2009-08-08 Reply to critics

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Conservatives never base their opposition to single-payer on the ground that it is "politically infeasible." They oppose single-payer on policy grounds and they say so. The "political feasibility" argument is used exclusively by proponents of universal health insurance who profess to admire single-payer systems but who refuse to support single-payer legislation in any meaningful way (and often support legislation that impedes single-payer's progress) on the ground that single-payer cannot be enacted, soon or at all. Merton Bernstein and Ted Marmor refer to these people as "political yes buts."

"Political yes buts" have been lecturing single-payer advocates since the modern American single-payer movement began in the late 1980s. Several "yes buts" took issue with a comment I posted on July 20 on this blog entitled "Bait and switch: How the 'public option' was sold." In that comment, I compared the original version of the "public option" promoted by Jacob Hacker, the intellectual godfather of the idea, and Health Care for America Now (HCAN) with the version incorporated in two bills introduced by congressional Democrats in July.