On the heels of the Supreme Court decision on June 15, 2012, invalidating the individual mandate provisions of the health care reform law, the President and Congress took swift action to implement a Single Payer system. Asked to define a single payer system, the President said, "Well, you know, sort of like Medicare."
Long time health policy analyst and reform advocate Ellen Shaffer noted that the surprising transition had occurred subsequent to the following events:
Massive demonstrations now known as the Grrl/Geezer/PanEthnic Spring erupted throughout the country, responding to the failure of the U.S. political system to take effective action in the face of shifts in the global economy, devastating losses of jobs and income security, demographic changes, and the degradation of human and environmental health.
Shocked by racially motivated police actions, the laser-like focus of increasingly unhinged legislators on humiliating women in the name of ending "government tyranny," and the closure of community colleges, the cross-generational coalition used phone trees and social media to call on the Fed Up across the political spectrum to exercise personal responsibility by showing up and uniting.
Their program demanded identifying and implementing the best practices from around the world for economic innovation and growth compatible with human health and environmental sustainability, including models in the U.S., Germany, Brazil, Argentina, China, and India, and an end to energy dependence on oil. The new health care system will draw from the effective Cuban model of primary care available in schools, communities and workplaces, using U.S. information technology to coordinate care, implemented by professionals in non-hierarchical categories, who reflect the populations of their communities. Health care and education - including for health professions -- will be entirely publicly subsidized, and housing prices stabilized at 1990 levels.
Communications were transferred to the Stewart/Colbert/Maddow network, in partnership with Our Bodies Ourselves, radio KKCR /Kauai and radio KPOO/San Francisco. The Defense Department was eliminated, with the resulting financial windfall redirected to the lifetime care of military veterans.
The top .01% of the U.S. wealthy were given the option of life at sea with video simulation games stroking their egos, and periodic air-lifts of supplies; or five years of pro bono work as classroom assistants in newly revitalized elementary schools.
Opposition to the health care program was promptly abandoned by the health insurance, hospital, medical, drug and information technology industries, as well as by the labor movement and its trust funds and by the Chamber of Commerce. Karen Ignani announced her retirement, and PNHP admitted that it wasn't really all Liz Fowler's fault, energizing an explosion of critical and strategic thinking.
The uprising derailed widespread expectations that a negative decision on the mandate would likely add momentum to the information-free right wing, relegating further effective health care reform to the back burner for decades.
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