The Alan Katz Health Care Reform Blog

Health Care Reform From One Person's Perspective

A Single Payer Advocate’s Perspective on ABX1-1

Posted by Alan on January 14, 2008


Some people support a government-run health care system out of political expediency; others from a sincere belief it’s the right thing to do. While I disagree with this conclusion, I respect the passion and beliefs of sincere advocates like Stephen Schear. Mr. Schear is a founder of Health Access and author of Proposition 186, the single payer initiative defeated by California voters in 1994.

Mr. Schear is also a supporter of Assembly Bill X1-1, the health care reform package pieced together by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez. He has posted an open letter on the California Progress Report blog to California single payer advocates who oppose this legislation.

Most readers of this blog oppose single payer schemes. Yet Mr. Schear’s letter is worth reading regardless of your opinions. First, because he describes how ABX1-1 could lead to a government-run system. Second, because the issues the questions he raises need to be considered by anyone concerned about and committed to meaningful health care reform.

Too often in this country we refuse to listen to those with whom we disagree. Former Senator John Edwards has made ignoring “these people,” which seems to be anyone he chooses to attack on any given day, a centerpiece of his presidential campaign. Which may be one of the reasons he’s quickly becoming an also-ran in the Democratic primaries.

What Senator Edwards fails to understand is that hearing the other side can add depth to our own opinions and strengthen our own resolve. And it can remind us that the other side isn’t some objectified enemy we can label as “these people.” On the contrary. These people are real people we disagree with. That’s not only a very important distinction from the Edward’s perspective, it’s very much OK.

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