Bernie Sanders: My single-payer plan will solve Obamacare's problems

Socialist Bernie Sanders, who differs from most national Democrats primarily in that he is more honest about his desire to remake the country, sees the crisis facing Obamacare as a big opportunity to push for single-payer. Yesterday he published a statement on his website in reaction to Aetna pulling back from Obamacare:

It is disappointing that Aetna has joined other large for-profit health insurance companies in pulling out of the insurance marketplace. Despite the Affordable Care Act bringing them millions more paying customers than ever before, these companies are more concerned with making huge profits than ensuring access to health care for all Americans.

As always with Sanders, everything is an attack on “huge profits.” He doesn’t bother to mention that none of these companies are making huge profits, at least not on the Obamacare segment of their business. On the contrary, after three years of heavy losses, with no end in sight, they are finally giving up. Sanders continues:

In my view, the provision of health care cannot continue to be dependent upon the whims and market projections of large private insurance companies whose only goal is to make as much profit as possible.

Before continuing with Sanders, let’s note that this sentence could turn America into Venezuela given enough time. Take this sentence and substitute anything you like for “health care.” For instance:

  • In my view, the provision of gasoline cannot continue to be dependent upon the whims and market projections of large private energy companies whose only goal is to make as much profit as possible.
  • In my view, the provision of housing cannot continue to be dependent upon the whims and market projections of large private realty companies whose only goal is to make as much profit as possible.
  • In my view, the provision of bread cannot continue to be dependent upon the whims and market projections of large private food companies whose only goal is to make as much profit as possible.

Are any of those more or less sensible than what Sanders is promoting? Once you establish “huge profits” as the enemy you can pretty much turn that argument against every industry in turn.

That is why we need to join every other major country on earth and guarantee health care to all as a right, not a privilege. That is also why we need to pass a Medicare-for-all single-payer system. I will reintroduce legislation to do that in the next session of Congress, hopefully as part of the Democratic Senate majority.

Democrats always hoped Obamacare could be the starting point that shifted the country toward single-payer. Obamacare’s problems are just allowing them to accelerate their timeline. As Rahm Emmanuel once said, you never want a serious crisis to go to waste.