Take a trip with me, in the Wayback Machine, to those heady days where there were endless hearings on the Affordable Care Act, where conservative pundits and politicians were dutifully booked on the Sunday shows to bemoan the dangers of the "government takeover" of medicine, and how even Canadians crossed the borders to take advantage of the fantastic medical services offered in America.
Good times, eh?
Funny how a little time and a largely successful ACA program changes things. Despite the constant (and media-unchallenged) drumbeat of awful the legislation was, the reality was that ACA worked fairly well (in areas that the Republicans allowed it to, that is). And more importantly, it staked ground in the paradigm-shifting idea that healthcare was a right, not an entitlement.
And as any political science student can tell you, it's really difficult to take away rights once granted. So despite the GOP's best efforts to gaslight us into believing that they haven't taken anything away, the fact remains that other than Donald Trump and a bunch of Republicans in the House, no one believes this bill will improve healthcare for Americans. Just look at this partial list of organizations who have condemned AHCA:
American Academy of Family Physicians
American College of Nurse-Midwives
American Academy of Pediatrics
American Medical Association
American Psychiatric Association
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
American Hospital Association
American College of Physicians
American Congress of OB/GYNs
American Osteopathic Association
American Nurses Association
American Public Health Association
American Heart Association
American Diabetes Association
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
March of Dimes
That's quite a list. Maybe that's why we're seeing reliably conservative pundits like Matthew Dowd here and Charles Krauthammer coming around to the notion that single payer is inevitable.
As Obamacare continues to unravel, it won’t take much for Democrats to abandon that Rube Goldberg wreckage and go for the simplicity and the universality of Medicare-for-all. Republicans will have one last chance to try to persuade the country to remain with a market-based system, preferably one encompassing all the provisions that, for procedural reasons, had been left out of their latest proposal.
Don’t be surprised, however, if, in the end, single-payer wins out.
It will no doubt horrify Ryan to hear that, as committed as he is to Randian economics (though not Randian realities), but let's face it: Conservatives pundits, whose primary interests lie in keeping a working Republican Party intact, can see the writing on the wall. The AHCA isn't going to get more popular when the CBO score and the impact of their draconian and cruel cuts manifest themselves.
But hey, if we can convince Matthew Dowd, how long before the rest of the pundit class will start claiming single payer as a solid, conservative value that both sides should embrace?