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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Single Payer Is NOT A Litmus Test

Category: Health Care
Posted: 10/09/17 14:49

by Dave Mindeman

I have long been a single payer advocate. Four years ago I wrote a piece for Minnpost regarding this - and I stand by those words.

However, in the political world, single payer gets jacked around with false notions and false assumptions. Conservatives have managed to hijack a lot of perceptions about single payer. False perceptions but out there never-the-less.

The pushback against single payer is still a problem. And for this reason, I will not force Democratic candidates to abide by some single payer litmus test. If they hold to the universal coverage axiom, we can start with that, and if elected they can be convinced to support single payer in a workable form.

A previous problem that has hurt the single payer push is the rushed bill that Vermont put forward. It was flawed from the beginning and single payer failed in that state. When conservatives point to that failure, it has an effect.

Single payer health care will require strong advocacy. But that advocacy has little use in a Republican led Congress or legislature. We have to allow Democratic candidates to find a winning campaign path - and if they feel that single payer may hamper that quest for the moment, then I cannot fault them for that.

If you support single payer and support a candidate who has the same value for that issue - by all means work hard for that person. But if they do not get an endorsement or lose a primary to another candidate who is not so clear about it, do not disappear. Keep working to elect the candidate on the ballot who will listen to your advocacy.

Too often, progressives let the perfect wreck the good enough.
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