During the healthcare debate in 2009 many progressives fought their hearts out for a single-payer healthcare system. They argued for at least a public option. This would have prevented an unnecessary for-profit insurance system from gouging Americans sans strict regulations. Ultimately both failed to materialize in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
Many saw the failure of both the public option and single payer healthcare as a defeat. In fact, a large percentage of those who are against Obamacare oppose it because it did not include these options. In other words, they opposed it because it did not go far enough.
Obamacare is the pathway to single-payer health care
A few months ago I stated that progressives should not worry too much. They need to be patient. I explained that Obamacare was simply a framework that would morph in my post “Obamacare: First Step To Eliminating Immorality That Is Health Insurance” where I said the following.
Obamacare gets rid of the immoral parts of health insurance. The practices of recissions, denied coverage for pre-existing conditions, and caps will be gone. Many new preventative screenings had to be part of every plan without copays. 80% or more of premiums must go towards actual healthcare.
There are several health insurance companies. Each one must have its own CEO, CFO, Board, advertising, shareholders, buildings, and staff. The cost of duplicating all these expenses is the reason why up to 33% of every insurance premium goes into someone’s pocket instead of into healthcare. We are asked to unlearn basic arithmetic in order to accept that the above system could somehow be less expensive or more efficient than a system where we all pay a premium to a single entity and that one entity pays the medical bill for those who get sick (no advertising, multiple CEO, CFO, Board, shareholder expenses, etc.).
During the Affordable Care Act debate there was a public option that would have simulated the latter. Lobbying summarily got it removed because had it made it into the Act, over a short period of time, arithmetic would prevail as the public option would be less expensive for any given plan. It would then turn Obamacare into a single payer system by attrition.
There are several different pathways to reach the same goal. It is however important that the paths are built. Obamacare is the path built with pebbles and stones. It is better than the mud path of years past. As riders demand a smoother path they won’t yearn for the mud path again but for a paved road. Americans will not go back after tasting healthcare/health insurance as a right with all the benefits mentioned above. Exchanges will become single payer entities as health insurancecompanies are unable to demand the profits they want. Eventually exchanges will morph into Medicare for all.
The genius of Obamacare is not that it solved the problem in its entirety. The genius is that it made reverting to an immoral system untenable.
Lo and behold when browsing the New York Times this morning I ran across the article titled .“Envisioning the End of Employer-Provided Health Plans.” The author said the following.
By 2020, about 90 percent of American workers who now receive health insurance through their employers will be shifted to government exchanges created by the health law, according to a projection by S&P Capital IQ, a research firm serving the financial industry. …
In truth, the American system of health care — in which most people get their private health insurance through their employer — has always been rather odd. Why should quitting a job also mean you have to get a new health insurance plan? Why should your boss get to decide what options you have and negotiate the cost of them? Employers don’t get to select our auto insurance or mortgage company, so why should health insurance be any different?
The articles are well worth reading. The sanity of a single payer healthcare system detached from the employer is coming. Corporate selfish interests will make the process messy. However it is necessary, more efficient, and less expensive.