Thursday, January 7, 2016

qotd: Thomas Friedman endorses single payer

The New York Times
January 6, 2016
Up With Extremism
By Thomas L. Friedman

It's time for a true nonpartisan extremist, one whose platform combines
the following:

* A single-payer universal health care system. If it can work for
Canada, Australia and Sweden and provide generally better health
outcomes at lower prices, it can work for us, and get U.S. companies out
of the health care business.


Comment by Don McCanne

In his opinion piece, Thomas Friedman calls for electing a nonpartisan
extremist for president. The first in his recommended list of extremist
policy positions is a single payer universal health care system. Great!

The significance of this is that the debate over health care reform is
not limited to tweaking the irreparable deficiencies of the Affordable
Care Act (Democrats) versus paring back the government role in health
care by shifting more of the financial responsibility to patients
(Republicans). Although single payer was rejected during the campaign
that led to the election of President Obama, it is now clear that
Obamacare has perpetuated a wasteful, inefficient system that is
increasing financial burdens and further impairing access for patients,
even if greater numbers are nominally insured. And the tentative
Republican proposals would make affordability and access even worse.

There is now a much broader understanding that single payer would
provide the infrastructure that would ensure affordable care for
everyone. The spark which has injected this into the presidential
campaign is the strong endorsement by Bernie Sanders along with a token
acknowledgement by the poll-leading Republican candidate - Donald Trump.
We are seeing more single payer endorsements along with limited press
coverage confirming that single payer is in play in this election. We
should continue our efforts to amplify that. Low odds admittedly, but
it's there.

Just a note on Friedman's article. He calls for "a nonpartisan extremist
for president who's ready to go far left and far right —
simultaneously." His list of policy recommendations includes some that
are simply not acceptable in an enlightened society (mind you, I'm a
pacifist). So we should make it clear that, though we are quite pleased
with Friedman's endorsement of single payer, we cannot reciprocate with
an endorsement of several of his other policy positions.

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