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Do Super PACs Pack a Punch for Single Payer?

Summary: Despite majority support, single payer faces huge political obstacles. In response, Joseph Q. Jarvis, a longstanding family and public health physician, proposes a political tool: a Super PAC, a political action committee which raises money from varied donors to advocate on an issue, without coordinating with parties or candidates.

American Health Security Project
Website for Super PAC

No matter who you are, where you are from, what you believe, how old you are, or what your work status is, if you live in the United States you and your family should be guaranteed to receive medically necessary care when sick or injured, without worrying about how to pay for it.

We pay twice as much as any other developed nation for health care, yet we have the worst health of them all. And while we pay the highest taxes for health care in the world, tens of thousands of Americans die each year from treatable illness merely because they can’t afford medical care.

FAQs:
What are the goals of the American Health Security Project?
The AHSP is determined to get legislation passed that is Universal and removes all financial barriers from seeking care.
This legislation must create a system that is non-profit, publicly-funded healthcare.
The system must include comprehensive coverage with essential benefits such as dental, vision, audiology, and mental health services.

Does the American Health Security Project support Medicare for All?
Absolutely. Medicare for All, a single payer system, is the goal of the AHSP.

Why a Super PAC?
For too long healthcare advocates have been at a disadvantage. For-profit insurers and pharmaceutical companies have the ability through Super PACs to pour millions into fighting against Medicare for All and State-Based universal healthcare bills. It is overdue that we level the playing field.

Tell Sec Becerra to Support Granting Federal Waivers to Streamline State Healthcare Expansion
Sponsored by American Health Security Project
The Action Network
March 19, 2022

Sign this petition to Xavier Becerra (Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services) asking him to publicly state his support of federal funding for state-based single payer healthcare and commit to approving the waivers that would streamline state healthcare expansion. While states can fund these programs via taxes, the federal government’s assistance would ensure success, even in states with limited revenue.

While we push for Medicare for All, we also encourage states to expand coverage to their residents via legislation and ballot measures. Throughout our nation’s history, our states have served as the incubators of democratic ideas. Our neighbors in Canada established their own successful national health program by allowing the province of Saskatchewan to lead with a universal hospital care program in 1947, a decade before the plan took hold nationwide.

The American Health Security Project and our allied sponsors of this action, ask you to sign this petition to Xavier Becerra asking him commit to approving waivers in states like California, Maine, Washington, New York and the many other states with active single payer legislation!

Comment by: Jim Kahn

Let’s be honest: the electoral / legislative politics of the US are stacked against single payer. Too many dollars flow to politicians from those who benefit from the current profit-extracting non-system of paying for and delivering healthcare. Our fight for single payer takes many forms, including grassroots organizing, education, writing (to wit, HJM), and research. We retain popular support for single payer, but lose critical battles. Meanwhile, health insurance and providers are increasingly controlled by private for-profit entities. The short-term political prospects are daunting.

Would a meet-fire-with-fire approach help break the logjam? Joseph Q. Jarvis (physician and author of “The Purple World: Healing the Harm in American Health Care”) believes so. He has launched the “American Health Security Project” (AHSP) in order to use a within-the-system political organizing tool (a Super PAC) in support of a replace-the-system solution (single payer).

You can read about AHSP in his op-ed in The Salt Lake Tribune, Support the American Health Security Project. I didn’t excerpt this above because it elides mention of the single payer goal of AHSP. Jarvis takes inspiration from John McCain, for whom the ACA owes its survival, but not a single payer proponent. Jarvis wrote in the op-ed, “Those of us who are trying to change how Americans do health care business must recognize that health system reform is about politics. No amount of education or marching to the draw attention to the plight of American patients will change the grip of the medical industrial complex on business as usual in American health care. Health system reform … is a power grab …”

The unambiguous support of AHSP for single payer is expressed on its website and in the letter to Sec. Becerra. I welcome that clarity.

I’m not a political tactician, but don’t believe that anyone has figured out the surefire political path to single payer (more on state vs. national efforts in a few days). I hope that AHSP gains traction as one piece of the puzzle, growing the breadth and strength of the single payer movement.

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