Democrats have been struggling to find something positive to say, something to stand for and to campaign on.  Elizabeth Warren thinks that something should be single-payer health care.

The idea of single-payer is nothing new for Democrats.  Back in 2003, then-Illinois state senator Obama said:

I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer, universal health care program. I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14 percent of its gross national product on health care, cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. … A single-payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. That’s what I’d like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we’ve got to take back the White House, we’ve got to take back the Senate, and we’ve got to take back the House.

Defending ObamaCare to irate progressives in 2010, Senator Tom Harkin (D-OH) explained that ObamaCare was the best they could do after losing their Senate supermajority in January, 2010.  Harkin pleaded with progressives to calm down and to recognize ObamaCare not as the end goal but as the “starter home” for single-payer.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has made the case for Democrats not just pushing single-payer from the sidelines but bringing it to the forefront and actively campaigning on it.

The Hill reports:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) says Democrats in 2018 and 2020 should campaign on a national single-payer healthcare plan.

“President Obama tried to move us forward with health-care coverage by using a conservative model that came from one of the conservative think tanks that had been advanced by a Republican governor in Massachusetts,” Warren told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

“Now it’s time for the next step. And the next step is single payer,” she added.

. . . .  She said Democrats would do better in elections if they campaigned on a progressive platform.

“The progressive agenda is America’s agenda,” Warren said. “It’s not like we’re trying to sell stuff that people don’t want. … It’s not that at all. It’s that we haven’t gotten up there and been as clear about our values as we should be, or as clear and concrete about how we’re going to get there.”

Representative Tim Ryan (D-OH) agrees with Warren and suggests that lowering the age of Medicare to 50 would be a good step in that direction.  Ryan also asserts that Democrats should “sell” single-payer as “a good jobs program.”

Watch:

The Washington Free Beacon reports:

Rep. Tim Ryan (D., Ohio) said Wednesday on MSNBC that Democrats should sell single-payer health care as an economic boon that would provide government jobs, reduce costs, and make Americans healthier.

Ryan said he supported Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D., Mass.) push for a single-payer system, not just as a health care system but also as a “jobs program.” Ryan, a member of the House Budget Committee, told host Hallie Jackson that it would be a successful political position for Democrats to take.

“I do believe that a Medicare-for-all program is the way we should be going,” he said. “I support it wholeheartedly.”

He said that expanding the eligibility age for Medicare would be a “good first step.”

. . . .  “I believe that if we make the argument, it’s a good jobs program if you expand health care to everybody,” Ryan said. “You can’t outsource an occupational therapist. You can’t outsource a physical therapist. You can’t outsource a nurse who does cancer screenings or does preventive work.”

“Those are jobs that could be right here in the United States of America, and we’ll be healthier and prevent a lot of diseases and bend the cost curve on health care,” he said.

Warren Buffet is also joining the push for single-payer, saying that as the richest country in the world, American can afford it.  He also notes that with his “limited knowledge,” single-payer does seem to be the “best” system for our country.

Watch:

Transcript via ZeroHedge:

WOODRUFF: “Something that affects all businesses is the cost of health care in this country and you’ve been vocal about that. You argue right now, in fact, that the cost of paying for health care can affect a company even more than taxes.”

BUFFETT: “Well it does. I mean in terms of our competitiveness in the world; health care in 1960 was 5 percent of GDP. And there’s only a hundred cents to the dollar. So it’s gone from 5 percent to 17 percent. And it keeps going up. Corporate taxes have gone down from 4 percent to 2 percent. So corporate taxes are way less of a factor in American competitiveness than overall business than medical costs.”

WOODRUFF: “As we sit here today in Omaha, the Republicans in Congress are madly trying to figure out what to do to replace ObamaCare, the Affordable Care Act. Do you have a firm idea in your mind what ought to be done about ObamaCare? Everybody acknowledges there’s been some problems.”

BUFFETT: “I think that’s way outside of my circle of competence. But I would say this. You can’t have that five go to 17 and move on to 20 and 22 or 24 percent, because there are only a hundred cents in the dollar. Health care is gobbling up well over $3 trillion a year. It’s just about the same as federal, the federal budget, I mean it’s getting up there.”

WOODRUFF: “Are we now at the point where the country does need to think about some sort of single-payer system in some more or another?

BUFFETT: “With my limited knowledge, I think that probably is the best system. Because it is a system, we are such a rich country, in a sense we can afford to do it. But in almost every field of American business, it pays to bring down costs. There’s an awful lot of people involved in the medical — the whole just the way the ecosystem worked, there was no incentive to bring down costs.”

WOODRUFF: “It sounds like what you’re saying with a single payer system it’s easier to figure out a way to?”

BUFFETT: “More effective, I think.”

As the years have passed since its passage into law, ObamaCare has become deeply entrenched, including among a growing number of Republican voters.  Polls show Americans, including Republicans, supporting the idea when it’s presented as “Medicare for all.” (Interestingly, support falls when voters are asked if they support single-payer paid for by taxpayers.)

A number of right-leaning pundits and columnists are predicting single-payer in our not-so-distant future, so Warren, et al. may have more success running on single-payer than on “Trump is evil.”