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Thursday, March 29, 2012

"Healthcare Jujitsu"

Not gonna happen:

Healthcare Jujitsu, by Robert Reich: Not surprisingly,... Supreme Court argument over the so-called “individual mandate” requiring everyone to buy health insurance revolved around epistemological niceties...

Behind this judicial foreplay is the brute political fact that if the Court decides the individual mandate is an unconstitutional extension of federal authority, the entire law starts unraveling.

But with a bit of political jujitsu, the President could turn any such defeat into a victory for a single-payer healthcare system – Medicare for all. Here’s how.

The dilemma at the heart of the new law is that it continues to depend on private health insurers, who have to make a profit... Yet the only way private insurers can afford to cover everyone with pre-existing health problems, as the new law requires, is to have every American buy health insurance – including young and healthier people who are unlikely to rack up large healthcare costs.

This dilemma is the product of political compromise. You’ll remember the Administration couldn’t get the votes for a single-payer system such as Medicare for all. It hardly tried. Not a single Republican would even agree to a bill giving Americans the option of buying into it. ...

Republicans have mastered the art of political jujitsu. Their strategy has been to demonize government and seek to privatize everything that might otherwise be a public program financed by tax dollars (see Paul Ryan’s plan for turning Medicare into vouchers). Then they go to court and argue that any mandatory purchase is unconstitutional because it exceeds the government’s authority.

Obama and the Democrats should do the reverse. If the Supreme Court strikes down the individual mandate in the new health law, private insurers will swarm Capitol Hill demanding that the law be amended to remove the requirement that they cover people with pre-existing conditions.

When this happens, Obama and the Democrats should say they’re willing to remove that requirement – but only if Medicare is available to all, financed by payroll taxes. If they did this the public will be behind them — as will the Supreme Court.

There other ways to forge a "policital compromise" besides this. I support a single payer solution, but I can't see how we get there from here without big changes in the political environment.

    Posted by on Thursday, March 29, 2012 at 12:42 AM in Economics, Health Care, Politics | Permalink  Comments (78)

          


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