March 28, 2012


If the U.S. Supreme Court rejects the individual mandate for healthcare this summer (and even if it doesn't), we should be aware that this was never a real solution and that something better is available. We should make Congress and our state legislatures aware now.

Tell them single-payer healthcare is the way.

Most rich countries spend much less on healthcare and provide it for everyone without mandating the purchase of health insurance from private corporations. They use non-profit systems like single-payer that cut out the middleman, the bureaucracy, the advertising, and the profit motive.

Congress has the Constitutional right to pass laws "necessary and proper for carrying into execution" its powers, including providing for the "general welfare." Medicare and veterans' healthcare are single-payer systems that could easily be expanded to include everyone. It is arguably not "necessary and proper" to require people to buy an expensive, inadequate product from a private corporation.

If the individual mandate ends, let's not lose heart. Let's seize the opportunity. States are moving ahead with single-payer, but Obama's healthcare law included measures aimed at making it harder for states to act. Vermont has passed single-payer and is struggling with these hurdles now.

An amendment to fix this was passed in House committee during the 2009 healthcare debate but then unceremoniously stripped out by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Tell Congress to allow states to create single-payer now.