Progressives Debate Transitioning to a Single Payer System

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FEATURING JOSHUA HOLLAND AND MICHAEL LIGHTY – Soon after the GOP lost its last bid to repeal the Affordable Care Act, two Democratic House members, John Conyers and Ro Khanna challenged Representatives to sign on to a pledge supporting a transition to a Single Payer, or Medicare-for-All system. Conyers introduced a bill in January for Single Payer healthcare that has drawn backing from 115 representatives so far.

But some progressives and liberals are cautioning against jumping on the Single Payer bandwagon. Joshua Holland wrote an article in The Nation headlined, “Medicare-for-All Isn’t the Solution for Universal Health Care,” where he warns against a backlash to Single Payer and suggests there are reformist approaches that might work better. A few days later Paul Krugman declared in the New York Times, “there are more important priorities,” and asked, “Is this really where progressives want to spend their political capital?”

Advocates of Single Payer have hit back. Michael Lighty of the National Nurses United responded in Commondreams.org, “In the name of political reality, some liberal pundits, politicians and policy wonks are scolding progressives to give up on Medicare for All. They are dead wrong.”

Joshua Holland, contributor to The Nation and a fellow at the Nation Institute. He’s also the host of Politics and Reality Radio and Michael Lighty, Director of Public Policy for National Nurses United.

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