Single-payer could doom Democrats
Richard North Patterson
Single-payer health care is “an electoral poison pill” that could cost Democrats the 2020 election, said Richard North Patterson. Democratic socialist Bernie Sanders has turned his proposal for a total government takeover of the health-care system into an uncompromising obsession, insisting that his “‘political revolution’ will obliterate all obstacles in a tsunami of public support.” But polling shows that it would be far more popular to fortify the Affordable Care Act, add a public option to buy into Medicare, lower prescription prices, and make other “incremental reforms,” rather than taking private health insurance away from about 160 million people. When told that single-payer would eliminate private insurance, 58 percent of Americans oppose it. The prospect of losing their existing coverage and being herded into an unknown new public system costing trillions of dollars “could drive voters in crucial states back into [President Trump’s] arms.” The attack ads practically write themselves. For Democrats, single-payer is the heart of a fundamental choice: Does the party “offer a broad vision with optimal appeal, or hobble itself with a laundry list of litmus tests which animate a slice of the electorate even smaller than Trump’s base”?