Former Montana Senator Max Baucus, one of the primary architects of the Affordable Care Act, now believes the U.S. needs to “start looking at single-payer.” During an interview at Montana State University last night, the self-centered, Wall Street-funded centrist who was throughly disliked on both sides of the aisle, said he believes a government-run, universal system is right around the corner: “I think we should have hearings. We’re getting there. It’s going to happen.”
While this particular endorsement won’t really sway anyone to support single-payer (it may in fact do just the opposite) it is still rather stunning. Baucus was a key figure in the neoliberal push to ensure Obama’s healthcare plan was not single-payer and did not include a universal option. The idea was to keep the plan less ambitious in hopes that it would receive some republican support. It didn’t. Baucus was never an ideologue, and he certainly wasn’t bold. While Baucus no longer holds public office, his surprising statement proves that the prospect of implementing a single-payer system in the U.S. is no longer a radical idea.
Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris all now support single-payer. The left edge of the party, a large portion of which was emboldened by Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign and subsequent activism, feels very strongly about single-payer and its benefits. Sanders supporters, by-in-large, have no patience for incrementalists, and their unwavering, passionate support for a single-payer program has persuaded more generally centrist politicians to embrace the idea.
Max Baucus just endorsed single-payer.
We are not in Kansas anymore.
Written by Jesse Mechanic
Jesse Mechanic is the editor in chief of The Overgrown.