Will any Democratic candidates run on single-payer in 2016?

posted at 6:21 pm on December 16, 2013 by Allahpundit

A good question from Philip Klein. Bernie Sanders will challenge Hillary from the left if no one else does, but he’s no threat. Will any serious Democrats run on single-payer in 2016?

Maybe.

Single-payer advocates had argued that it would have been much more efficient if government simply paid for everybody’s health care instead of mandating people purchase private insurance and then funneling hundreds of billions of dollars in federal subsidies to the insurers. They have been emboldened by the ongoing troubles of Obamacare…

If Obamacare is still a political problem when the primary debates begin in 2015, Democratic presidential candidates will find themselves at a crossroads.

They could either dig in and defend the law as is. They could attempt to blunt attacks from Republicans by introducing some modest changes to Obamacare. Or they could embrace an even more expansive role for government in response to criticism from the left.

Coincidentally, the Weekly Standard’s new interview with Democratic populist and former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer contains this tidbit:

He criticizes Obamacare from the left, blaming fellow Montanan Max Baucus (the chairman of the Senate committee responsible for drafting much of the law) for allowing special interests to influence the bill. “This bill, which was written by the insurance company and pharmaceutical lobbyists, doesn’t challenge the expenses,” Schweitzer tells me. “Why would it? If you’re in the business, and you get to write the bill, what are you going to do?”

His own national health care reform would “fit on the back of an envelope.” Explaining the whole thing takes him half an hour. (“Am I boring you yet?” he asks around minute 25.) At the center of his proposal is allowing citizens below the retirement age to enroll in Medicare, forcing private insurers to compete against the government rate.

“As you probably recall .  .  . most Democrats were calling for a public option. .  .  . But what came out of the Senate Finance Committee did not have a public option,” Schweitzer says, blaming health insurance lobbyists and their enablers in both parties. “We now have the corporate party and the corporate-lite party.”

Is there still an appetite among Democrats for single-payer or, as a half-measure, the public option? Go back to Gallup’s most recent poll on O-Care, which I blogged here 10 days ago. Gallup asked people if they want to see the law repealed, scaled back, kept as is, or expanded in mid-October, two weeks after Healthcare.gov had launched, and early December, after the website had crawled along for two months. Note the trend among Democrats — and independents:

g2

In seven disastrous weeks, “expand” went from being the choice of fewer than a quarter of Democrats to the plurality favorite among them. Among independents, “expand” was the only option whose support increased from mid-October to December. And this happened while most of lefty media was in circle-the-wagons mode on O-Care, insisting that the program would work like a charm over time. What would happen if someone like Schweitzer got traction on the left and started pounding the table about a public option? Would millennials, having soured on O, ignore him, or would they revert to their left-wing leanings from 2008 and conclude that the real problem with big government in this case is that it’s not big enough? The worse things go for ObamaCare next year, the more liberals will abandon it as a political albatross that’s weighing them down and an ideological sellout that empowered insurance companies above consumers. They’re not protecting the program now because they want to. They’re doing it because they have to, to spare Obama, Reid, and Pelosi a searing humiliation. Once we’re past the midterms and 2016 campaigning begins in earnest, that calculus will change.

I think lefties will produce a progressive candidate who runs on “Medicare for all” even if they think he or she is a sure loser in the primary. Putting this issue front and center does two things for them: One, obviously, it puts pressure on Hillary to tack left on “fixing” ObamaCare, which means a public option at a minimum, and two, more importantly, it might help drag the Overton window back towards the center as O-Care struggles. Right now the only game in town politically for people who dislike the program is repeal courtesy of the GOP; if Democrats wait too long to push a more statist alternative, the debate could shift from “what should we do to repair the law?” to “which parts of the law should Obama agree to get rid of?”. It’s shifting that way right now, frankly. Getting 40 percent of the country onboard for the public option or single-payer could paralyze the argument over “solutions” to the point where the GOP would likely reduce its demands, which at least would protect O-Care. Even if only as a rhetorical device, they could argue that a Republican nominee in 2016 who opposes “Medicare for all” can’t be trusted to protect Medicare as it stands. I think all of this is a tough argument for lefties to make, needless to say, since the obvious lesson from President Bumblefark’s O-Care screw-ups isn’t “let’s give the government even more power.” But if ObamaCare proceeds as we all expect, it’ll be a lot easier than arguing that we should just leave the law alone.

