"[W]ith all the inscrutable logic of a Chinese fortune cookie [Atcheson] says: ‘…this Bill is unlikely to pass in this Republican Congress, but it will completely change the terms of the [healthcare] debate…having initiated the debate, universal health care in the US is now inevitable…no longer a question of if, rather…of when.’”
Yes, given the right wing and right liberal powers arrayed against single payer, and the limited power of progressives, Atcheson’s confidence is perplexing. This does not seem like a ‘revolution around the corner’ historical moment.
Sanders and others have repeatedly argued that a strong social movement is the absolute precondition of progressive change, and that does not now exist, imo - a progressive movement exists and is coalescing around single payer, but how strong it is an open question - in my view, it has not mobilized low income populations deeply enough to make single payer inevitable.
However, it is arguable that Sanders bill is a culmination - of progressive mobilization for single payer, increased popular support for single payer, and the Sanders campaign itself.
And, as a result, it may be argued that the bill advances an important change - the penetration of the idea into the right liberal Democratic part of congress; a mainstreaming of single payer as an idea; conversely, the inability of the right and right liberal to outright reject it (instead of ‘will never ever happen,’ right liberal politicians and pundits warn about about its difficulty, mount rearguard arguments about party unity, and trot out incrementalist arguments).
So the bill and congressional support may be fairly called a win - how progressives can build on that win now is , as stated above, an open question. (I am writing an article about a thought I have - free primary care clinics that promote single payer - politicized versions of nonprofit charity organizations like Remote Area Medical.)