Obama Questioned on Single Payer

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From democracynow.org

At a town hall-style event in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, Thursday, local resident Linda Allison asked President Obama why the White House and the Democratic-led Congress have ruled out single payer.

Linda Allison: "My question is, so many people go bankrupt using their credit cards to pay for healthcare. Why have they taken single payer off the plate? And why is Senator Baucus on the Finance Committee discussing healthcare, when he has received so much money from the pharmaceutical companies? Isn't it a conflict of interest?"

President Obama: "If I were starting a system from scratch, then I think that the idea of moving towards a single-payer system could very well make sense. That's the kind of system that you have in most industrialized countries around the world. The only problem is that we're not starting from scratch. We have historically a tradition of employer-based healthcare. And although there are a lot of people who are not satisfied with their healthcare, the truth is, is that the vast majority of people currently get healthcare from their employers, and you've got this system that's already in place. We don't want a huge disruption as we go into healthcare reform, where suddenly we're trying to completely reinvent one-sixth of the economy."

Obama did not address the second part of Linda Allison's question about Democratic Senator Max Baucus, who has excluded single-payer advocates from Senate Finance Committee hearings. Allison says she was partly inspired to ask the question after viewing Democracy Now!'s coverage on Wednesday of single-payer advocates who disrupted Baucus's hearing.

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