The left’s plan for sin­gle-payer health care

For Hil­lary and the Democrats, Oba­macare is only the first step

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Mon­ica Crow­ley

If you loathe Oba­macare, you’re go­ing to hate what the Democrats have planned next. Their im­mi­nent as­sault on health care will go far be­yond the quasi-so­cial­ized medicine of Oba­macare.

While Hil­lary Clin­ton ex­pressed sat­is­fac­tion with the Supreme Court’s re­cent de­ci­sion in King v. Bur­well, which up­held fed­eral sub­si­dies in states that did not es­tab­lish their own ex­changes, she must have been dis­ap­pointed that she didn’t have the de­ci­sion to her­self. Her ma­jor pri­mary op­po­nent, Sen. Bernie San­ders, a Demo­cratic-So­cial­ist, has long been in front of her on full-blown so­cial­ized medicine, gen­er­ally known as sin­gle payer.

For the left, the King v. Bur­well de­ci­sion is a pre­lude to to­tal fed­eral con­trol of the health care sys­tem. For­get in­sur­ance. They want com­plete gov­ern­ment con­trol — the Bri­tish Na­tional Health Ser­vice on steroids.

Mr. San­ders is play­ing the sin­gle-payer card, and Mrs. Clin­ton is play­ing catch-up.

Mrs. Clin­ton is, of course, the grand­mother of so­cial­ized medicine. She was push­ing for it more than 20 years ago, when Mr. San­ders was an ob­scure lo­cal Ver­mont pol. And yet, she’s strug­gling match Mr. San­ders on the is­sue.

An­other irony: A sin­gle­payer sys­tem was tried — and went down in spec­tac­u­lar flames — in Mr. San­ders’ home state. That, of course, is im­ma­te­rial to com­mit­ted left­ists, for whom ide­o­log­i­cal pu­rity and war­fare are every­thing.

Since the pas­sage of Oba­macare, the left has very ef­fec­tively moved the goal­posts so far to the ex­treme that sin­gle payer will no longer seem like a rad­i­cal ap­proach but the log­i­cal so­lu­tion to fix­ing the pro­gram’s prob­lems. Mrs. Clin­ton will ar­gue that sin­gle payer is the ob­vi­ous next step, a fait ac­com­pli.

Con­sider: Oba­macare is cur­rently be­ing smoth­ered by a raft of ex­is­ten­tial prob­lems: ev­er­higher pre­mi­ums, dis­ap­pear­ing sub­si­dies, the col­lapse of Oba­macare co-ops, fewer en­rollees, ris­ing loss ra­tios. The pro­gram is en­ter­ing the long-an­tic­i­pated and feared “death spiral.”

That, of course, was the endgame all along. The Oba­macare ar­chi­tects rigged the sys­tem to im­plode so they could ride to the res­cue with sin­gle payer.

That was al­ways the left­ists’ ideal vi­sion. In 2003, thenIlli­nois state Sen. Barack Obama laid out his deep­est health care wish: “I hap­pen to be a pro­po­nent of a sin­gle-payer uni­ver­sal health care pro­gram … . But as all of you know, we may not get there im­me­di­ately. Be­cause first we have to take back the White House, we have to take back the Sen­ate, and we have to take back the House.”

The left­ists’ am­bi­tions laid bare. But Democrats fac­ing re­elec­tion in 2010 and 2012 did not want to have to vote for a highly un­pop­u­lar sin­gle-payer sys­tem, so they pur­sued an eas­ier po­lit­i­cal path.

They de­signed a health care scheme that was as close to sin­gle payer as was po­lit­i­cally pos­si­ble and stacked the deck so sin­gle payer would be the in­evitable re­sult.

A pa­rade of left­ists then broad­casted that in­ten­tion. When Oba­macare was passed in its fi­nal form in March 2010, Sen. Tom Harkin said, “I think of this bill as a starter home. It’s not the man­sion of our dreams, but it has a solid foundation.” He added, “By pass­ing this leg­is­la­tion, we will achieve a pro­gres­sive prize that has eluded Con­gresses and pres­i­dents go­ing back to Teddy Roo­sevelt.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi chimed in, “Once we kick through this door, there’ll be more leg­is­la­tion to fol­low.” Mr. Obama him­self told then-Rep. Den­nis Kucinich, “We’ve gotta start some­where.”

This is why they pur­pose­fully built col­lapse into the pro­gram: They want em­ploy­ers to drop pri­vate cov­er­age and have ev­er­more Amer­i­cans pushed into Oba­macare.

They will next ar­gue that we tried the mar­ket ap­proach, but gosh golly, it just didn’t work, so we’re go­ing to have to do the full so­cial­ized medicine monty.

The night of the King v. Bur­well de­ci­sion, Mrs. Clin­ton re­leased a fundrais­ing email, in­di­cat­ing that she was ready to go far to the left, and de­stroy the GOP as vil­lains.

“This rul­ing is … a re­minder that while progress never comes easy, if we keep work­ing, keep push­ing, and never, ever give up, any­thing is pos­si­ble,” she wrote.

“Add your name if you agree that ac­cess to health care is a ba­sic hu­man right.

“De­spite two clear rul­ings by the high­est court in the land, Repub­li­cans run­ning for pres­i­dent still want to take ba­sic health se­cu­rity away from mil­lions of Amer­i­cans …” she con­tin­ued.

“The next pres­i­dent will either pro­tect and ex­pand health care for ev­ery Amer­i­can, or undo the progress we’ve made.”

Note her lan­guage: “keep push­ing,” “ba­sic hu­man right,” “pro­tect and ex­pand health care for ev­ery Amer­i­can.” This is code for mov­ing Oba­macare quickly and seam­lessly into a sin­gle-payer sys­tem — un­der the guise of “im­prov­ing health care for all.”

The real rea­son is to fi­nal­ize the crit­i­cal cor­ner­stone of what Mr. Obama in 2008 called the “fun­da­men­tal trans­for­ma­tion of the na­tion.” Af­ter all, if the gov­ern­ment con­trols your health care, the gov­ern­ment con­trols you.

Mis­sion (soon to be) ac­com­plished. Mon­ica Crow­ley is on­line opin­ion editor at The Wash­ing­ton Times.

ILLUSTRATION BY ALEXAN­DER HUNTER/THE WASH­ING­TON TIMES

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