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Media Attacking Single-Payer Are Getting Paid Under Current Health System


Media Attacking Single-Payer Are Getting Paid Under Current Health System

Adam Johnson

With the first nomination contest only two days away, the corporate media reaction to Bernie Sanders’ surprisingly strong campaign, while not reaching Jeremy Corbyn-level hysteria, has reached a noticeable panic—one marked by let’s-not-upset-the-base qualified criticism and exquisitely curated concern-trolling.


Dear Bernie,
First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.
-Mahatma Gandhi


This is inaccurate framing:

"Seth Ackerman over at Jacobin wrote a good breakdown Monday of these attacks, detailing why the gatekeeper left media’s handwringing over Sanders’ single-payer proposal is disingenuous ideology-policing rather than an objective analysis based on the actual policy merits of the plan."

This is not:

"Almost all of the outlets Ackerman references as pushing back on single payer are owned by large media corporations with sizable investments in private healthcare and its current neoliberal iteration, the Affordable Care Act."

Naturally, the corporately owned media will favor the interests of corporations. Why then dignify this fraud by stating that it's the design of left media gatekeepers?

No one genuinely on the Left (or holding Progressive Views) supports forced-extortion to Insurance companies who act as the final arbiters in health CARE. THAT is a corporate position.

There are many who self-identify under a particular political brand; but I think this is mostly stealth. That way, as these "standard bearers" are quoted, they push the political spectrum to the pro-corporate right all the while insisting that THEY are "left leaning" or liberal or progressive.

I mean Liberal hawks? There was a time when ANY pro-military position wouldn't dare couple itself with the term Liberal.

Liberal Interventionists?

Language has been purposely mutated to accommodate nothing but a pro-business, pro-imperial war stance yet the illusion of choice is still attached to these insistent objectives. That way, when the public thinks it has a choice, the only possible outcome is a continuation of corporate war and plunder.


"Jeff Bezos’ skin in the health game is significant. The libertarian tech billionaire is a major backer of Juno Therapeutics; Quilance, a company that wants to take over the entire primary care space; and ZocDoc, which matches patients with doctors."

The outrages, horrors, and absurdities of our times often have me thinking IN comedy.

Imagine the advertisements for implementing the protocol mentioned in the quoted paragraph?

Picture the "E-Harmony" guy doing his fatherly best to match up patient with doctor. Wouldn't that make for a hilarious mock-up sketch on Saturday Night Live?

'He's got a ph.D. from Stanford and she's just a California housewife. Let's match Margaret Miller with Dr. Stan... what does our studio audience think?"

"Our second candidate in the Doctor-patient "match-game," is Siri Yevteshenko. He's a former Soviet dissident who obtained his doctorate at a university in Canada. What does our audience say... is THAT a match?"

"And to keep costs down... our third candidate Acmad Mohammed moonlights as a N.Y. cabbie to pay for his final medical studies. Could THAT make for a perfect match?"

"Let's tabulate the audience's votes... for the answer! and See what the computer program says. Will THAT make for a match?"


Clinton keeps telling us we can't afford to fund $16 trillion to cover the first decade of Bernie's Medicare-for-All.

According to US General Accounting Office Report GAO-11-696, page 131, by June 2011 Congress had committed $16 trillion of taxpayers' money to various bailout schemes that enrich the too-big-to-fail banks. Near as I can tell, that total taxpayer commitment increased to $26 trillion in 2015. Those banks controlled 25% of US bank assets in 2008. Today they control 44%, so the next crash will entail even larger taxpayer funded bailouts.

When Bernie breaks up the too-big-to-fail banks there will be more than enough dough to pay for Medicare-for-All, no tax increases needed.


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Very interesting article. I personally find it impossible to wrap my head around the sheer coup scale of the scores of trillions that have been spun into societal nooses by the financial industry, the tax evasion schemes and highest price at all costs.

The current ponzi cited above is, in the long term for all intents and purposes, enslavement and its punditry at the countless mouthpieces like Vox - the very name implying rare usage virtually always in tandem with populi- apparently intentionally absented from the self-identification of that media branch.

Also coming to mind is the caveat "You cannot taper a ponzi scheme". The existing health system is just that - a system. Its components, including the technological creativity, the integrity of practitioners remain, qualitatively speaking, autonomous actors, UNLESS a system by its design drives these under turgid prescriptions based not on science, societal well being and advancement of the science.

One need only look at academia since the 60s and department chairs bought by corporate actors to secure patent rights to BASIC RESEARCH. There are many examples like GMO research confronted with industry power to override independent study of profoundly altered organisms - and the fact that the industry shifts attention away from long term impact of precise genetic dynamic alterations - used to make those changes - and whether they remain genetically active and capable of cross specie transmission.(think rats developing tumors, etc)

Military methodology is being shoved down our throats with the brutal dismissal of governance and actual debate is forbidden, overridden, dismissed.

One last thought is that we are entering the 'real politic' stage of the electoral cycle. I tend to thin of 'real politic' as a politician's dog whistle for the introduction of highly manipulated brinksmanship. Rhetorical sling fests exquisitely timed to throw substance off the footing of actual discussion.

