Cassandra herself has a very important point to make following a riff on single-payer as the secular equivalent of the rapture:
Comment @3 is a big example of what is wrong with the single payer arguments as made — lots and lots of claims made for how much better it is, but no discussion on how it would be implemented here. Implementation is the battle and there is a reason Dems took it off the table. The politics does matter.
This comment is spot on, because the politics and the motives do matter.
Here's the comment from that thread I wanted to rescue, or kidnap, from [unfortunately] an anonymous:
Single-payer is nice if you can get it.
Until then, ugly as it is, a public option is more progressive than what we have now, because the haves will be taxed to pay for coverage for the have-nots, who are currently not being covered at all.
Once the taxes get high enough, the haves will rebel and look for cost savings, which will be found by moving to single-payer.
(well, first they will try to cut service or kick the have-nots out to save money, but we won’t let ‘em).
Anonymous [not to be confused with Anonone, who at least has a distinctive persona] is a primary example of what many opponents or skeptics about health care reform fear: that the object of the process is as much to raise taxes on the haves as it is to extend health care to the have nots.
Within the health care debate, unlike the presidential campaign season wherein then-Senator Obama defined those who needed to pay more as families with incomes over $250K, the current plans on the table include taxes on workers with health insurance whose premium value exceeds $13K per year: which is, to cite but one example, any Delaware State employee with a Family Health Plan.
In other words: a school bus driver or cafeteria worker making $18-22K per years is suddenly a have for tax purposes in the progressive health care agenda.
We tend to forget that when we say 50 million Americans do not have health insurance we are also saying that over 250 million Americans do have such coverage, and that those 250 million folks cover an extremely broad range of incomes. It is even true that many who do have health insurance make less money than some who don't.
What I've noticed in the health care debate is what the military tends to call mission creep. First, we were talking about making sure that all Americans had access the health care, which generally meant making sure that the 50 million with no health insurance had at the very least basic access. Then we started expanding this to tinkering with the issue of under-insurance and regulating the profits of the insurance companies. Then we moved into discussing a public option that anyone would be able to take, paid for by the taxpayers but nonetheless somehow on a level playing field with private insurance. Then we had the people talking about the public option as only a stealth pre-cursor of single-payer.
Finally, full circle, we have those who think health care reform is the perfect excuse to ramp up government to address perceived wealth inequities in our country, and to redistribute resources between the have and have nots.
When you reach that point, you're no longer talking primarily about health care any more.
Which is why so many people don't trust so many of the so-called advocates for change.