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Single-Payer Movement Shows: Life After Trump May Not Suck


Single-Payer Movement Shows: Life After Trump May Not Suck

Matt Taibbi

"My critics will say that Trump, uncharacteristically, puts too much faith in bureaucracy; a single-payer plan would generate a gigantic agency to distribute funds to doctors. I'd point out that by creating one agency we do away with hundreds of smaller ones that are hard to monitor." —Donald Trump, The America We Deserve, 2000

The president is behaving like a candidate again, which is bad news for his political opponents


While I’d love to believe Taibbi’s thesis, I’ve seen the ‘hope and change’ movie before.

And it’s easy for Baucus to suddenly come around on Single Payer…once he’s safely done his part to make sure private insurers and big pharma continue to use the health care system as a cash register.


Baucus and ACA author Liz Fowler made sure that ACA provides an ever increasing source of bribe money for the medical industrial complex to continue their extortion extraordinaire.


From the article:

“Single-payer doesn’t necessarily mean an end to private insurance.”

If not, we haven’t yet bottomed out. Unless and until we get the non-value-adding insurance companies out from between doctor and patient, we’ll continue to be commodities.


The two sacks of hammers are clunking and clanking and claiming its music. Its going to be a long slog and tunes are being sung loud to drown out the whirr the mint presses spewing paper no longer soaked in oil - except for …

This is like a bunch of highschoolers having a battle of the bands with a shortage of talent so glaring as to make you cry, plug ears and go focus on studying for the tests instead… The long hard slog is SOOOOO worth it!

Anyone interested in adding their name to a petition to senators to say NO to drumphcare, here is a link


The only reason there are 15 Dumborats supporting Sanders’ Bill is because there is precisely zero chance of it passing - and thus those 15 Dumborats have literally nothing to lose by supporting it, while being able to capitalize in the future on their “support for single payer,” should the political winds blow in that direction more strongly down the road. It’s all about triangulation - that lovely term that the Clintons made popular by their political wind-testing over the year before taking a stance on anything.

However, it IS nice to see the concept of Medicare-For-All gaining momentum in the mainstream conversation. We do owe Bernie for that. Single Payer has been kicking around for decades as a concept, but rarely has it been this seriously talked-about, or supported by this large a percentage of the general voting population before (I think - correct me if my stats are wrong). While my skeptical heart doesn’t hold out hope that it will become a reality during my lifetime, as long as the two neoliberal wings of the one Wall Street Party are the only two colas in the national electorate vending machine, it does my soul good to see stories like this.


Germany & Switzerland have private insurers, although they are HEAVILY regulated and I believe are limited in their “profits” from health insurance. T R Reid had a good book out a couple years ago comparing our shitty system to systems from Germany, Japan, England and I think France.


Single payer and Sanders’ Medicare for all are not the same.

I am on Medicare and its is NOT single payer.

First, I pay the gubmit a monthly fee (variable, currently $134)

Second, I pay a medigap insurance company a monthly fee (variable, currently $209) to cover what Medicare doesn’t, not including natureopath, acupuncture, vision, dental and drugs.

Third, I pay a drug/insurance consortium a monthly fee for supplemental prescription drug coverage (variable, currently only $ 18 because I take no prescription drugs and it doesn’t cover non-prescription drugs).

Any claims I submit or that are submitted on my behalf are paid by a combination of those entities.

Sanders’ bill DOES add vision and dental (that Medicare has never included).


His 2008 documentary, “Sick Around The World” does that as well, excellent and highly recommended. Thanks for the suggested reading!


“A candidate who ran on a platform of universal health care, free higher education and a fair minimum wage, and didn’t act like these ideas were something to be embarrassed about, would probably breeze to the nomination.”

A candidate did run on that platform. Her name is Jill Stein.


“Single-payer doesn’t necessarily mean an end to private insurance. It just means the government would be the bureaucratic entity that pays the bills.”

What are you talking about, Taibbi?

By definition, single-payer means that one, single payer - the public “entity” of government - pays medical bills with tax money. As opposed to private insurance paying medical bills with money collected from medical insurance buyers.

Sure, technically, Sanders’ bill does not “end…private insurance” - the bill does not cover elective cosmetic surgery, and so a residual private insurance market could exist for it; and, in theory, any individual - say, rich people - could pay lots of money to a private insurer.

