Love it or hate it, Obamacare is a starting point. Whether you welcome the idea of a single payer system or not, keep in mind that to have such a system close to “affordable” means major changes in the way you receive health care and what you receive as health care. It also means higher taxes for all and it means a two tiered health care system between those who can afford the care they want, when they want it and those who cannot.
Sen. Harry Reid: Obamacare ‘Absolutely’ A Step Toward A Single-Payer System
Avik Roy, Contributor
WASHINGTON – MAY 17: Senate Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) speaks to reporters after Democratic Caucus policy luncheons on Capitol Hill May 17, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
When I speak to conservatives about health care policy, I’m often asked the question: “Do you think that Obamacare is secretly a step toward single-payer health care?” I always explain that, while progressives may want single-payer, I don’t think that Obamacare is deliberately designed to bring about that outcome. Well, yesterday on PBS’ Nevada Week In Review, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) was asked whether his goal was to move Obamacare to a single-payer system. His answer? “Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes.”
In one sense, this isn’t shocking. Reid and many other Democrats, including President Obama, have often stated that their ideal health-care system is one in which the government abolishes the private insurance market. Video of the PBS discussion isn’t yet online, but here’s how Karoun Demirjian of the Las Vegas Sun described it:
Reid said he thinks the country has to “work our way past” insurance-based health care during a Friday night appearance on Vegas PBS’ program “Nevada Week in Review.”
“What we’ve done with Obamacare is have a step in the right direction, but we’re far from having something that’s going to work forever,” Reid said.
When then asked by panelist Steve Sebelius whether he meant ultimately the country would have to have a health care system that abandoned insurance as the means of accessing it, Reid said: “Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes.”