FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Better Than Nothing?

by ROB STONE, MD

One of my professors years ago was a round little man who liked to warn us, with a twinkle in his eye, “Making predictions is very difficult, especially predictions about the future.” Will a bill pass, in what form, and then what will the long term implications be? It’s hard to predict.

Dr. John Geyman, former president of Physicians for a National Health Plan, makes a case in Tikkun “The Affordable Health Care for America Act (HR 3962): Enough Reform to Succeed?” He argues that whatever bill this Congress is able to pass will likely set the cause of Single Payer health care back because it “would leave in place an inefficient, exploitive insurance industry that is dying by its own hand, even as [the bill] props [the industry] up with enormous future profits through subsidized mandates.” His argument backs up Dr. Marcia Angell on the Huffington Post who asked “Is the House Health Care Bill Better than Nothing?”.

Not everyone on the Left agrees. Look at Sam Stein’s piece in the Huffington Post , “Goldman To Private Insurers: No Health Care Reform At All Is Best.” Goldman Sach’s analysis for the health insurance industry is that no reform would benefit them the most, and if we end up with a version close to the House bill, that would cause the industry the most financial difficulty. The Senate bill would fall in between from their perspective. Jonathan Cohn in The New Republic asks “The House Bill Is ‘Worse Than Nothing’? Really?” to further argue from a progressive perspective that we still could get reform worth supporting.

Sorting all this out is tough and can be frustrating because there is so much wishful, non-reality-based thinking going on. It is clear that many of the supporters and opponents of the bills, both in Congress and the general public, are clearly deluded, and Single Payer is what has them flummoxed.

On the Left I keep talking to supporters of the public option who claim to be “Single Payer at heart”, and they believe whatever passes will be the camel’s nose under the tent, the slippery slope to Single Payer. Seems delusional. If only they are right….

Speaking of the Right, many of them also believe any bill this Democratic Congress will pass will become the same camel’s nose, the same slippery slope to socialism. Could they be right, too?

There is still work to do. The handwriting was on the wall Saturday 10/31 when anti-abortion Democrats had enough political oomph to get their Stupid Amendment debated and passed while the Progressive Caucus couldn’t muster enough support to bring either the Kucinich or Weiner Amendments to the floor (for more discussion of these amendments in particular, and Single Payer in general, see the HCHP website and blog).

No matter what happens, one prediction is certain: we have to continue to build our movement. Next time around we have to get everyone in Congress who plans to vote for reform this time, to vote for real single payer reform, to push for Medicare Part E – E is for Everyone. And that would prove the delusional ones were right after all.

ROB STONE, MD is an emergency physician and Director of Hoosiers for a Commonsense Health Plan in Indiana. He is on the board of directors of Physicians for a National Health Plan.

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

May 24, 2017
Paul Street
Beyond Neoliberal Identity Politics
Daniel Read
Powder Keg: Manchester Terror Attack Could Lead to Yet Another Resurgence in Nationalist Hate
Robert Fisk
When Peace is a Commodity: Trump in the Middle East
Kenneth Surin
The UK’s Epochal Election
Jeff Berg
Lessons From a Modern Greek Tragedy
Steve Cooper
A Concrete Agenda for Progressives
Michael McKinley
Australia-as-Concierge: the Need for a Change of Occupation
William Hawes
Where Are Your Minds? An Open Letter to Thomas de Maiziere and the CDU
Steve Early
“Corporate Free” Candidates Move Up
Fariborz Saremi
Presidential Elections in Iran and the Outcomes
Dan Bacher
The Dark Heart of California’s Water Politics
Alessandra Bajec
Never Ending Injustice for Pinar Selek
Rob Seimetz
Death By Demigod
Jesse Jackson
Venezuela Needs Helping Hand, Not a Hammer Blow 
Binoy Kampmark
Return to Realpolitik: Trump in Saudi Arabia
Vern Loomis
The NRA: the Dragon in Our Midst
May 23, 2017
John Wight
Manchester Attacks: What Price Hypocrisy?
Patrick Cockburn
A Gathering of Autocrats: Trump Puts US on Sunni Muslim Side of Bitter Sectarian War with Shias
Shamus Cooke
Can Trump Salvage His Presidency in Syria’s War?
Thomas S. Harrington
“Risk”: a Sad Comedown for Laura Poitras
Josh White
Towards the Corbyn Doctrine
Mike Whitney
Rosenstein and Mueller: the Regime Change Tag-Team
Jan Oberg
Trump in Riyadh: an Arab NATO Against Syria and Iran
Susan Babbitt
The Most Dangerous Spy You’ve Never Heard Of: Ana Belén Montes
Rannie Amiri
Al-Awamiya: City of Resistance
Dimitris Konstantakopoulos
The European Left and the Greek Tragedy
Laura Leigh
This Land is Your Land, Except If You’re a Wild Horse Advocate
Hervé Kempf
Macron, Old World President
Michael J. Sainato
Devos Takes Out Her Hatchet
L. Ali Khan
I’m a Human and I’m a Cartoon
May 22, 2017
Diana Johnstone
All Power to the Banks! The Winners-Take-All Regime of Emmanuel Macron
Robert Fisk
Hypocrisy and Condescension: Trump’s Speech to the Middle East
John Grant
Jeff Sessions, Jesus Christ and the Return of Reefer Madness
Nozomi Hayase
Trump and the Resurgence of Colonial Racism
Rev. William Alberts
The Normalizing of Authoritarianism in America
Frank Stricker
Getting Full Employment: the Fake Way and the Right Way 
Jamie Davidson
Red Terror: Anti-Corbynism and Double Standards
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange, Sweden, and Continuing Battles
Robert Jensen
Beyond Liberal Pieties: the Radical Challenge for Journalism
Patrick Cockburn
Trump’s Extravagant Saudi Trip Distracts from His Crisis at Home
Angie Beeman
Gig Economy or Odd Jobs: What May Seem Trendy to Privileged City Dwellers and Suburbanites is as Old as Poverty
Colin Todhunter
The Public Or The Agrochemical Industry: Who Does The European Chemicals Agency Serve?
Jerrod A. Laber
Somalia’s Worsening Drought: Blowback From US Policy
Michael J. Sainato
Police Claimed Black Man Who Died in Custody Was Faking It
Clancy Sigal
I’m a Trump Guy, So What?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail