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Barney Frank: Public Option is Best Way to Reach Single Payer (Video)

Morgen on July 27, 2009 at 5:46 pm

Last we checked in with Barney Frank, he was embarrassingly trying to re-write the history of the financial crisis. Well, apparently he is feeling a little left out of the spotlight on healthcare reform, because he gave a doozy of an interview today with the advocacy group Single Payer Action. Watch:

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Partial transcript (slightly edited for continuity):

Interviewer: Don’t you think we should scratch everything and start anew with single payer? Why not?

Frank: No…because we don’t have the votes for it. I wish we did. I think if we get a good public option it could lead to single payer, and that’s the best way to reach single payer. Saying you’ll do nothing until you get single payer is a sure way never to get it.

Interviewer: Right now, it’s not a strong public option, is it?

Frank: Well, we don’t know what the plan is. I’m for a strong public option. I think your strategy is suicidal for trying to get single payer. I think the best way we’re going to get single payer – the only way – is to have a public option demonstrate its strength and power.

I’m sure none of this comes as any surprise to our readers. The public plan “option” was specifically designed as a more politically viable strategy for moving the country to a single payer model. This is fact, not opinion – in spite of the President’s ongoing accusations that we and others are lying about this. And while the President’s healthcare initiative is currently faltering in Congress due to its astronomical costs, opposition to the public plan continues to grow. For example, this Ramussen poll of likely voters from earlier this month pegs support for the public plan at only 35%, with 50% firmly in opposition.

Which makes this a good time to point out something else that is not drawing much attention in the media. Not only is the President’s healthcare plan garnering opposition from conservatives, and increasingly from moderate voters, but many liberal single payer advocates are opposed to ObamaCare as well. Single Payer Action is only one of many organized groups, including some which seem to be very well funded including PNHP and 1 Payer.Net. Keep this in mind as the President’s polling numbers continue to drop: many on the Left are not happy with him either. Because they don’t believe the public plan will lead to single payer quickly enough, if at all. And many of them also don’t like the disingenuous nature of the strategy, especially coming out of an election which Democrats handily won.

While we may not agree with the ideology underlying a single payer system, I think these groups should be commended for advocating openly and honestly for the principles that they believe in. This is more than can be said for most Democratic members of Congress, as we’ve seen. There are many Americans who support the single payer model, and their voices deserve to be heard too. In fact, given the disastrous legislation that the Administration is trying to force through Congress, it appears that we are actually united with single payer advocates at the moment. It truly is time to scrap the whole process and start over.

Update: Considering his comments in this video, it’s no surprise that Barney Frank signed a letter last week pledging that he would not vote for any bill that does not include the public option.

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Category: Health & Education, Politics |

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