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The US Healthcare Conversation Is Shifting Toward Universal Care

Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer made a cogent argument the other day on where the healthcare debate is headed, predicting a single payer system within seven years.

It’s an astonishing position to take, considering that Krauthammer is a Fox News pundit with a conservative agenda. His prediction breaks with party lines, contravening the current GOP direction.

I’m not sure I agree with everything he says — whether, for example, the ‘Obamacare exchanges’ are ‘collapsing’ and ‘disintegrating’ as he claims, but the ACA (Obamacare) did indeed face enormous problems in terms of its own ontology and application, not simply because of the GOP’s fanatical resistance to it but because it was a tricky policy to apply in and of itself. It faced a number of complications on the ground, as Krauthammer correctly pointed out.

But the ACA did win the day. Ultimately. Over the years the conversation has shifted to its crux point, namely, that health insurance is not just another tradable product to be handled on the market willy-nilly, not without moral and foundational support from both the state and culture at large.


There! The genie’s out of the bottle. The debate will never be the same again.

Will Trump and Co. take offense, dubbing both Charles Krauthammer and Fox News fake, just like they did with CNN, The New York Times and the BBC over the course of the past few months? Probably.

Or this piece of news may get lost in the whirlwind of everything that’s going on — just another soundbite gone unnoticed, avoiding the ire of Trump’s petulant White House administration.

Whatever the case, this is a fascinating set of statements by Krauthammer.

It’s evident that something has truly changed in the overall healthcare debate. The process of reconceptualizing the system is underway, despite, if not because of, the callous GOP reaction and their notorious replacement bill, the AHCA.

The AHCA may be a new thing, so new it’s not reality yet — it still has to pass the Senate — but it doesn’t have much of a future. Already a correction is brewing, a backlash to the backlash it represents, one that will offset the GOP’s unforgivable choices.

It may take time to unfold, this correction, but one can hear the wrapping paper crackling in the distance.

It’s a shame it has to go down this way. We could do without the grief and malice, all this foul energy surrounding the way we care for those in need.

Then again, it’s hardly surprising. Like it or not, the road to heaven passes through hell. A cliche, but valid. To consolidate true reform we have to stray off the path for a moment. The AHCA is our sobering act, the doozie we have to deal with to get a grip and reorient ourselves; a nasty step backwards that will in due course bring about two big steps forward, consolidating the shift toward universal healthcare.

As the days pass, all eyes on the Senate, then on the Conference that debates the various changes and provisions in the new bill, then on public opinion itself — see how the conversation shifts and settles around what matters. Finding ways to craft a system that caters to all people regardless of their income is tantamount, a process in the making, not because socialism is the right way to go but because providing healthcare to all people creates a stronger, more cohesive country, a country based on decency and altruism, which makes for a better and more stable future.

This has nothing to do with leftist ideology. It’s about sober pragmatism. Yes, there are those on the left who support universal healthcare for the wrong reasons, saying that capital is evil, lobbying for the need to pummel the country into flatlined equality, so that everyone is absolutely level for ever, but that has nothing to do with it. Universal healthcare makes sense because we’re at a point in civilization where we can afford to look for ways to care for individuals within a system that caters to everyone’s needs, to each their own, all the while figuring out ways to prevent the welfare swindlers and scroungers, of whom there are plenty, from abusing the system.

We’re at a point in history where we know that giving an assurance to all people through health insurance is the wise and viable thing to do in the long run, a sacrifice well-crafted. We can’t afford to play fractious ideological games over it, screaming bloody prohibition on account of some individuals taking advantage of the system.

It’s like the issue of guns, or drugs. Just because some individuals abuse guns doesn’t mean we have to outlaw gun ownership. Just because some people abuse drugs . . .

Part 2 to follow