Getting serious about a single payer system [Commentary]

Now that Obamacare has shown the country can accept health care reform, it's time for real reform
By James F. Burdick
For the Baltimore Sun, May 1, 2014

A single payer system — where the government pays for health costs — is now recognized by many in the U.S. as the best solution for our health care problems. It was taken "off the table" in 2009 by Sen. Max Baucus, A Montana Democrat who reportedly received more money from the pharmaceutical and health insurance industries than any other Congressman. But now the flood of single payer advocacy cannot be turned off by vested business interests. It is time to progress from the stereotype of single payer to having a serious discussion about it.

Ironically, even after its recent success in covering millions more Americans, the problems with the Affordable Care Act serve to illuminate the advantages of single payer. The public, although confused by the divisive rhetoric around health care reform, is coming to realize that the complexity of the law and the pursuit of insurance company profits are major problems for the ACA. Back in 2009, a majority of Americans favored a single payer-like system. The country may now lose patience with the protracted process of ACA implementation, with Republicans yapping at its heels, until 2020 when the final provision closing the Medicare prescription drug doughnut hole fully kicks in.