26 February 2016
Health Reform: The Clinton campaign is bashing Bernie Sanders’ massive single-payer “Medicare for all.” But she recently made it clear that she too plans to push the country to a single-payer system — without having to admit it.
It’s not the sort of thing most people would ever bother to notice, but Clinton recently changed her campaign website’s section on health care, adding a section about how she intends to get to “universal coverage.”
Bernie Sanders has been busy promising everyone “free” health care paid by the government, so Clinton obviously felt the need to respond.
Her updated health care page tips her hand, showing that she wants to get to the same place as Sanders. She just wants to do it under the radar.
Clinton says that, if elected, she will once again push for a “public option” in the ObamaCare exchanges. That is, a government-run insurance plan that would compete with private insurers. She’s selling it as a way to “reduce costs and broaden the choices of insurance coverage for every American.”
The truth is that entire purpose of the “public option” was to drive the health care system toward single payer.
As Mark Schmitt explained in the liberal American Prospect, Democratic pollsters warned party leaders in 2008 that the public wouldn’t accept an outright government takeover of health care. With a frontal attack off the table, Democrats would have to get it done another way. And voila, the public option was born.
“The public option was part of a carefully thought out and deliberately funded effort,” Schmitt said, to convince the single-payer crowd that “they could live with the public option as a kind of stealth single-payer.”
The idea was that most people would end up choosing the cheaper public option over private insurance until it became dominant and private health insurance “begins to wither away,” as one advocate put it.
Try as he might, however, President Obama couldn’t convince enough of his fellow Democrats to fall for the ruse, and the public option died.
But if Hillary gets elected, she’d likely have a much better chance of adding the public option to ObamaCare, for the simple reason that the ObamaCare exchanges are starting to fail, as private insurers jack up premiums and raise deductibles to keep up with its costs.
Come 2017, the public option might look like the only way to salvage the law she’s vowed to protect.