Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Fwd: qotd: New America Foundation implicitly endorses single payer

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-------- Original Message --------
Subject: qotd: New America Foundation implicitly endorses single payer
Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2012 09:03:40 -0800
From: Don McCanne <>
To: Quote-of-the-Day <>

New America Foundation
December 2012
Social Contract Budgeting: Prescriptions from Economics and History
By Peter H. Lindert, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics,
University of California – Davis

America has yet to accept the insurance solution that has worked
relatively well in other countries: let the government serve as a
dominant payer, with mandatory universal coverage and mandated pure
community rating. (Note that international experience recommends
single-payer insurance, but is indifferent to government provision of
health care.) Instead, American state and federal insurance systems
embody an unavoidably messy political compromise, one in which the
public is forced to buy coverage choosing from a menu of private
insurers. As it stands, the government will act as single regulator, not
as single payer. This has the political advantage of keeping government
budgets from raising taxes to cover insurance, but the disadvantage of
perpetuating, and still subsidizing, a costly private insurance industry.


New America Foundation
About New America

The New America Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy
institute that invests in new thinkers and new ideas to address the next
generation of challenges facing the United States.

With an emphasis on big ideas, impartial analysis and pragmatic
solutions, New America invests in outstanding individuals whose ability
to communicate to wide and influential audiences can change the
country's policy discourse in critical areas, bringing promising new
ideas and debates to the fore.

Comment: This statement implicitly supporting single payer is of great
importance because of its source. The New America Foundation was
established to move beyond partisan politics. "The foundation's mission
is animated by the American ideal that each generation will live better
than the last."

In his article, "Social Contract Budgeting," UC Davis Professor Peter
Lindert discusses four fronts: education, health insurance, pensions,
and broad taxes. Although he attempts to move beyond politics, most of
us will still reflect on his concepts under the cloud of our own biases.
As an example, although some of us are uncomfortable with the concept of
a VAT (value added tax, a consumption tax), he discusses a variation in
which the VAT can be progressively redistributive.

For those of us who have campaigned so long and so hard for health care
justice, Lindert states what we perceive to be the obvious: we need to
move beyond politics and "accept the insurance solution that has worked
relatively well in other countries," noting that "international
experience recommends single-payer insurance."

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