At church this morning I was talking with Frank Hall about the medical reform debate upcoming in Congress. I noted that at a recent meeting with the "Mad As Hell Doctors" Mike Huntington had suggested that the legislation currently oozing its way through Congress would probably be worse than nothing. He thought if enacted it might place even bigger obstacles in the path to a single payer system of insurance in the United States. I agree, even though I do know thoughtful people who think that even bad legislation would be a foot in the door and would make genuine reforms later somewhat easier.
I opined that the key to real reform is not the current Republican politicians but Republicans and conservatives at the grass roots, and that a well-thought-out campaign to convince a lot of these people that a single payer system is a good idea after all (or at least a less bad idea than either the status quo or the currently proposed reforms) might be very possible. The rapidity with which George Wallace went from campaigning on a "segregation forever" platform to a friendship and racial togetherness stance after the Voting RIghts Act of 1965 brought large number of black people into voting booths in the southern states suggests that Republican politicians could change their tune on a dime if public opinion swung towards single-payer.
Frank suggested I start a group on Facebook called "Republicans for single payer" insurance, which sounded like an excellent idea to me. But before rushing off to do this, I took the precaution of googling "Republicans for single payer." I got 359,000 hits!
I still think it is a good idea, and am glad that a few people have already picked it up and run with it.