Politics Obamacare Architect Flips on Single-Payer: 'The Time Has Come'

04:55  09 september  2017
04:55  09 september  2017 Source:   NBC News

Kamala Harris just announced her support for Medicare-for-All

  Kamala Harris just announced her support for Medicare-for-All Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) announced at a town hall on Wednesday night that she’ll be co-sponsoring Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-VT) upcoming single-payer health care bill. Talking to 700 people at a church in Oakland, California, Harris became the first Senate Democrat to publicly announce her support for Sanders’s legislation, which is expected to be released in mid-September.

Last week, Dallas Mavericks owner and rumored presidential hopeful Mark Cuban came out for single payer . And Cuban has the billions in the bank to make ballot access a slam dunk. “Since the media is all over the drive by the Republicans to replace or repair or revoke Obamacare , there is an obvious

It’s not a question of whether. It’s a question of when. With the accelerating collapse of Obamneycare, it’s only a matter of time . Single payer is on the way. But time matters for millions of Americans who are being squeezed by the Democrats defending Obamneycare and the Republicans cutting further

Image: House Holds Hearing On Nomination Of Max Baucus To Be Ambassador To China© WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 28: U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) testifies during his confirmation hearin... Image: House Holds Hearing On Nomination Of Max Baucus To Be Ambassador To China

WASHINGTON — In the summer of 2009, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. was asked if Max Baucus, the Democratic chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee who was taking the lead on health care reform at the time, was open to his ideas.

"To a single-payer idea? No. Not in a million years," Sanders replied to a C-SPAN interviewer.

It turns out the wait was much shorter.

"I just think the time has come," Baucus told NBC News Friday, after stunning healthcare observers earlier in the day by seemingly coming around on single-payer at a public forum. "Back in '09, we were not ready to address it. It would never have passed. Here we are nine years later, I think it's time to hopefully have a very serious good faith look at it."

Sanders single-payer bill poses dilemma for 2020 Dem hopefuls

  Sanders single-payer bill poses dilemma for 2020 Dem hopefuls Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I-Vt.)'s Medicare for all plan has become a key test for Democrats with 2020 presidential ambitions. Sanders, who energized liberals with his improbable run at the White House last year, is poised to introduce a long-awaited single-payer bill when Congress returns to Washington this month. The liberal icon insists it's not a litmus test for the Democrats, but he's actively seeking endorsements. Outside liberal groups are watching closely, with some hinging their own endorsements on a candidate's support for the Sanders health-care model. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.

As the health care debate proceeds, the thing that strikes me most is the complexity of our current system. Obamacare is clearly a compromise — suggested originally by the Heritage Foundation — that builds on our existing employer-based system and Medicaid.

Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan has settled a fraud investigation over the billing practices of Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects of Obamacare who was advising the state over its a now-abandoned single - payer plan.

Baucus' evolution reflects how quickly the once-fringe idea of government-funded health care is gaining traction inside the Democratic party.

On Wednesday Sanders, the issue's most vocal champion, will roll out a long-anticipated bill detailing his plan provide Medicare for All, as advocates prefer to call it.

Baucus, who left the Senate in 2014 to become ambassador to China, was instrumental in the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

But in the process, Baucus became a chief target of the left's ire when he refused to consider single-payer plans and oversaw the demise of the public option, which would have provided a government-run alternative to private health insurance.

"I started out by saying everything is on the table," Baucus recalled. "But I did make an exception and that was single-payer. I said, nope, we're not going to put single-payer on the table. Why? In my judgement, America was just not there ... It's branded as socialistic by too many people."

Warren dismisses Dem divisions as lawmakers rally around single-payer

  Warren dismisses Dem divisions as lawmakers rally around single-payer Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) dismissed conflict inside the Democratic Party on Friday in a new interview, noting that Democrats are rallying around health care and other issues. Warren told the editorial board of The Republican on Friday that the Democratic Party has found agreement on the idea that health care should be a guaranteed right for all citizens."One party in America said it was OK to roll back health care coverage for 25 million Americans and one party in America thinks that health care is a basic human right -- I'm ready to go on that one," she said Friday.

The Opinion Pages | Op-Ed Columnist. Republicans for Single - Payer Health Care . Child labor isn’t coming back, and the minimum wage, Social Security and Medicare aren’t going away. Add Obamacare to the list.

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Attitudes have shifted since then.

A majority of House Democrats have, for the first time, signed on to support Medicare for All. And in the past two weeks, Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. and Kamala Harris, D-Calif. — two potential 2020 presidential candidates — announced they would support Sanders' forthcoming bill.

On Wednesday, Baucus' fellow Montanan, moderate Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, who is facing a tough reelection bid next year, said it might be time to "take a solid look at" single-payer.

Baucus compared the issue's evolution to that of gay rights. "It's anathema for a long time, and then suddenly — acceptance," he said.

"I think we'll end up with some kind of single-pay," Baucus added, cautioning that it could take years, and stopping short of fully endorsing the idea himself. "It could help reduce costs and also have better outcomes."

But the policy challenges are enormous, as Sanders' own state of Vermont learned when it scrapped its single-payer plan after the finances collapsed.

And the political hurdles may be just as great, with Democrats entirely out of power and Republicans eager to equate Medicare for All with socialism.

Before tackling single-payer, save Obamacare .
To get to universal coverage eventually, we must defeat the Graham-Cassidy plan now.Before supporters of universal health coverage get all wrapped up debating a single-payer system, they need to focus on a dire threat to the Affordable Care Act likely to come up for a vote in the Senate before the end of the month.

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