Single-Payer Healthcare attacks may have ulterior motives
Seth Ackerman debunks anti-single payer arguments in Jacobin (1/25/16).
With the first nomination contest only two days away, the corporate media reaction to Bernie Sanders’ surprisingly strong campaign, while not reaching Jeremy Corbyn-level hysteria, has reached a noticeable panic—one marked by let’s-not-upset-the-base qualified criticism and exquisitely curated concern-trolling. The most cynical argument being advanced is that Sanders’ support for a single-payer health program is a pie-in-the-sky fantasy, in contrast to the pragmatic incrementalism promised by Hillary Clinton.
Seth Ackerman over at Jacobin wrote a good breakdown Monday of these attacks, detailing why the gatekeeper left media’s handwringing over Sanders’ single-payer proposal is disingenuous ideology-policing rather than an objective analysis based on the actual policy merits of the plan. The arguments being made by critics—specifically Ezra Klein and Matthew Yglesias at Vox, and by the Washington Post—basically boil down to two objections: Sanders’ single-payer proposal is not “realistic” and too “vague.”
As well as debunking these two central claims, Ackerman notes the political convenience of pundits suddenly bashing single-payer who used to note its advantages. It’s smart and well worth a read as a policy primer, but there’s something lingering behind the anti-single payer arguments that goes beyond mere “base management” and pro-establishment bias.
Almost all of the outlets Ackerman references as pushing back on single payer are owned by large media corporations with sizable investments in private healthcare and its current neoliberal iteration, the Affordable Care Act. They have not just a political and ideological incentive to maintain private healthcare, but a tremendous financial one as well.