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Gibbs Says Single Payer Supporters on Drugs; Was Obama Using in 2003?

President Obama’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, decided to attack single payer health care, a system used very effectively in many first-world countries, as some wacky, crazy idea.

“I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested,” Gibbs said. “I mean, it’s crazy.”

The press secretary dismissed the “professional left” in terms very similar to those used by their opponents on the ideological right, saying, “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality.”

Of those who complain that Obama caved to centrists on issues such as healthcare reform, Gibbs said: “They wouldn’t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president.”

It pains me to see a Democratic administration attacking the idea of single payer as an idea so unrealistic that you must be high on drugs to push for it. The push for universal single payer health care, Medicare for all, has been was a goal of the Democratic party for decades.  Virtually every single health care economist or policy expert on the left, after examining the domestic and international data, has concluded that single payer either is the best way or is among the best ways to provide universal health care. I guarantee that you won’t find a single expert on the left who thinks the system created by the new health care law is markedly superior to single payer.

We know that single payer is a fair and dramatically cheaper way to provide health insurance. America’s single payer health care system for those over 65, Medicare, is very popular and is a clear success.

As recently as seven years ago, even Barack Obama was a public supporter of adopting single payer health care. So,  according to Gibbs, I guess we should question whether Obama was under the influence of drugs when he advocated for that logical position.

I’ve long accepted that we didn’t elect a Democratic president who is willing to fight for single payer health care, but today is truly a new and sad low. I never thought that we would have a Democratic administration that would actively mock and attack the idea of Medicare for all. Yes, the right wing and the private health insurance industry have won. Even a Democratic administration has thrown empirical evidence out the window and is now attacking “Canadian healthcare” as crazy for some reason.

I guess someone should tell Canadians, or even American seniors on Medicare, how terrible their single payer health care systems are, with their dramatically lower costs and much higher life expectancies. Either tell them, or parhaps just order up a whole heck of a lot of drug tests for them.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at