Exit question: Has the government already taken over health care? Read this before you answer.


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Medicaid???

More like MEDI-WONDERFUL!!!!!

Get Covered Haters!!!!

BigWyo on December 16, 2013 at 6:23 PM

There are going to be plenty who will continue to run to the left of Obamacare and insist that this is a progressive leaning nation – not one that is center right.

They will tout Britain, Germany, France, and even Canada as the preferred models – even as Britain’s NHS staggers under inefficiency, soaring costs, neglect, and a rising death toll each of these problems bring.

At worst, they will bring forth that standard canard from the progressive left – that the problem isn’t the agenda or vision, but in its implementation…

Athos on December 16, 2013 at 6:29 PM

The real question is are there any viable candidates on the dem side that wouldn’t run on single-payer. They all want to.

trigon on December 16, 2013 at 6:31 PM

Exit question: Has the government already taken over health care? Read this before you answer.

From the NY Post:

“In a blow to President Obama’s signature legislative mandate, a Brooklyn federal judge on Monday sided with several Catholic organizations in New York, saying they do not have to comply with an Affordable Care Act requirement to provide employees with contraceptive coverage.

Citing religious freedom grounds, the organizations filed the lawsuit last year seeking protection from the Obamacare directive.
In the first permanent ruling on the hot-button issue, US District Court Judge Brian Cogan said the religious groups should not be forced to comply with the birth control component of Obamacare.

The plaintiffs benefitting from the permanent injunction are Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx, Monsignor Farrell High School on Staten Island, the ArchCare healthcare group and Catholic Health Services of Long Island.

The Archdioceses of Rockville Centre and New York, which are also plaintiffs to the suit, are already exempt from the contraceptive care requirement as religious institutions. The law takes effect Jan. 1…”

http://weaselzippers.us/

workingclass artist on December 16, 2013 at 6:32 PM

At the center of his proposal is allowing citizens below the retirement age to enroll in Medicare, forcing private insurers to compete against the government rate.

The problem here, among many, is that everyone will have to pay for Medicare and not just its recipients. So those that choose private insurance will have to lay twice.

Charlemagne on December 16, 2013 at 6:33 PM

Whatcha gon’ do when,

B I D E N M A N I A,

runs wild on you?

Robert_Paulson on December 16, 2013 at 6:35 PM

“The controversial Obamacare component has sparked a flurry of lawsuits from religious employers seeeking relief from the birth control mandate.

US District Court Judge Brian Cogan ruled the plaintiffs “demonstrated that the mandate, despite accommodation, compels them to perform acts that are contrary to their religion. And there can be no doubt that the coercive pressure here is substantial.”

“They consider this to be an endorsement of such coverage; to them, the self-certification compels affirmation of a repugnant belief,” Cogan wrote. “It is not for this Court to say otherwise.”

He also suggested that employees could be provided with contraception through alternate government programs without the involvement of their religious employer….”

http://nypost.com/2013/12/16/religious-groups-get-court-win-vs-ocare-birth-control-mandate/

workingclass artist on December 16, 2013 at 6:35 PM

The Butcher of Benghazi certainly has her own take on healthcare.

Murphy9 on December 16, 2013 at 6:37 PM

I won’t oppose a public option if it’s truly an option and I can not only opt out of it but if I don’t also have to pay for it. I’m sick of being forced into their socialist schemes.

If the Leftists want a public option, do they know what the word means, then let them pay for it.

Charlemagne on December 16, 2013 at 6:40 PM

The worse things go for ObamaCare next year, the more liberals will abandon it as a political albatross that’s weighing them down and an ideological sellout that empowered insurance companies above consumers.

…which was the original game plan. The idea was to let consumers anger at their rising medical costs slowly build over 2013-14, and then run in 2016 on single-payer.

It was only the incompetence and hubris of those in charge of ObamaCare who scuttled the schedule, by making the website and other connections to heathcare.gov so slow, inept and unfixable that instead of the anger slowly being directed at the insurance companies, it was quickly directed at the government.

