All over the news, people are talking about “Obamacare.” In the video below, PA Gubernatorial Candidate, John Hanger, stands in support of it’s implementation, validates the concerns of Unions, and calls for Single Payer – even going so far as mentioning by name grassroots PA organization that have been fighting the good fight.
The political significance of this cannot be overstated. The political forces attacking the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare” are, as has been documented, a legacy of Jim Crow – racists and their anti-Government political cousins. The attacks on “Obamacare,” which we know was a give-away to the health insurance business, nonetheless, constitutes a political force that intends to establish that there is no role for Government in Society.
John Hanger, like other Single-Payer supporters such as Howard Dean, with these stakes clear, chooses not to bow out of the fight over the Affordable Care Act. He instead engages it, offering support.
He goes further though by validating the concerns of Unions with the law, and calling for the resolution to be Single-Payer.
In regard to Health Care as an issue for the Governor’s race, Hanger makes his support for Single-Payer crystal clear.
Other candidates, like Rob McCord, for example in his Keystone Politics questionnaire, chose not to say anything about supporting Single-Payer. He gives an answer that leaves him space to move based on what’s politically expedient.
This poses a tactical question for Single-Payer advocates in particular and Progressives in general. What is the best strategy for using this Governor’s race as a vehicle to advance and achieve Single-Payer?
Should we get behind one candidate? Or is there a different approach to moving the entire field of Democratic primary candidates?
Many Democrats regard Hanger as the most progressive however are concerned he isn’t viable. It’s absolutely true that there are times to play it safe, however if we just play it safe as a matter of habit, it can be self-defeating for progressives, we’ll miss big opportunities. Bill de Blasio’s expected victory this Tuesday in the general election for NYC Mayor is a perfect example of progressives making what seemed impossible, possible.
In a Democratic Primary with eight candidates and perhaps more to join, the power of money is diluted, and the power of an organized grassroots can be amplified.
Single-Payer activists have an opportunity; one that might be lost if Single-Payer supporters, don’t unite early enough and/or are spread out amongst different respective candidates in the primary. If we’re spread out among different candidates or spending our time trying to win over every candidate, how do we ever consolidate the Single-Payer voting bloc? How would we ever levy the power of the Single-Payer vote?
On the other hand, if for example, Single-Payer activists unify behind John Hanger, and he loses in the primary to Allyson Schwartz, but our grassroots effort leads Hanger’s showing to be very strong, then we’ll have demonstrated the power of a unified Single-Payer vote; and so be able to negotiate and make demands as a part of entering the Schwartz coalition.
Further, betting against ourselves in the primary, could cost us an opportunity; that is to say assuming someone like Hanger isn’t viable might prevent us from seeing that we could collectively make him viable. We know that to achieve Single-Payer, will take: not just openly supporting it with words, but leadership in deeds from the next Governor. That makes a candidate who was pressured to take the position far from the best option. They may sign it if we get it to their desk, but they won’t help us get it there.
Single-Payer advocates have an opportunity with this Governor’s race and we should look for the way to be the most effective in raising our issue and ultimately enacting a different health care system in Pennsylvania.