It may be one of the very few things that Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, Left and Right can agree on: ObamaCare has been an embarrassing series of rolling disasters since it stumbled out of the starting gate on October 1. From the non-functional Healthcare.gov website fiasco to the cancellation of millions (soon to be tens of millions) of existing health insurance policies to the heart-stopping sticker shock on replacement policies, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has drawn brickbats from critics all across the political spectrum.
However, while disapproval of ObamaCare is very widespread, the critic camps are poles apart concerning what should be done. According to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the Democratic Socialists of America, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and other leading lights of the far Left, the real problem with ObamaCare is that it does not go far enough; the “solution,” they say, is to go all the way to socialized medicine. But they don’t have the conviction and courage to be that honest, so they say we must resurrect the “single payer/public option” alternative that was defeated during the 2009-2010 battle over ObamaCare in Congress. For millions of Americans, the terms “single payer” and “public option” do not carry the same negative connotations as “socialized medicine,” which, of course, is why they were adopted as code words.
This past August, Sen. Harry Reid told the Las Vegas PBS program, Nevada Week in Review, that ObamaCare is merely “a step” toward nationalized, government-run healthcare. The Las Vegas Sun report on the program carried this headline: “Reid says Obamacare just a step toward eventual single-payer system.”
“Reid said he thinks the country has to ‘work our way past’ insurance-based health care,” the Sun reported. “What we’ve done with Obamacare,” Reid said, “is have a step in the right direction, but we’re far from having something that’s going to work forever.”
When then asked by the PBS interviewer whether he meant ultimately the country would have to have a healthcare system that abandoned insurance as the means of accessing it, Reid replied: “Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes.”
“We had a real good run at the public option — don’t think we didn’t have a tremendous number of people who wanted a single-payer system,” Reid said, referring to the contentious battles over ObamaCare.
But political realities forced Reid to compromise; he had to settle for something less than fully socialized medicine. “We had to get a majority of votes,” Reid told the PBS progam. “In fact, we had to get a little extra in the Senate, we have to get 60.”
Reid knew that President Obama was blatantly lying when he repeatedly promised that under ObamaCare everyone who wanted to would be able to keep his current policy. Reid, Pelosi, Obama, and other architects of the ACA knew the sweeping law and its subsequent massive regulations (which are still being written) would cause upwards of 70 percent of individual policy holders to have their policies cancelled almost immediately. Tens of millions more would begin losing their coverage as various restrictions targeting employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) kicked in.
This would drive millions of desperate Americans to look to the federal government to save them (from the destruction caused by the fedgov’s ACA), and that would be a good thing, the Reid-Pelosi-Obama cabal reasoned. But President Obama publicly insisted that ObamaCare critics were “not telling the truth” with claims he was trying to establish government-run healthcare.
Obama: No “Trojan Horse” for Socialized Medicine
In his June 15, 2009 address to the Annual Conference of the American Medical Association, President Obama declared that the ACA is not “a Trojan Horse for a single-payer system.” He said:
Let me also say that — let me also address a illegitimate concern that's being put forward by those who are claiming that a public option is somehow a Trojan horse for a single-payer system. I'll be honest; there are countries where a single-payer system works pretty well. But I believe — and I've taken some flak from members of my own party for this belief — that it's important for our reform efforts to build on our traditions here in the United States. So when you hear the naysayers claim that I'm trying to bring about government-run health care, know this: They're not telling the truth.
As we have reported before — and will recapitulate again, momentarily — President Obama is publicly on the record for many years (going back to his time as an Illinois State Senator and then as U.S. Senator) as an avid supporter of single-payer, socialized medicine, and despite his protestations to the contrary, is heading us precisely in that direction now.
Like Sen. Reid, Rep. Pelosi has made no secret of the fact that she has always wanted, and still wants, “single payer” nationalized, socialized healthcare. In a June 28, 2012 interview with Ed Schultz on MSNBC she explains that even though some on the far Left criticized ObamaCare for failing to enact single payer, it was a victory nonetheless, and would move us closer toward that goal:
SCHULTZ: Finally, is this Kennedy-like? You didn't get everything, but you got a great start. And you got some great things, and — that was kind of his philosophy. Take what you can get and move it forward?
NANCY PELOSI: Oh, well, we got much more than that. We got much more than that. Yes, Teddy was the person who said, 'you have to — you have to see a victory and recognize it when it is in sight.' I wanted to have a bill that accomplished the same things as a single-payer or a public option would do. Even if we couldn’t get the votes in the Senate to do the public option. And I believe we did that. I think we would have saved more money if we had the public option and I think that — but I think that our purposes are served by this. And if it enabled us to go forward, then so be it. One of these days, I still believe that we can — the decision, the judgment will be made, maybe by states about their doing single-payer on their own and the rest. But in the meantime, as far as meeting the needs of individuals and families there, and as I keep saying, as far as our families are concerned, the best is yet to come.
