Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Obama touts single-payer health care

A Murdoch Street Journal article quotes Obama as saying that if he were to build a healthcare system "from scratch," he'd go with a single-payer system. His campaign health care plan calls for a much less sweeping overhaul, with more affordable private insurance and Medicare expansions, noting that dismantling the whole private insurance infrastructure in one go would lead to chaos and job losses.

But still, the idea that Obama might be open to single-payer is excellent news. Single-payer health care is the only fair, sane, equitable, and comprehensive solution to America's health care crisis. It is also by no means the same thing as "socialized medicine." Single payer health care merely refers to a payment system in which the government provides health insurance to all citizens and pays everyone's medical bills. Socialized medicine is a more comprehensive and radical system in which the entire health infrastructure of the country is owned by the government (hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, doctor's offices, etc), and doctors and nurses become employees of the State. Nobody in mainstream American politics is calling for such a system.