That’s going to be where the GOP is going to have to keep reminding voters over the next three years that nationalized health care still brings with it the same sort of government competence healthcare.gov is showing now. The Democrats will again argue the hypothetical that the more government control, the lower insurance prices will be, but the Republicans have to try and make them defend government control as being more competent than privately-run insurance. Even the young voters will have a hard time swallowing that one, based just the past 2 1/2 months.

jon1979 on December 16, 2013 at 6:42 PM

If they move to Medicare for all, which I think they will, what happens to Medicaid? There would be no reason for 2 programs, but Medicaid covers a great deal that Medicare does not. What a mess. They have destroyed the healthcare industry.

bopbottle on December 16, 2013 at 6:46 PM

Leftists despise NSA privacy intrusions, yet they want that same government to have everything to do with their healthcare delivery. They want to bestow the government with the power to decide how long they live, but hey – lay off that Facebook info. Such is the inanity of our political opposition. I guess their desire for free $hit outweighs the sensitivity of their most personal data.

For the broader electorate, I don’t see how the NSA, AP, IRS, & ACA debacles don’t create a compelling case for government emergency reduction surgery for a GOP candidate.

crrr6 on December 16, 2013 at 6:50 PM

What a mess. They have destroyed the healthcare industry.

Mission Accomplished!
-The Saudi’s Boy

Murphy9 on December 16, 2013 at 6:51 PM

A good question from Philip Klein. Bernie Sanders will challenge Hillary from the left if no one else does, but he’s no threat. Will any serious Democrats run on single-payer in 2016?
======================================

Maybe’s the LiV won’t notice the Liberal lies!!

canopfor on December 16, 2013 at 6:52 PM

Hillary will run against it and do it anyway in her second term….GOP wants it.

d1carter on December 16, 2013 at 6:52 PM

I won’t oppose a public option

Ok….

if it’s truly an option and I can not only opt out of it but if I don’t also have to pay for it. I’m sick of being forced into their socialist schemes.

If the Leftists want a public option, do they know what the word means, then let them pay for it.

Charlemagne on December 16, 2013 at 6:40 PM

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! I’m still waiting for my public option out of public school taxes, social security and Medicare – it ain’t coming, ever.

crrr6 on December 16, 2013 at 6:56 PM

They’ll also be confiscating your estate after you die to pay for your medical bills.

SailorMark on December 16, 2013 at 7:06 PM

Whatever Hillary runs on, there will be plenty of people here saying that her opponent is a RINO… Whomever it is.

V7_Sport on December 16, 2013 at 7:11 PM

That Face…

Key West Reader on December 16, 2013 at 7:18 PM

Whatever Hillary runs on, there will be plenty of people here saying that her opponent is a RINO… Whomever it is.

V7_Sport on December 16, 2013 at 7:11 PM

Let me guess, you think Dole, McCain and Rommey are rock-ribbed Conservatives. But back to your statement. If the French Republicans hand us another RINO to run against the Socialist, YES SIR!, we will call him a RINO.

Alabama Infidel on December 16, 2013 at 7:25 PM

No question someone will run on single payer, maybe even Hillary (even if she has no intention of trying to pass it). The left still has a lot if the country fooled: plenty of voters actually think Medicare for all is nirvana (especially the press), and will loudly say so over and over until we are sick of hearing it, and voters are still wobbly on the idea that government screws everything up, always and inevitably. There are enough voters who won’t believe their lying eyes and will listen to a candidate that tries to persuade them that the only problem with ZeroCare is that it didn’t go far enough. Look at David Brooks.

So Hillary will almost certainly run on single payer, to triangulate against her own left and to prevent a costly primary challenge. She’s not good with primary challenges.

MTF on December 16, 2013 at 7:29 PM

just a few random thoughts…

1) Medicare is responsible for much of the high cost of medical care (a lot of over-capacity in the system because somebody said they would pick up the tab but then realized they forgot their wallet).

2) Check out the UK NHS sometime. It works just fine if you don’t need it. And it will give you and opportunity to learn a new language because your doctor will not speak yours (you will get used to the bone in his nose).

3) Back to Medicare…anybody that has elderly parents can tell you that the “supplemental” (Gap) policies they buy cost much more than what they pay for Medicare. Without them they are at the mercy of the death panels and/or simply suffer.

teejk on December 16, 2013 at 7:33 PM

single payer would be better than O-care. O-care is already essentially socialized medicine, like medicare, except it’s worse because the health insurance industry skim their cut off the top making the burden on the taxpayers that much more onerous. At least with single-payer, you don’t have to pay off the middleman. Why keep the insurance companies in the loop at all if what they are writing are not insurance policies, but entitlements? What value do they add?

keep the change on December 16, 2013 at 7:44 PM

Single payer would be a complete mess if they decide to implement it. I’m kind of apathetic to it anymore. Everyone in my generation thinks it’s “free” which it’s not and believes that it’s the best option. Of course, the majority of us are young and healthy for the most part.

