Sanders not to blame

September 24, 2014

Rutland Herald

A recent letter (“Single payer avoids problems,” Sept. 17) comes to the correct conclusion that single payer is the only way to guarantee health care for all in a cost-effective system. However, the letter seems to hold Sen. Bernie Sanders responsible for the passage of the Affordable Care Act instead of a national single-payer plan. The fault for that can hardly be put in the lap of Senator Sanders. Indeed, he has long introduced single-payer Medicare for All bills and did so during the ACA debate.

The Obama administration never put single payer on the table in 2009. And despite the energetic efforts of our own Congressional delegation to get support for an earlier implementation date for state-based single-payer plans, the timeline for that in the federal bill was set back to 2017 (Sanders did manage to get $12 billion for expansion of community health centers in the ACA).

There is no doubt that our current system wastes resources in high administrative costs for multiple payers and plans. These are resources that could be better spent on health care. Single payer is a more efficient way of raising funds for a health care system for all Vermonters. We are lucky that we have a congressional delegation that is supportive of our efforts to reach this goal.