The problem with Obama's health care reform strategery
Many prominent progressives like Paul Krugman and Jacob Hacker have argued that the public option is the key to the whole reform process. The public option will constrain the rapacious insurance companies. The public option will be popular and efficient. The public option will be, at its best, a slippery slope to a single-payer plan. Never mind that critics have pointed out that if the public plan is enacted, the insurance companies will find ways to game the system again. Never mind that the Right has recognized the slippery slope argument, and that is why they are so adamantly against it.
This calls for an obvious change in the Democrats’ strategy. Up to now they have tried hard to keep the voices for single payer out of the debate. They have reassured the Republicans that single payer isn’t even “on the table.” If they want to have a chance to get the public option through Congress, it’s time for a new strategy. Time to play the single-payer card.
Purely from a strategic perspective, the president should put single payer back on the table and start explaining to the people all the advantages of Medicare for All. Then, when the going gets tough in the trenches of Congress, they can compromise and settle for the public option, and a muscular enough public option that it could serve as a model (a slippery slope) for an eventual single-payer system.
Of course, maybe once the single-payer cat is out of the bag, the weight of logic and public support will just push the insurance gang right out of the way.
Never forget our fall back position, no federal solution that precludes states from instituting their own single payer option.