Sen. Joe Manchin Says “No” to Single-Payer, While Lindsay Graham Floats Single-Payer for Sick People

Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) has no time for single payer.

But Senator Lindsey Graham says yes to single payer for sick people.

That’s what came out of a meeting with Senator Manchin with single payer activists earlier this month in Charleston, West Virginia.

Also present during the meeting, via Skype, was University of Massachusetts Economics Professor Gerald Friedman.

According to notes taken during the meeting by a participant, Manchin dismissed single payer in the the Senate, saying “my interest is in finding a workable pathway.”

“Republicans are not going to back off of a private sector market,” Manchin said. “Mitch McConnell is determined to vote to repeal. But he wants to get rid of taxes to pay for what we want to do. To do that they’ve got to cut services. They’re not trying to look for efficiencies or work with preventative care.”

“A few of us — Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham, and others — are looking for a better way.  Lindsey Graham says — let’s put everyone with a pre-existing condition on Medicare.”

“That’s a big leap forward,” Manchin said. “But I told him — we have to change the tax structure. We can’t accumulate more debt.”

“There is not another Republican who supports what Lindsey has said,” Manchin said. “But people are listening.  It gives us an opening we didn’t have before. I told Chuck Schumer to act like he doesn’t like it and wait and see what happens.”

Reached by telephone, Friedman said Graham’s proposal could easily drift into single payer.

“If Senator Graham is talking about anybody with pre-existing conditions, that would be up to 75 percent of the population,” Friedman said. “Most people have a pre-existing condition — high blood pressure, depression, stress.”

“Medicare would be taking all the sick people, except for the first time they get sick,” Friedman said. “It would be 75 percent of medical costs in the United States. It would easily drift into single payer.”

“You are healthy, you are on private insurance. You get sick. Private health insurance covers your first trip to the doctor. Then at that point, you have a pre-existing condition. They you get shifted into Medicare.”

Friedman said there have been proposals over the years to cover one disease at a time.

“One organ is currently covered by Medicare — that’s the kidney,” Friedman said. “Kidney disease is covered by Medicare now, regardless of age. If you need dialysis, you are covered by Medicare.”

Friedman says he doubts if Graham’s proposal will get much support.

“If the Republicans want to repeal and replace, they should just adopt single payer,” Friedman said. “It’s more efficient than Obamacare, it’s cheaper than Obamacare.”

But isn’t Graham’s proposal just a bailout of the private health insurance industry?

“Yes, but it will erode their business very quickly,” Friedman said. “In the short run, it’s great for private health insurance. It gets rid of everybody at risk. It lower rates dramatically. You only have healthy people left in their pool. But these companies make money off of sick people too.”

Friedman said that Bernie Sanders will introduce his single payer bill within the next couple of weeks. Friedman said that he has heard that there as many as nine Senators who will co-sponsor the Sanders single payer bill.

More articles by:

Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter..

March 20, 2018
Jonathan Cook
US Smooths Israel’s Path to Annexing West Bank
Jeffrey St. Clair
How They Sold the Iraq War
Chris Busby
Cancer, George Monbiot and Nuclear Weapons Test Fallout
Nick Alexandrov
Washington’s Invasion of Iraq at Fifteen
David Mattson
Wyoming Plans to Slaughter Grizzly Bears
Paul Edwards
My Lai and the Bad Apples Scam
Julian Vigo
The Privatization of Water and the Impoverishment of the Global South
Mir Alikhan
Trump and Pompeo on Three Issues: Paris, Iran and North Korea
Seiji Yamada
Preparing For Nuclear War is Useless
Gary Leupp
Brennan, Venality and Turpitude
Martha Rosenberg
Why There’s a Boycott of Ben & Jerry’s on World Water Day, March 22
March 19, 2018
Henry Heller
The Moment of Trump
John Davis
Pristine Buildings, Tarnished Architect
Uri Avnery
The Fake Enemy
Patrick Cockburn
The Fall of Afrin and the Next Phase of the Syrian War
Nick Pemberton
The Democrats Can’t Save Us
Nomi Prins 
Jared Kushner, RIP: a Political Obituary for the President’s Son-in-Law
Georgina Downs
The Double Standards and Hypocrisy of the UK Government Over the ‘Nerve Agent’ Spy Poisoning
Dean Baker
Trump and the Federal Reserve
Colin Todhunter
The Strategy of Tension Towards Russia and the Push to Nuclear War
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
US Empire on Decline
Ralph Nader
Ahoy America, Give Trump a Taste of His Own Medicine Starting on Trump Imitation Day
Robert Dodge
Eliminate Nuclear Weapons by Divesting from Them
Laura Finley
Shame on You, Katy Perry
Weekend Edition
March 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Michael Uhl
The Tip of the Iceberg: My Lai Fifty Years On
Bruce E. Levine
School Shootings: Who to Listen to Instead of Mainstream Shrinks
Mel Goodman
Caveat Emptor: MSNBC and CNN Use CIA Apologists for False Commentary
Paul Street
The Obama Presidency Gets Some Early High Historiography
Kathy Deacon
Me, My Parents and Red Scares Long Gone
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Rexless Abandon
Andrew Levine
Good Enemies Are Hard To Find: Therefore Worry
Jim Kavanagh
What to Expect From a Trump / Kim Summit
Ron Jacobs
Trump and His Tariffs
Joshua Frank
Drenched in Crude: It’s an Oil Free For All, But That’s Not a New Thing
Gary Leupp
What If There Was No Collusion?
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: Bernard Fall Dies on the Street Without Joy
Robert Fantina
Bad to Worse: Tillerson, Pompeo and Haspel
Brian Cloughley
Be Prepared, Iran, Because They Want to Destroy You
Richard Moser
What is Organizing?
Scott McLarty
Working Americans Need Independent Politics
Rohullah Naderi
American Gun Violence From an Afghan Perspective
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Why Trump’s Tariff Travesty Will Not Re-Industrialize the US
Ted Rall
Democrats Should Run on Impeachment
Robert Fisk
Will We Ever See Al Jazeera’s Investigation Into the Israel Lobby?
Kristine Mattis
Superunknown: Scientific Integrity Within the Academic and Media Industrial Complexes