The best is yet to come? Sixteen months later, with the rollout of ObamaCare, millions of Americans now dispossessed of their healthcare would take umbrage at Pelosi’s cheery prediction. This is the same Nancy Pelosi who infamously remarked on March 9, 2010, regarding the Affordable Care Act, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of controversy.”
But one month into ObamaCare, with the fog of controversy thickening, Pelosi continued to declare her unalloyed praise for the ACA — and her continued commitment to a “public option” plan.
ObamaCare “was a heavy lift to pass,” Pelosi told reporters on October 30. “I myself would’ve preferred single payer or public option, but this was a compromise, this is a compromise,” she said. “But it does many of the things that we would’ve done under a public option.... I’m thrilled about the overarching plan. This is life, a healthier life, liberty to pursue your happiness, as our founders promised. Glitches will be worked out, and again, there’s a lot of education that has to be done on something that is new.”
Rep. Pelosi did not provide any citations from the founders of our constitutional republic to support the absurd proposition that they would have endorsed the federal government setting up a massive healthcare system and ordering citizens to purchase healthcare policies designed and dictated by federal bureaucrats. However, there are plenty of Marxist authorities whom she could cite and with whom she is undoubtedly familiar. Rep. Pelosi has been endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), one of the most influential Marxist groups in the country, and has spoken at DSA-sponsored events. She is a close ally of and promoter of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), the DSA-affiliated group of 80 of the most radical Democrats in the House of Representatives. The DSA and the CPC are some of the most persistent and influential promoters of single-payer socialized medicine.
On September 30, 2013, the eve of the ObamaCare rollout, the DSA web site featured a full-throated call by Gerald Friedman, a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, to take ObamaCare all the way to full-blown government takeover. Friedman, a longtime labor activist and DSA member, argued:
By eliminating perverse incentives for adverse selection, a single-payer plan would dramatically lower administrative costs and monopolistic pricing, saving nearly $600 billion, $5000 billion over a decade, while providing meaningful universal access.
Barack Obama knows this and has been a long-time supporter of single payer. But as president, he accepted the long-standing political wisdom that it would be impossible to enact a single-payer program.
Friedman acknowledges that ObamaCare is a huge wealth redistribution scheme, which undoubtedly warms the cockles of his socialist heart. He writes: “Because the subsidies to help the newly insured buy coverage are paid largely through new taxes on the highest earners, the subsidized insurance will be one of the largest redistributive measures ever enacted.”
But that isn’t enough for the stalwart Marxists at DSA. Friedman continues:
After a century of struggle, the ACA commits the United States to providing universal access to health care. This is a great achievement, one to be treasured and nurtured. Now the real fight begins, to turn this commitment into a reality that the ACA itself cannot produce. Barack Obama was right the first time: only a single-payer program can provide universal coverage, and only a single-payer program can control costs. The ACA may be the last bad idea that Americans try; after it fails, we will finally do the right thing: single-payer health insurance.
That is what Friedman’s socialist colleagues, such as Dr. Quentin Young and Dr. Steffi Woolhandler at the Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) are also pushing. The 90-year-old Dr. Young was active in the Communist Party back in the 1940s and has been active in many Communist Party fronts since then, as well as a longtime member of the Democratic Socialists of America. Dr. Young was one of the Chicago movers and shakers who met at the Hyde Park home of Weather Underground terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn to launch the political career of Barack Obama. Politico.com interviewed Young in 2008 and reported:
“I can remember being one of a small group of people who came to Bill Ayers’ house to learn that Alice Palmer was stepping down from the senate and running for Congress,” said Dr. Quentin Young, a prominent Chicago physician and advocate for single-payer health care, of the informal gathering at the home of Ayers and his wife, Dohrn. “[Palmer] identified [Obama] as her successor.”
Obama and Palmer “were both there,” he said.
Drs. Young and Woolhandler have been harshly critical of ObamaCare because it did not go all the way to full socialized medicine. In an October 17, 2013 interview with Phil Kadner of Chicago’s Southtown Star, Young noted that he has known Obama since before he was a senator. “Back then, he favored single-payer health care,” Young said. “I don’t know what happened, but something changed his mind.”
Dr. Young has it wrong; Barack Obama has not changed his mind, he just changed his tactics. Obama still intends to get to single-payer, he simply understood that getting there by the direct route wasn’t feasible; he would have to adopt a more deceptive, confusing, gradual, round-about route.
Drs. Young and Woolhandler, the DSA, CPC, and many others are now out there beating the drums for single-payer, pointing to the hopeless complexity and the notorious failures of ObamaCare. At some point, Obama, Pelosi, Reid, and other ACA champions will flip-flop and join them in calling for a transition from ObamaCare to single-payer socialized medicine. That has been their plan all along.