December 23, 2014 by Tony Novak
I published a short article “Where are we on single-payer health care?” without including any citations or references because of the context and intended use. Here are a few sources that I’ve used along with my notes:
The Wikipedia article is a good stating point: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single-payer_health_care
Forbes has some harshly worded recent coverage:
and 2011 coverage of the issue:
Back in 1916 and 1917, health insurance was expected to be “the next great step in social legislation,” but it did not happen. Americans do not understand how close the country came to having universal health insurance nine decades ago or why it failed.
American progressives before World War I had seen the U.S. advancing with Europe toward a gentler industrial democracy. The war ended that vision and Europe lost credibility. When the Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression brought progressives back into power, FDR still had to play down any European or socialist influences no matter how benign on his programs.
the New Deal’s “social security” program in 1935. London had died tragically in 1926, but his allies from New York politics and social reform efforts backed the New Deal. FDR however dropped health insurance from the social security package at the last minute fearing that the American Medical Association would torpedo it if health insurance was included. Later efforts by Presidents Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, and Bill Clinton to pass universal health insurance came up short. Johnson came the closest, passing Medicare and Medicaid legislation because he made it a priority and had a stronger majority in Congress than Truman or Clinton.
There is the possibility of a large majority in Congress for comprehensive health insurance and a president committed to such a program tailored to “American conditions.” The question is whether attacks on “socialized medicine” and the reluctance Americans have long had to linking themselves to the experience of Europe still carry the weight they have carried for the past 90 years. The same arguments will be made, but it could be that the timing is right now.
Take a look at the biggest-ticket items in the federal budget: Almost all, outside of spending on defense and veterans, are premised on at least an element of wealth-spreading. In Social Security, as the Congressional Budget Office has calculated, retirees who earned less get back a greater share of what they put into the system than higher-earning retirees; the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides extra help for low-income elderly or disabled. That’s wealth-spreading. Ditto Medicaid, the shared federal-state program to provide health care to the poor; unemployment insurance; the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, for children whose families earn too much to qualify for Medicaid; food stamps; and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the modern welfare program. Medicare, because of a sensible change adopted under the Bush administration, requires better-off seniors to pay higher premiums; it provides extra subsidies for low-income beneficiaries to pay for prescription drugs. The bulk of federal spending on education goes to students in disadvantaged schools (Title I for kindergarten through 12th grade) and to help lower- and middle-income students pay for college (Pell Grants). Most pointedly, since it mirrors the refundable credit that Mr. Obama proposes, the earned-income tax credit — which Mr. McCain described in 1999 as a “much-needed tax credit for working Americans” — provides extra income to the working poor.
State of the Union Speech 1/27/10
it is precisely to relieve the burden on middle-class families that we still need health insurance reform.
we extended or increased unemployment benefits for more than 18 million Americans; made health insurance 65% cheaper for families who get their coverage through COBRA