Sunday, May 31, 2009

Single-Payer Health Care versus Individual Mandates: A Dilemma for Democrats

by Gene Rothman | The LA Progressive


Hidden Costs of Settling for Alternatives to Single Payer Plans
President Obama initially excluded SP advocates from his health care summit. Senator Baucus has not only arrested medical advocates of SP seeking representation, but has also held a secret, closed-door hearing, apparently for industry-based health care advocates only. These undemocratic tactics impede the unity that will be needed for any public option, whether or not SP is ultimately on or off the table. Instead, it drives a wedge between public health care advocates and may well be a formula for depressing the party’s base rather than energizing the forces seeking health care reform.

Recommendations for Action
Citizens favoring single payer owe it to themselves to take action on this issue. Contacting the California Nurses Association or Physicians for a National Health Program (see opening sentence) is one option. Finally, whether you support Single Payer or an incrementalist public option plan, anyone favoring free speech and representative democracy should also contact Democratic party leaders to insist that all ideas must be on the table. In addition, if advocates of single payer are ejected from Congressional meetings for requesting representation, Democratic party officials should be urged to work with local police to avoid arrests for such advocates. Finally, the practice of closed-door, secret meetings with health-industry-only representatives must be ended immediately.

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