Single-payer systems are so named because they provide universal health coverage with one entity, usually the national government, footing the bill. Many countries, including our northern neighbor, Canada, offer such programs, often paid with increased taxation. Multiple European nations operate hybrid models, which incorporate similar socialist elements.
Until now, the United States has resisted such measures. However, one of our country’s major political parties is on the brink of full commitment.
Several prominent Democratic figureheads have already promised their support for Sanders’ plan. The list includes a few household names:
- Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
- Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York
- Sen. Kamala Harris of California
- Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon
The turnaround is remarkable. Just last year, the Democratic nominee for president refused to endorse a “Medicare for All” proposal. Now, left-leaning presidential hopefuls are flocking to a version proposed by a man who isn’t even, technically speaking, a Democrat.
Further, a summer poll by Pew Research states that 52 percent of Democratic-leaning voters are in favor of a nationally run health system. This is an increase from previous years, and matches general results from other polling sources. It’s undeniable: the numbers highlight a steady, upward trend.
When the Democratic Party sweeps back into power, which it will, sooner or later, single-payer health care will be at the top of the coalition’s legislative priorities.
As the party seeks consolidation in the era of President Donald Trump, and is reminded of the bruising rebuke of last year’s pragmatically minded platform, more leaders may soon come to support the single-payer option.
If the next Democratic presidential nominee runs on a single-payer platform, he or she will have a defined ideal to compete against opposing plans. The lack of such a focus dogged the Hillary Clinton campaign, which faced the simple, if abhorrent, appeal of Trump’s “make America great again” message.
The country is quickly headed in the direction of a national, single-payer health care system. The only question is when.