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Support Growing for ‘Single Payer’ Health Care for All

Feb. 27, 2017 (EIRNS)—Whatever Trump says about ObamaCare repeal and replacement in his State of the Union speech Tuesday evening, Republicans know—looking back to the raucus 2009 Town Hall demonstrations against the nascent ObamaCare—that health care is an issue that "gets people’s blood up" and that, as much as they may hate the status quo, it is they, the Republicans, who will now be on the hook, should they open the Pandora’s Box and attempt to modify the plan.

In this light, it is refreshing to hear that talk of single payer "Medicare for All" healthcare is increasing throughout the nation. A survey by Pew Research shows that a bipartisan majority of Americans—both Democrats and Republicans—now favor such a "government-supported national universal health-care" plan, with 30% backing "single payer" by name. In Congress, Rep. John Conyers reintroduced his primary single-payer proposal, H676, the "Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act," on Feb. 1; it currently has 59 cosponsors. Unfortunately, all of them are Democrats, and "public support" alone, does not pass federal legislation.

With chances on the federal level thus caught in the partisan quicksand, efforts are proceeding at the state level, with active bills now introduced in California, Oregon, New York and Maine, and soon to be in almost half the states in the country. Coverage today in Truthout notes that bills for single-payer plans passed the New York State Assembly with overwhelming majorities in 2015 and 2016, only to die in the Republican-dominated Senate. Organizers are hoping that, in the current climate, a similar effort this year will end differently.

Single-payer is to the insurance business what Glass- Steagall is to Wall Street: kryptonite. The flourishing deadly combination of "Big Insurance" and "Big Pharma" can only be broken with the strength of government regulation.