The Problem Facing Anyone Who Wants Single-Payer Health Care

The Problem Facing Anyone Who Wants Single-Payer Health CareEarlier this week, Senator and presidential candidate Kamala Harris (D-CA) released an outline for her version of “Medicare For All.” The plan would give everyone the immediate right to buy into Medicare as an alternative to private insurance, then would gradually transition everyone into an “expanded Medicare system” over the course of ten years.Though Harris says that she would guarantee “universal coverage,” her end goal is not technically a single-payer system because individual health consumers could still choose private Medicare plans similar to today’s Medicare Advantage plans. But the Harris plan is still likely to significantly expand the number of Americans with public insurance.Not long after Harris released her proposal, the Daily Beast published an array of quotes from rival campaign operatives and from former Obama administration officials, who took issue with her ten year roll out. As Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) campaign manager Faiz Shakir put it, “if President Obama had passed a health-care bill that called for a 10-year horizon, he would have left it to Donald Trump to execute.” (Shakir is a former editor of ThinkProgress.)He has a point. One of Obamacare’s biggest vulnerabilities is that it became law in 2010, but didn’t take full effect until 2014. That gave Republicans nearly four years, a presidential election cycle, and a full round of Supreme Court litigation to attack the law before most people saw any benefits from it.

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