Tommy Douglas was a Canadian social-democratic politician who led the first ever social-democratic government in North America. While serving the province of Saskatchewan from 1944 to 1961, Douglas would introduce the North American continent’s first single-payer healthcare system.
After his success in Saskatchewan, Douglas moved to federal politics where he heavily influenced Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson into pushing for a Medicare System at the federal level. More than fifty years after the Medical Care Act was passed, Tommy Douglas is still regarded as the father of a healthcare system that 85% of Canadians are satisfied with. For his efforts, Douglas was voted the greatest Canadian by his fellow countrymen back in 2004.
There is a Tommy Douglas in every developed nation of course. All but one that is. To his credit, Bernie Sanders of Vermont is trying to change that, but the resistance is everywhere. Even resistance to Donald Trump is weaker by comparison.
Bernie Sander’s single-payer healthcare bill is getting significant support from some 2020 Democratic hopefuls, but only 1/3 of Democratic senators support it over all. In the House, Democratic support is a little better, around 60%.
Members of the Democratic Party like to call themselves liberals, some even dare call themselves progressives. Still, many of these same people reject the thought of healthcare as a human right. They even reject debating it.
Some of them in fact, reject the idea of single-payer based solely on their belief that it has no hope of being passed into law. Well, with that type of thinking, I should never support the Montreal Canadiens because they might not win the Stanley Cup.
It is downright shameful that Democrats continue to reject something that conservatives in other countries accepted a long time ago. By not supporting universal healthcare, Democrats continue to tell the poorest American people that they don’t deserve the health and services everyone else has.
Most Democrats, like Republicans are paid by their donors to believe (or not believe) in certain things. It is a fact that insurance industry lobbyists control the healthcare debate whether it is through politicians or the corporate media.
You rarely hear any discussion of single-payer healthcare on any major news networks like MSNBC, FOX or CNN. They sell advertising to the insurance and pharmaceutical industry. When they do mention Bernie Sanders or single-payer, it is usually in a negative light, even on liberal shows like Bill Maher.
Despite the resistance, single-payer healthcare is still a winning issue. It is what the people want when it is explained to them properly. After fighting and losing a corrupted battle against the Democratic establishment on the single-payer issue in the 2016 primary, Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in the United States.
In 2008, Barack Obama won the presidency partly based on healthcare reform. It’s unfortunate that Obama eventually decided on a Republican plan after Democrats chickened out on single-payer.
Whoever the Democratic nominee is in 2020, they will have a far better chance of winning their primary and even the presidency if they support single-payer healthcare. Rather than cater to Republicans as Clinton did in 2016, whomever supports single-payer, will win over independents and progressives.
There is no logical reason to reject a single-payer healthcare system. It is popular among the people, provides health services to literally everybody while lowering costs. It is an essential human right. Quite frankly, those who oppose it are as deplorable as anyone in Clinton’s basket.
Look at it this way, single-payer healthcare is such a powerful political tool, that if President Trump were to ever to change his mind, and pass it, it would be the only thing people remember. Single-payer would be his legacy and he would (eventually) be remembered as a hero for it. Just like the statue of Tommy Douglas in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Trump would have his own in New York. People would even respect it… a little.