But, by definition and in Sanders’ bill, public government mainly disburses medical payments - at a lower price by imposing price controls, by progressive taxation, and by cutting out the private insurance ‘middleman’ with its bloated personnel that profits by maximizing premiums and minimizing care.


“Single payer and Sanders’ Medicare for all are not the same…Medicare…is NOT single payer…I pay the gubmit a monthly fee…I pay a [private] insurance company…to cover what Medicare doesn’t…I pay a drug/insurance consortium…Any claims I submit…are paid by a combination of those entities.”

Hm…As I understand it, Ray, Sanders’ bill is, indeed, NOT the same as Medicare - however, not because it mixes public and private insurance (Medicare today), but because it proposes to upgrade Medicare coverage, not only including vision and dental, but in other ways…I confess, I am still reading about the bill - as well as working my way through the bill myself…


You do a disservice to Sanders’ bill. It is expanding Medicare to include EVERYONE - to become a single-payer system. Present-day Medicare is not single payer - Sanders’ expanded Medicare, is.

And, it is IMPROVING Medicare, so our experience with the existing Medicare program is not a reliable representation of what Sanders’ bill will do.

Have you read the bill?


I have not read the bill yet, but I have watched the unveiling video (https://www.c-span.org/video/?433998-1/senator-sanders-unveils-medicare-bill) and at this point it is clear that Single Payer in the bill means the complete removal of private insurance from the areas which are covered and after a 4 year transition period. If our system mirrors Canada’s, there will be a small role for private insurers covering extras like if you wanted a private room instead of being with 2 or 3 other people while being hospitalized.

But doesn’t Taibbi mean something different when he writes:

Single-payer doesn’t necessarily mean an end to private insurance. It just means the government would be the bureaucratic entity that pays the bills.

That sounds like he meant to say “necessarily mean an end to private health care”.

Where are the editors of Rolling Stone?


Yes, I have heard this will add improvements to medicare like dental and vision.


“[S]ocial media these days…reveal[s] a Democratic electorate that is bitterly divided. Twitter slugfests between Berners and Hillbots are depressingly common, with flame wars breaking out over everything…”

I wonder if those “flame wars” have spiked since “What Happened”?

How to put this…Maybe rekindling animosity toward progressives was the real, political purpose of “What Happened.” The Sanders campaign and its coalescence around single payer represents an internecine rebellion against the long-dominant right liberal faction. To a ‘yes-you’ll-take-power…from-my-cold-dead-fingers’ Democratic Party, vilifying and fomenting antagonism against the progressive faction will keep right liberals loyally in their camp. And what better way to do that than to pedal the image of poor-treacherously-struck-down-for-being-female HRC as self-pitying cover for the Party’s ruthless will to stay in power, its refusal to admit how its right liberal policies sank it?




“That sounds like he meant to say ‘necessarily mean an end to private health care.’”

Single payer doesn’t mean government doctors/hospitals, as in England, you think Taibbi meant to say?

I guess then the passage would make sense…but why defend single payer against the specter of nationalized medicine, since no opponents cited in article claim single payer will do such a thing?


This is an interesting article from 2009 claiming two thirds support for single-payer among Americans.

If the same theories hold true today, it can be supposed that support is even higher now. One thing is certain, Sanders and his supporters did this nation a huge favor in the last election by forcing Medicare-for-All into the public debate so effectively. The article (the third of six parts) concludes with what is playing out in real time:

If we couple the “jury” experiments with the polling data reviewed in this part, we see a pattern: The more people know about single-payer, the more likely they are to support it. We see this pattern when we compare the “jury” results with poll results, and we see it when we compare polls that show high levels of support for single-payer with those that don’t.

As for life not sucking after Trump, it sucked before Trump for far too many people. Perhaps life won’t suck as much as it does now, but it’s going to be a hard long struggle to dismantle the oligarchy, racism, and colonialism that have become this nation’s distinguishing features and build authentic participatory democracy in the US.


You are right it is much closer than most people think and they are actively working on it in CA. It takes waivers from the federal government though so hopefully that will be worked out or it will be just another ACA only worse. Jill Stein doesn’t understand the basic functions of government that is why she only got 1% of the vote. I did vote for her but it wasn’t a vote of confidence.