The Single-Payer Party - Granite Grok

The Single-Payer Party

In a previous post, I considered the question:  How can people who prefer safety to freedom coexist with people who prefer freedom to safety?  The former are always going to be tempted to accomplish their goals by gaining control of the levers of government, in order to force the latter to go along with their agenda.

But what if they could get what they want, without doing that?  Because they surely can, if they’ll just do one simple thing. 

When the agenda involves taking money from some people in order to spend it on others, the justification is often that ‘unless everyone participates, there won’t be enough money’.  But that’s not actually true.

There are at least 60 million registered Democrats.  (Not all states register voters by party, so the total is certainly larger than that.)  This makes the Democratic party larger than most European countries:

Country Population
Germany 82.8 million
France 67.2 million
United Kingdom 66.0 million
Italy 60.6 million
Spain 46.5 million
Netherlands 17.1 million
Belgium 11.4 million
Greece 10.8 million
Sweden 10.0 million
Switzerland 8.4 million
Denmark 5.8 million
Finland 5.5 million
Norway 5.3 million

Here’s what that means:  If the UK can implement a single-payer health care system, so can the Democratic Party.

This isn’t something that would have been feasible a generation ago.  But technology now makes it easy to collect the money and pay the bills.  The participants don’t have to share geographical areas.  They just have to share a vision — a vision in which they pool their resources and use them to provide ‘free’ health care to any registered Democrat.

That is, every registered Democrat could have access to a single-payer system by the end of the year, if they would just give up the idea of dragging along a bunch of  other people who don’t want what they want, and who will take any opportunity to sabotage their efforts to set that system up using government.

It’s not such a difficult concept, is it?  Imagine that you’re trying to swim across a pond, but there’s a rope around one leg, tied to a large boulder.  You’ll get there faster if you cut the rope.  In fact, if you don’t cut the rope, it’s likely that you’ll never get there at all.

So you:

  1. Register as a Democrat.
  2. Provide the party with your tax returns and other financial information, so it can determine your fair share of the cost of the program.
  3. Provide access to your bank account, so you can be billed for your fair share.
  4. Have your doctor send your bills to the party.

What could be simpler?  You and George Clooney each pay what you can afford, and you each get the help you need, whatever that turns out to be.

Of course, the party would have to figure out what to do about things like pre-existing conditions.  (Otherwise, anyone diagnosed with an expensive disease would immediately register as a Democrat, right?)

But that’s part of the value of this approach.  If it turns out that pre-existing conditions aren’t really a big deal, they’ll find that out, and demonstrate it to everyone else.  If they are a big deal, they’ll be free to come up with a compassionate solution, which everyone else can then emulate.

To return to our theme:  As far as health care goes, this divides the country into two groups — those who prefer safety to freedom, and those who prefer freedom to safety.  But they don’t have to segregate into different states or countries.  They can continue to share a common language, a common currency, a common culture, and so on. But just because they belong to the program, that doesn’t mean their neighbors have to.

Note too, that once they’ve got Democratic single-payer medical care working, there’s nothing to keep them from expanding the idea to Democratic single-payer schools, Democratic single-payer college, Democratic single-payer housing, or even Democratic single-payer eating, if they’d like.  The possibilities are endless.

When we think about entire states doing this kind of thing, we all it ‘federalism’, and it was one of the central features in the original design of our government.  If a state tried something, and it worked well, other states could choose to adopt it.  If it worked badly, the other states wouldn’t get dragged down too.

I’m talking about the exact same thing, except implemented by political parties rather than states.  So we might call this ‘partisanism’.

Now, when I discuss this with people, they often raise this objection: ‘But Democrats don’t really want this kind of solution.  They just want to have power over everyone.’

That might be true.  If it is, then this can’t work if all those registered Democrats wait around for their party leaders to implement it.  It can only work if there is pressure from the bottom up, if people understand the idea and start asking their leaders:  Why are you preventing us from getting what we all want?  Why are you — not the Republicans — standing in our way?

I really believe that this is a workable alternative for many situations where people now think they have to use government to take your property.  But what about people who want to use government to restrict your activities?

Next:  Separating vice and sin from crime.