The American Debate about Canadian-Style Single-Payer Health Insurance

Source: Salon, January 19

In his column on [January 18], the New York Times’ Paul Krugman argued that Hillary Clinton is in the right, and Bernie Sanders much less so, when it comes to correcting the perceived failures of Obamacare.

The question is whether progressives “should re-litigate their own biggest political success in almost half a century,” and Krugman firmly believes they should do nothing of the sort. Switching to a single-payer system at this point would mean cutting out private insurers, “and like it or not, incumbent players have a lot of power.”

Moreover, he added, single-payer would require a lot of additional tax revenue – and we would be talking about taxes on the middle class, not just the wealthy. It’s true that higher taxes would be offset by a sharp reduction or even elimination of private insurance premiums, but it would be difficult to make that case to the broad public, especially given the chorus of misinformation you know would dominate the airwaves.

Finally, and I suspect most important, switching to single-payer would impose a lot of disruption on tens of millions of families who currently have good coverage through their employers….

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2 responses to “The American Debate about Canadian-Style Single-Payer Health Insurance

  1. Michael Gundy

    An often forgotten fact: many Americans who develop chronic illnesses cannot leave their current employers as they will be unable to get health insurance as they have a “preexisting condition”. They are tied to that employer as long as they can work.

  2. Mike Holliday

    A common thread runs through every article dealing with changes to programs or practices, particularly when those changes are mooted by people who might loosely be termed `progressives’ or `democrats.’
    proposing every proposal, every suggestion mooted will be difficult if not impossible to implement.
    The theme is shown here by the words: `It would be difficult to make that case to the broad public, especially given the chorus of misinformation you know would dominate the airways.’
    Freedom of speech is the cornerstone of democracy and any attempt to curtail it would be quite rightly looked upon with fear and loathing, but something else is going on here. When it comes to mass communication, talking to the public, we in the democratic west do not have freedom of speech.
    There is a pervasive and in my opinion highly damaging situation where one group (maybe even one man) dictates what the public hears both in terms of `the facts’ and the opinions on those `facts.’
    Progressives, democrats, people seeking change and in their view improvements have been hamstrung by the knowledge that a massive and powerful communications group will seek to destroy them and their ideas.