media Matters and others to listen to right-wing media so I don’t have to.

          • #27 by Larry Bergan on April 14, 2014 - 10:15 pm

            David Brock must be making a fortune!

            Liberal media is the place to be if you want to lubricate your wallet by begging for money from people who don’t have it.

          • #28 by Larry Bergan on April 14, 2014 - 10:22 pm

            Maybe brewski can name ONE liberal program on public radio.

            NPR doesn’t count, because it is truly fair and balanced. In my opinion, they shouldn’t let people on who lie, but that’s just me.

          • #29 by brewski on April 14, 2014 - 11:15 pm

            Bob Garfield host of On the Media is pretty looney lefty. He lies all the time.

          • #30 by Larry Bergan on April 16, 2014 - 6:37 pm

            So you don’t listen to Rush Limbaugh or anybody else or watch television, but you DO listen to Bob Garfield. 🙂

            The reason NPR hosts seem “liberal” is because they aren’t nuts and have a sense of humor. I guess NPR feels like they have an obligation to put people like that on, since a bunch of their funding comes from people instead of corporations.

            If they could get rid of funding from the McDonalds founders widow and a Koch bro, I would feel more comfortable. We might even be able to eliminate the agenda-driven wealthy-wannabe lapdogs that are legion on the medium.

  13. #31 by cav on April 13, 2014 - 12:32 pm

    We get to choose where we get our news:

    Dancin’ Dave Greagory and Ann Coulture,


    Steven Colbert and Jon Stewart.

    Yea, yea, that just disqualifies me from the ‘serious’ league. Whatevah.

  14. #32 by Larry Bergan on April 13, 2014 - 7:16 pm

    Dancin’ Dave Greagory.

    Yeah cav, that was quite a spectacle. A Cecil B. DeMille spectacle. Great cinematography, fabulous costumes, fantastic pageantry, sets, groundbreaking special effects, breathtaking actors and actresses…

    Absolutely horrible direction!


    Silly as Karl Rove in a break dance.

    • #33 by Richard Warnick on April 13, 2014 - 7:55 pm

      The David Gregory reference needs a video clip.

  15. #34 by Larry Bergan on April 13, 2014 - 8:57 pm


    I never saw the whole thing before.

    Thanks, I guess.

    I wonder if they told Tim Russert he would have to do that to keep his job. Maybe that’s why he decided to die.

  16. #36 by Anonymous on May 22, 2014 - 11:13 pm

    Absolutely..the obamacare plan was conceived to fail, take out the private insurers in the process.

    Obamacare is what is known as a Poison Pill.

  17. #37 by cav on May 23, 2014 - 7:12 am

    Kill me nao!!!!

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