In any case, we have way too many people and not enough physicians. I say let the doctors become federal employes, especially if they vote for the democratic candidate. But go ahead America, vote in single payer. We have it so easy with same-day appointments here in this country. Let’s wait until you cannot be seen for weeks or months.

mrscullen on December 16, 2013 at 7:52 PM

I should add, all they would need to do is get the Pope to talk about how NOT having universal health care is not Christ like. I’m sure he would be more than happy to help!

mrscullen on December 16, 2013 at 7:54 PM

If the Gallup December numbers are applied to a hypothetical left-leaning electorate consisting of 40% Democrats, 35% Republicans, and 25% Independents, we would get 20.5% wanting to “expand” Obamacare, 17.5% wanting to leave it alone, 19.8% wanting to “scale back”, and 33.5% wanting to repeal it entirely.

Note that all the lines in Gallup’s poll add up to less than 100, so there are some people who didn’t have an opinion on what should be done to Obamacare.

But “expand” plus “leave alone” only add up to 38%, while “scale back” plus “repeal” add up to a majority of 53%. If the “employer mandate” is allowed to take effect in late 2014, the “repeal” and “scale back” numbers are bound to increase, and if Republicans take the Senate in 2014, they will probably push for a return to the pre-2010 status quo, or a conservative market-oriented approach, including health insurance purchases across state lines and tort reform. If people find their health-insurance situation better in 2016 than now or 2014, a “single-payer” candidate would be a sure loser in the 2016 election.

Steve Z on December 16, 2013 at 7:59 PM

we really need to stop the ‘medicare for all’ meme. Medicare only pays for 80 percent, then private insurance for the other 20.

the left wants Medicaid for all…everything ‘paid’ for by uncle sugar. Or not, based on how much is left over after the graft, cronyism and theft of the money along the way

r keller on December 16, 2013 at 8:01 PM

P.S.: If/when Hillary runs in 2016, she would not be in favor of a single-payer health insurance system. She already tried it in 1993, and it led to Republicans taking over the House in 1994, so she would not make that mistake twice, especially if faced with a hostile Congress.

Steve Z on December 16, 2013 at 8:04 PM

With the more likely the failure of the ACA the more likely single payer is. Why wouldn’t enterprising democrats run on it in 2016? We are already a fully transformed socialist nation. Just ask big government liberal progressives like Paul Ryan and John Boehner.

paulsur on December 16, 2013 at 8:11 PM

P.S.: If/when Hillary runs in 2016, she would not be in favor of a single-payer health insurance system. She already tried it in 1993, and it led to Republicans taking over the House in 1994, so she would not make that mistake twice, especially if faced with a hostile Congress.

Steve Z on December 16, 2013 at 8:04 PM

yeah but now we have republicans like John Boehner, and Mitch McConnell, they would likely team up with Hilary.

paulsur on December 16, 2013 at 8:13 PM

They all will.

They will tout it as the only way to fix the widely publicized problems with 0bamasurance (I refuse to call it 0bamaCare, there is no care involved).

And the lefties and the same ‘moderates’ that thought they were going to get free or cheap insurance from 0bama, will eat it up with a spoon.

You think that just because one program didn’t work the way people thought it would, that the moochers ain’t gonna want to mooch anymore?

LegendHasIt on December 16, 2013 at 8:23 PM

single payer would be better than O-care. O-care is already essentially socialized medicine, like medicare, except it’s worse because the health insurance industry skim their cut off the top making the burden on the taxpayers that much more onerous. At least with single-payer, you don’t have to pay off the middleman. Why keep the insurance companies in the loop at all if what they are writing are not insurance policies, but entitlements? What value do they add?

keep the change on December 16, 2013 at 7:44 PM

No middleman with single payer? WTH do you think the bureaucracy is?

Charlemagne on December 16, 2013 at 8:27 PM

How often does Hot Air say it would be a smart move for prominent Republicans to push the Overton window to the right?

David Blue on December 17, 2013 at 6:13 AM

it would have been much more efficient if government simply paid for everybody’s health care

I am so sick of this meme. The “government” doesn’t pay for ANYTHING! The government produces NOTHING! Why can’t people speak the truth? Government doesn’t pay–the people pay!

NOMOBO on December 17, 2013 at 10:08 AM