Writes Nancy Folbre in today's New York Times Economix blog:
Rush Limbaugh’s take on the disastrous rollout of the Affordable Care Act could, ironically, warm the hearts of those at the other end of the political spectrum. He contends that President Obama knew all along that the Affordable Care Act would crash and burn, but pushed it through so that the conflagration would clear the way for single-payer health insurance.I sincerely doubt that any mythical Obamian eleven-dimensional chess tactics played into the backroom deals he forged with Big Pharma and Big Insurance, sweeping the public option right off the table. But if the latest right wing paranoia is having a positive effect, who am I to deny the prez his undeserved credit should the ACA prove to be naught but a noxious designer gateway drug to true Single Payer nirvana?
In his column today, Paul Krugman points to the relative success of the Obamacare rollout in California, home of Governor Moonbeam and a solid Democratic legislature. Krugman contends that this bodes well for the eventual success of the kludge nationally. But my response is more along the lines of Dr. Folbre's thinking:
If the botched rollout of the ACA proves anything, it's that public-private partnerships are deals made in free-market hell. Corporations whose motives are profits over people have shown that they can't be trusted with either our wallets or our well-being. Let the problems with a law that is essentially a mass giveaway to predatory private insurance be the death knell of neoliberalism.
But let us also rejoice that John Boehner is now the proud owner of an ACA policy himself. Kinda puts the kibosh on their whole government-is-the-problem canard, doesn't it? Even a few GOP governors appear to be tiring of their roles as Scrooges for refusing to cover their most vulnerable citizens under expanded Medicaid. The political reality is that even sadists have their limits when their own jobs are at stake.
And speaking of success stories -- what about Vermont? Having just announced plans to cover 100% of its citizens under true single payer by 2017, this is the real state to emulate. People will be green with envy when they look at the Green Mountain State and notice the plummeting medical costs and great service and democracy in action.
A website is the least of it. Because even had it worked perfectly from Day One, some 30 million people were still going to be left out of any coverage at all. And that is unacceptable.
Medicare for All would save $592 billion in the first year alone, as well as millions of lives. So what are we waiting for? Single payer, here we come!And, to clarify once again, the "Medicare for All" bill now mouldering in the House is not the same thing as Medicare As Usual without the age discrimination. It does away entirely with the whole for-profit wasteful way in which American health care is currently delivered. Unlike current Medicare, there are no co-pays and no premiums. Everything except elective cosmetic surgery will be covered.
Vermont, meanwhile, is leading the way in un-Americanism with the notion that health care is a right and not a privilege. Already, 91% of the state's population has health insurance, and none of its hospitals operates for profit. A true sense of community, and the idea that government's task is doing the greatest good for the greatest number.... multiply it by 50, and we might get ourselves a functioning democracy if we're not real careful.