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Reminder: No One Disputes the Legality of Single Payer

With the Supreme Court arguing the legality of the Affordable Care Act, it is a good time to remember that almost nobody disputes that single payer, such as Medicare for All, would be undoubtedly constitutional. Even Michael Carvin, one of the lead lawyers arguing (for the non-state private opponents) that the individual mandate is unconstitutional admitted today that single payer would be clearly legal. From the Supreme Court transcript:

JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: So the — I — I want to understand the choices you’re saying Congress has. Congress can tax everybody and set up a public health care system.


JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: That would be okay?

MR. CARVIN: Yes. Tax power is –


MR. CARVIN: I would accept that.

If Democrats had created a simple, straight forward single payer system or merely provided the uninsured with a default public insurance program, the constitutionality of health care reform would likely never have gotten to the Supreme Court.

I also suspect such a simple and easy to understand law would also have been radically more popular than the Affordable Care Act.

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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