Single-Payer Isn’t So Simple

So argue Henry Aaron and Harold Pollack:

The slogan “Medicare for all” was never incorporated in a well-crafted legislative proposal. Had it been, it would have been even easier than Obamacare for Republicans to oppose. And implementation would have been formidably difficult. Had the transition to single-payer ever been specifically mapped out, it would immediately have become apparent that this process requires wholesale replacement or rewiring of employer-based coverage, major changes in the relations between states and the federal government. Hundreds of billions of dollars in transfers and new taxes would have been necessary. Enterprising constitutional conservatives surely would have identified plausible court challenges. What’s more, a phalanx of providers—hospitals, doctors, insurers, drug companies and device manufacturers—opposed single-payer proposals. Even such incremental moves as the public option evoked profound unease among insurers, community hospitals, and other key parts of the coalition that supported the ACA.