Right-wing media are shocked by a recent interview in which Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) says he supports single-payer health care and are claiming Conyers's statement "confirms" that the health care bill is "a Trojan horse for an eventual government takeover of health care." But Conyers' support for single-payer health care is not new, and his statement does not change the fact that the Affordable Care Act is still not a "government takeover" of health care.
Right-Wing Media Shocked By Conyers' Support For Single-Payer, Push Old "Trojan Horse" Falsehood
CNS Asks Conyers, "Do You See A Single-Payer System Ultimately?" In a March 14 article on CNSNews.com, Nicholas Ballasy reported on a conversation he had with Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) following a recent appearance at the National Press Club. Ballasy asked Conyers if he "see[s] a single-payer system ultimately in the United States." Conyers replied, "Of course. Universal health care--well, every industrial country on the planet already has a universal system of health care." Ballasy also asked Conyers if "Obama's health-care law will lead to a single payer health-care system in the U.S." Conyers responded, "Well it's a platform. I don't think they flow smoothly but without that, if we didn't have this [sic] then health care, universal health care would be an even more difficult legislative objective." [CNSNews.com, 03/14/11]
Fox Nation: "Conyers Admits The Truth About Obamacare." Fox News' blog Fox Nation linked to the CNSNews.com article under the headline, "Conyers Admits The Truth About Obamacare." From Fox Nation:
[Fox Nation, 3/14/11]
Morrissey: Conyers Confirmed That Reform Bill Is "A Trojan Horse For An Eventual Government Takeover Of Health Care." In a March 15 post on Hot Air about Conyers' interview, Ed Morrissey referenced Politifact's 2010 lie of the year, which was that the health care reform bill was a "government takeover of health care," and said: "Remind me again about the Politifact 'biggest lie' of 2010. Or better yet, remind Rep. John Conyers, who tells CNS News that ObamaCare was a necessary step in the eventual government takeover of American health care." Morrissey further claimed:
As we have said all along, the entire structure is designed for failure. It's a Trojan horse for an eventual government takeover of health care in the vacuum of a collapse in health insurance, forced into failure through government regulation. Conyers simply confirms this long-term strategy. [Hot Air, 3/15/11]
The Blaze: Conyers "Admitted Obamacare Is Just A 'Platform'" For Single-Payer. A March 15 post on Glenn Beck's site The Blaze claimed, "In a few moments of candor on Monday, Democratic Rep. John Conyers (MI) admitted Obamacare is just a 'platform,' or a step, toward an eventual government takeover of health care." [The Blaze, 3/15/11]
But Conyers' Support For Single Payer Doesn't Refute That The Reform Bill Is Not A "Government Takeover"
PolitiFact: "Government Takeover Of Health Care" Is The "Lie Of The Year." In its article declaring "a government takeover of health care" the Lie of the Year, PolitiFact wrote:
"Government takeover" conjures a European approach where the government owns the hospitals and the doctors are public employees. But the law Congress passed, parts of which have already gone into effect, relies largely on the free market:
· Employers will continue to provide health insurance to the majority of Americans through private insurance companies.
· Contrary to the claim, more people will get private health coverage. The law sets up "exchanges" where private insurers will compete to provide coverage to people who don't have it.
· The government will not seize control of hospitals or nationalize doctors.
· The law does not include the public option, a government-run insurance plan that would have competed with private insurers.
· The law gives tax credits to people who have difficulty affording insurance, so they can buy their coverage from private providers on the exchange. But here too, the approach relies on a free market with regulations, not socialized medicine.
PolitiFact reporters have studied the 906-page bill and interviewed independent health care experts. We have concluded it is inaccurate to call the plan a government takeover because it relies largely on the existing system of health coverage provided by employers.
It's true that the law does significantly increase government regulation of health insurers. But it is, at its heart, a system that relies on private companies and the free market.
Republicans who maintain the Democratic plan is a government takeover say that characterization is justified because the plan increases federal regulation and will require Americans to buy health insurance.
But while those provisions are real, the majority of Americans will continue to get coverage from private insurers. And it will bring new business for the insurance industry: People who don"t [sic] currently have coverage will get it, for the most part, from private insurance companies. [PolitiFact, 12/16/10]
Klein: Health Care Legislation Will Create "A Uniquely American System." In a June 9, 2009, Washington Post article, "Health Reform for Beginners: The Difference Between Socialized Medicine, Single-Payer Health Care, and What We'll Be Getting," columnist Ezra Klein explained that "the promiscuous use of the terms" single-payer and socialized health care "has created a rather confused population." According to Klein, "[W]hat we're actually going to get is not socialized medicine or single-payer health care. It's a hybrid system." Unlike the Canadian system, the American system will have "private doctors and private hospitals" and will "be a uniquely American system, and hard to describe with a single epithet." [Washington Post, 6/9/09]
Obama Has Rejected Canadian-Style Single-Payer System And U.K.-Style Nationalized Health Care. During a March 26, 2009, online town hall discussion, Obama was asked, "Why can we not have a universal health care system, like many European countries, where people are treated based on needs rather than financial resources?" He replied, in part, "I actually want a universal health care system," adding that rather than adopting a "single-payer system" like Canada's, "what I think we should do is to build on the system that we have and fill some of these gaps." [White House, 3/26/09]
Nor Is His Statement Surprising: Conyers Has Always Supported A Single-Payer Health Care System
Conyers Sponsored HR 676, A Single-Payer Health Care Bill. Conyers has consistently supported a single-payer system, writing and sponsoring H.R. 676, "The American People's Universal Health Care Bill." On his campaign website, Conyers wrote:
It is my belief that the best way to create an efficient, cost effective, and high quality universal health care system in the United States is to pass H.R. 676, and establish a non-profit universal single payer program that would be similar to an improved "Medicare for all" program. [JohnConyers.com, accessed 03/16/11]
Conyers Praised Passage Of Health Care Bill, While Still Saying He'd Work Towards "A Single-Payer System." In a March 21, 2010, press release, Conyers praised the passage of the health care reform bill while continuing to express his preference and support of a single-payer system. From his press release:
Today is a momentous day. After nearly a century of failed efforts, Congress has passed the first comprehensive set of reforms to our ailing healthcare system.
Let me be clear. This is not a perfect bill. I would have preferred a different approach that covered more people. But let me address those who oppose this bill. Tomorrow, they are going to wake up and our democracy will still stand. We will continue to live in the greatest country with the hardest working, most patriotic, freedom loving citizens on the planet.
We will not end our efforts to improve our health system with the passage of this bill. Just as we have improved Medicare and Social Security, so too will we strengthen this initial package of reforms.
Adoption of a single-payer system is the only long-term means to eliminate the corporate-medical-industrial-complex which threatens to undermine our health system with continued rising costs and an insatiable desire to pass costs onto already burdened citizens. For-profit investor-owned hospitals, prescription drug companies, and medical device manufacturers are just as culpable as the health insurance industry and future reforms must seek to address the profits first mindset that prevails in these industries.
Tonight, this bill has passed and we should celebrate it. Tomorrow we will begin the work to make it better - to truly secure health care as a human right. [U.S. Rep. John Conyer's House Website, 3/21/10]