Fresh off their Nov. 2 midterm victories, newly energized Republicans are rattling sabers at President Obama’s signature healthcare legislation. But single payer advocates in Massachusetts and Vermont that night made tremendous headway.
Benjamin Day, executive director for the single payer advocacy group Mass Care, reported that single payer ballot measures passed overwhelmingly in all 14 Massachusetts legislative districts where they were fielded. This is telling in a state that first implemented the individual mandate as a solution to its healthcare woes, an idea that was the basis for the federal reforms. It’s obvious that many Massachusetts residents wanted a better solution, and that’s single payer.
Vermont could become the first state to establish a single payer system, thanks to the election of Peter Shumlin, whose pro-single payer platform propelled him into the governorship.With both of the state’s U.S. Senators single payer supporters, and a legislature very much open to the idea, things are looking quite good for Vermont residents.
Here in California, Democrat Jerry Brown’s defeat of Republican Meg Whitman in the governor’s race puts single payer in a better position than it had been during Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s tenure. Schwarzenegger vetoed single payer bills twice. Although Brown has not publicly given a position on single payer, he backs the Obama administration’s efforts at expanding access to health care. Whitman had campaigned to repeal the federal health reform legislation. Meanwhile, state Sen. Mark Leno plans to re-introduce California’s single payer bill, SB 810, next year.
For a roundup on other single payer efforts, click here.