On Sunday, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) appeared on CNN's State of the Union with Jake Tapper to argue that the healthcare plan that failed in his home state should be adopted for the entire nation.
To his credit, Tapper did not let this fly.
Progressives like Sanders are now using the Obamacare repeal debacle to push for a single-payer system. But if single-payer (a step left of Obamacare) is going to work for the whole country, why could it not work in Sanders' own home state of Vermont?
In 2011, the Vermont state legislature passed a bill to establish a single-payer healthcare system. It was a massive failure. By 2014, the state-wide healthcare plan was abandoned due to an unsustainable increase in taxes.
Just this past month in the ultra-blue state of California, state Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (a Democrat) pulled the single-payer legislation from consideration.
Tapper hit Sanders with this painfully obvious question: "These are cobalt-blue states, Vermont and California, where people wanted single-payer and there were problems because it would cost too much. How do you make it national if you can't even get it in Vermont or California?"
Sanders answered with a rant about Republicans, Wall Street and more of his favorite scape-goats, finally ending with:
"Well, politically, this is difficult. And, by the way, in California the debate is not over. It passed, I think, the Senate. It has now gone to the House and that debate will continue. Look, taking on the insurance companies, and the drug companies, taking on Wall Street, taking on a lot of powerful forces that make billions of dollars a year from the current health care system is not going to be easy."
Sanders is right: it would not be easy to create a nationalized single-payer healthcare system. As we have seen with the so-called Affordable Care Act, it is always difficult to make legislation work when it is at odds with reality.
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