The Corner

Health Care

Single-Payer Politics: Choose Your Own Dead End

Jon Walker writes in The Week that single-payer enthusiasts need to change their tactics, because trying to placate doctors and hospitals creates insoluble political problems: By letting hospitals and specialists keep so much money, it makes it very difficult to make Medicare-for-all a clear financial winner for everyone else . . .  A strategy that gives hospitals so much money you need big tax increases but not enough to buy their support is a loser. Presumably, though, those tactics were adopted because the alternatives — even bigger tax increases, or a frontal attack on hospitals and doctors — look like even bigger losers.

What Walker’s analysis suggests, then, is something he doesn’t want to face: There is no set of tactics that is going to make single-payer a near-term or medium-term likelihood.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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