Public (and younger doctors) favor single-payer and other progressive measures

The billionaire Koch brothers, massive funders of all manner of right-wing candidates and organizations, who are totally against any government regulations that hinder their ability to make money (especially environmental and climate change measures), conducted a survey to measure public opinion on various issues and, would you know it, while the public agreed with them on vague general principles such as “the right to personal property is key to a free and just society”, on practical matters the public seems to be in favor of the very things they hate.

For instance, the poll found that 66 percent of Americans would find “government-paid college tuition” as a “very effective” or “somewhat effective solution” to social barriers, with more than half of those lining up on the “very effective” side.

A $15 minimum wage was almost as popular in the poll, with 35 percent saying it would be a very effective solution and a further 30 percent saying it would be a somewhat effective solution.

A third of respondents believe that more regulation of Wall Street would be very effective, while 36 percent said it would be somewhat effective. Nearly seven in 10 respondents said increasing government assistance for child care would be a very or somewhat effective policy response to social barriers.

The top concern of those polled is the growing cost of health care, with 92 percent saying it is a problem. A combined 55 percent said a government-run health care system would be a very or somewhat effective policy response.

These results are consistent with other surveys that show increasing support for many of the issues that Bernie Sanders and other progressives have championed and are now being embraced, if somewhat reluctantly, by the Democratic party establishment.

Meanwhile, it appears that even the next generation of doctors are going against their elders and are in favor of single-payer health care too.

When the American Medical Association — one of the nation’s most powerful health care groups — met in Chicago this June, its medical student caucus seized an opportunity for change.

Though they had tried for years to advance a resolution calling on the organization to drop its decades-long opposition to single-payer health care, this was the first time it got a full hearing. The debate grew heated — older physicians warned their pay would decrease, calling younger advocates naïve to single-payer’s consequences. But this time, by the meeting’s end, the AMA’s older members had agreed to at least study the possibility of changing its stance.

“We believe health care is a human right, maybe more so than past generations,” said Dr. Brad Zehr, a 29-year-old pathology resident at Ohio State University, who was part of the debate. “There’s a generational shift happening, where we see universal health care as a requirement.”

Single payer is coming. The only question is when, and how much the lobbies for the health insurance, hospitals, and drug industries are willing to fight to retain the current wasteful and cruel system. The fight will get ugly.


  1. jazzlet says

    Good to see the younger doctors are in favour of a single payer system, you may manage to avoid some of the problems the NHS ended up with due to having to leave GP’s (PCP’s) as essentially contractors.

  2. lorn says

    Good post. Well said.

    I offer one small correction: I think the line … “who are totally against any government regulations that hinder their ability to make money” … significantly mis-characterizes their specific motivation and goals. Their concern may be presently focused on ‘making money’ but their goal is much simpler. They seek to create a world where there are no controls or regulation on how they use their money and property. Where human rights and common goods necessary to human survival are entirely secondary to their right to use money and property as one sees fit. To use money to make more money, or to fritter it away.

    They seek absolute primacy for the rights of money and property, not just the more parochial rights of individuals and corporations to seek profit without interference.

  3. Holms says

    I still have one small reservation: that $15 figure that has become something of a mantra for progressives. It seems that the only reason people arrived at it is that it is a multiple of 5 in about the right region. Shouldn’t it be calculated based on some sort of economy / cost of living type analysis? Of course that approach has the downside that it might arrive at something unattractive, $14.83, $16.02 or whatever, but wouldn’t that be better than simply going for a number that looks tidy?

    Anyway, the important thing is that once the number is settled on, it must be linked to economic growth rather than letting it stall again.

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