November 14, 2002
THE FINAL NAIL IN THE COFFIN:Gore Supports Single-Payer (Mark Halperin, Elizabeth Wilner, and Marc Ambinder, November 14, 2002, ABC News: The Note)
Al Gore now supports a single-payer national health care system.
On a stage in a synagogue on New York's Upper West Side Wednesday night, Gore made this stunning announcement to several hundred people in response to a question from the event's host.
Gore suggested he was hesitant to reveal his position at this forum — but then declared that he had come "reluctantly" to the conclusion that single-payer is the best solution to the nation's health insurance crisis.
He offered no details for what kind of system he would favor, or how he would propose transitioning to such a massive change.
Afterward, a Gore spokesman said that the former Vice President would offer more specifics in the future for what kind of plan he envisions.
Long supported by the left, single-payer plans involve all money spent on health care being collected by some public agency or trust fund, which then pays for comprehensive coverage, delivered privately and publicly, for all citizens.
Issues of taxation, quality of care, availability of care, and medical innovation are all implicated in such a system, with Canada's plan often used as the basis for understanding and analysis.
For Gore, this represents a shocking switch. Although many of the people who worked with Hillary Clinton and Ira Magaziner on the Clinton health care plan at the start of the Clinton/Gore Administration were intellectually and morally sympathetic to single-payer, it was rejected as being simply too radical and too big a political target.
I may volunteer to work on his campaign here in NH just because he'd lead the Democrats to a worse defeat than in 1994. Posted by Orrin Judd at November 14, 2002 9:03 PM