'Real Politic' is precisely the opposite of what it claims to be.It is the dog whistle to shut your mouth because brute force will now show lots of pretty well-timed pic on TV and do its damndest to crush governance and precautionary principle, and if you open your mouth, it will turn on you next.


I agree with your displeasure at the phrase "...detailing why the gatekeeper left media’s handwringing over Sanders’ single-payer proposal is disingenuous..." but I think Johnson means the gatekeepers' Democratic Party supported media because the author has chosen to equate liberalism with the corporate faction of the Democratic Party. The rest of his article seems to be spot on and that's why I will give Johnson a pass on his choice of words.


I like this article primarily because it sheds light again on HOW and WHY corporate media contribute to the corporate friendly propaganda. Though most Americans polled have indicated that they don't trust the MSM, they still too often repeat comments they have heard numerous times on MSM such as "Bernie is non-electable" or "That candidate is soft on foreign policy". If most Americans understood that every single corporate sponsor exerts influence on the media outlet they choose, it would go a long way to help the electorate connect the dots. Just the way a judge must recuse themselves from a trial if they have a personal connection to the plaintiff or defendant, the same policy should be applied to journalists. This is not the case though and in fact the opposite is the case... only if you're biased, can your comments be published.


"[P}ie-in-the-sky fantasy of the pragmatic incrementalism promised by Hillary Clinton": There. I fixed it with proper editing. If you think she will do this you ought to read Margaret Flower and Jill Stein's expose' on the huge penalties she planned to saddle anyone who could not would not cooperate with her health "care" plan. It appeared in Truthdig.com.


The country has been through discussions on single-payer health care before and various aspects of different systems in various countries have been discussed. I think the most troubling thing to people is the rationing of health care under some of these systems. What you have to do is look at these systems in detail and assess them. Right now we are in a stage of mindless discussion. People are throwing things out and there is no systematic analysis to inform the discussion. Since there as been so much backlash against Obamacare and the public option portion could not be passed and the main goal of the Republican Party seems to be to repeal Obamacare one would have to conclude the only reason that Sanders has proposed this is to score political points by bashing the health insurance companies and drug companies. He knows and we know that we are not going to have single-payer health care. The main question is whether we will even have Obamacare past 2017. That is what should be an issue in the general election.


When those who profit from a policy or "system" say that to change it is "pie in the sky" or unobtainable they are saying we will lose profit and will fight any change or loss in profits.

When Hillary sez "single-payer will never ever come to pass" she means she will never bite the hands that feed her and other corrupt politicians that sold-out long ago even trying to reform health-care.

When Obama sold-out the public to reward the insurance and pharmaceutical groups" "negotiating" the ACA deal, he locked-in massive profits and advantages for those and other elements of our for-profit health care "system" - a system designed to wring the most profit from the public and return the least health-care possible.

It should be clear that when the public is offered/sold a "deal", the small portion of a loaf touted as "all we can/could get" by politicians dependent on campaign-contribution bribes, you can be sure the profiteers and politicians have cooked-up the very least they can get away with giving the public, and if accepted as fact, that less than half a loaf, that will be all we will get! That is the take-away message from Hillary; the rip-off ACA and its mechanisms from her own mouth will continue and are all we will get in a Hillary administration!

We need a non-profit single payer universal health care system and commitment now, and how to pay for it is not rocket science, all it takes is a strong leader and resolve to lower costs. Reforming the other rip-off aspects of the most expensive and corrupt "health care" system on earth will surely follow!


Your points are well-raised. But the right so often defines the media as Leftist that adopting that frame, even in a passing reference, I find disconcerting. It's like giving your ideological enemy ammunition to use against your cause.


You don't GET my point. It's that the word Liberal has been left with a taint due to the actions of persons who use the label but defy the Brand... so to speak.


Discussions... as in closed door meetings where the Insurance Corporations wrote the rules of so-called Fair Play.

Do you even believe the Talking Points that you're tasked with repeating often?


There is so much info out there and success of single payer in 36 other industrial nations so we don't have to recreate the wheel. It has been done with great success and at much less cost than our ridiculous costly system that gouges the American people.


So you are saying rightwing/reganites and left wing liberals are in this together to crush we the people.


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Two things. First, our system is such that we will not be able to have a national health program, like the rest of the industrial world, until we have it in at least a state or two. It is necessary to reassure politicians that one can survive despite obtaining it. Accordingly, I am involved in SPANOhio.org--the Single Payer Action Network of Ohio.

Second, trillions of dollars in taxes will not be necessary to obtain a single payer system. There is now almost enough money in the system as bureaucratic waste to pay for it. There are about 1200 insurance carriers in the country. Each has its own regulations and forms and profit. Indeed, the overhead for commercial health insurance is about 30 per cent. of the health care dollar. For classical Medicare the overhead is about three per cent. Unfortunately, neither Bernie Sanders nor Hillary Clinton understands that.


I get confused when people start talking about conservatism and liberalism using the classic definitions of what those are. When right wing Americans brag about being conservatives, what they're really saying is that they believe in neoliberalism, aren't they?