The GOP’s Phony Choice on Healthcare

Congressional Republicans might not realize it, but as they try to sell their tax cut for the rich disguised as a healthcare plan, they're accidentally making the case for single-payer healthcare.

Republicans say they want to give Americans choice when it comes to healthcare.

So why don't they support single-payer?

With support for Trumpcare hovering around 12 percent, Republicans are trying out a new, poll-tested Frank Luntz-type talking point.

"We're not taking away your healthcare", they're saying, "we're giving you the choice to drop it or to pay extra to keep it!" It's all about freedom of choice!

The latest example of this came on Thursday, when Texas Senator Jon Cornyn responded to a reporter on Twitter who accused him of forcing 22 million people to lose their health insurance by saying "not lose, choose".

"Not lose, choose. Apparently you believe freedom is optional"

If the issue is choice, isn't that actually an argument for single payer?


gmiklashek950's picture
gmiklashek950 5 years 36 weeks ago

I'm a retired physician, who believes that making a profit, beyond a fair salary to compensate providers for the many years of education necessary to achieve a healthcare profession degree, is immoral, which includes most insurance companies, for-profit hospitals and medical groups, and medical technology comporations, as well as drug companies. It's really just that simple. Not-for-profit Single payer is the ONLY moral method of healthcare provision, as opposed to our current "healthcare industry". However, the dark money from that "industry" will prevent any such solution, until a Sander's style Grassroots revolution among an enlightened and emboldened electorate takes place. Thank you, Thom for your efforts! Gregg Miklashek, MD (retired)

Oldskoold's picture
Oldskoold 5 years 36 weeks ago

"They" (insurance companies, for-profit hospitals and medical groups, and medical technology comporations, as well as drug companies) are truly the "moneychangers in the temple"! It is past time to throw them out. Yes; it is immoral to interject greed into the equation of healthcare. And that is exactly what "for profit" is; prima facia!

Riverplunge's picture
Riverplunge 5 years 36 weeks ago

Freedom of choice eh? Fine! Single Payer. Done! --- I also would like to know how they made giving employment earned money from the poor to the rich? How is that legal?

bernie.williams's picture
bernie.williams 5 years 36 weeks ago

To Gregg Miklashek, MD
Well said, sir! I applaud your stance. With greetings from Brisbane, Australia, where the overall political trend is sadly in the same direction as in the US.
Bernie Williams (who would have liked to see another Bernie in the White House).

deepspace's picture
deepspace 5 years 36 weeks ago

Yea, yea! Dr. Miklashek is a wise and moral human being. Thank you!

Perhaps those of us in the bottom 90% who incur the most debt and the least benefit from out-of control, deregulated, monopolistic, crony capitalism should have the freedom not to pay our fair share of taxes either, most of which only subsidize the selfish interests of obscenely wealthy elites anyway.

"The love of money [i.e., greed] is the root of all evil." The glutinous hypocrites and false religionists who hoard the wealth of society by profiting on war, the destruction of the environment, and the misery of others -- by stealing from their captive consumers, the workers, the poor, the sick, the children, and the elderly -- ignore 1 Timothy 6:10 at their own peril. In that moment after the last breath when all earthly possesions are lost, they realize their wickedness too late.

Outback 5 years 36 weeks ago

Seems to me humankind started to lose it's "humanity" about the same time we evolved beyond the small hunter-gatherer groups in which everyone's actions were litteraly within everyone else's view. A sense of community is necessary to maintain a mutually beneficial society. Look at today's world, with life and death decisions being made with complete anonymity in board rooms, in the cloistered halls of political power, in the basement of the Pentagon. The only solution to this tragic spiral is transparency, the rebirth of the Fourth Estate, and the active engagement of the masses. Sorry to say, none of this is going to happen until the level of social pain reaches some critical level. Twenty five more years? Five? Stay tuned.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 5 years 36 weeks ago

Trump said, "Australia's universal health care program beats the US's"....for profit system.

Crooked Donny's idol continues to allow universal health care for his Russian citizens .

Tom Perez never bothered to mention single-payer on Meet the Teapublicans last Sunday. Sanders remains the only Democrat with a pair of balls...he talked about it on that same program a couple weeks ago.

If a third party suddenly formed calling itself the Medicare for all Party, they'd win hands down...well they'd win in an election where fascist election fraud didn't exist. Hasn't been one of those in quite some time though.

BTW: The Bundy armed standoff Teabaggers are not being convicted in recent trials. Yet, unarmed anti fascist protestors face decades of prison time for turning over a couple garbage cans. Make Fascism great again.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 5 years 36 weeks ago

The founders set up government to be our servant and I want elected officials to use my taxes to help pay for Medicare for all! ...a "we the people" takeover of health insurance.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 5 years 36 weeks ago

While the moral turpitude of the Republican healthcare debacle shines a bright light on the callous, unsympathetic nature of the sociopathic mindset of present-day, so-called conservatives, it is merely one symptom of a deeper psychopathy wreaking destruction across the planet on a singular, truly unimaginable scale.

Today, a new study was published in a journal of the National Academy of Sciences detailing an epic cataclysm of biblical proportions that human greed has unleashed. Here are a few excerpts from the study's discussion summation and conclusion:

..."Humanity will eventually pay a very high price for the decimation of the only assemblage of life that we know of in the universe."

" Earth’s sixth mass extinction episode has proceeded further than most assume."

"...they suggest that as much as 50% of the number of animal individuals that once shared Earth with us are already gone, as are billions of populations."

..."Much less frequently mentioned are, however, the ultimate drivers of those immediate causes of biotic destruction, namely, human overpopulation and continued population growth, and overconsumption, especially by the rich. [emphasis mine] These drivers, all of which trace to the fiction that perpetual growth can occur on a finite planet, are themselves increasing rapidly. Thus, we emphasize that the sixth mass extinction is already here and the window for effective action is very short, probably two or three decades at most (11, 48). All signs point to ever more powerful assaults on biodiversity in the next two decades, painting a dismal picture of the future of life, including human life."

The full study:

changeX's picture
changeX 5 years 36 weeks ago

There are a lot of smart folks posting here. Great work.

I sure that I've heard it discussed on the program before but it seems to get lost in the shuffle in the MSM, most likely on purpose. Along with adding real choice to healthcare by adding single payer, we must remind ourselves of the lucrativeness that one could find for all those who do not want to choose single payer. It would drastically increase their choices in plans. By adding single payer it would accelerate competitiveness in the pool of insurers which drive the health insurance market, resulting in todays Cadillac plans being outshone by the ones what would be offered then, making them within reach of a lot more people once single payer has been added as one of our healthcare choices.

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 5 years 36 weeks ago

Dianereynolds • 1 week 5 days ago

Dianereynolds • 7 weeks 3 days ago

No problem, just tell me how you are going to finance the program. I am on board if you can convince me the existing jobs in the insurance world, the hospitals, doctors, those idiots in congress, and the American public will all be content with your suggestion.

Real numbers not wild guesses based on the babbling of leftie/socialist radio bobbleheads who make their living keeping you ginned up.

jibaro01's picture
jibaro01 5 years 36 weeks ago

This is why the educational system stinks. It's designed to create obedient workers, not analitical, intelligent people. The dummer the people, the more hogwash they will accept.

The sad part is that there's no one out there doing anything to open people's mind to reality. What we have is people enclosed in defined spaces that can't move freely because, if they do, they would be ostracized from the group. So we got liberals and we got conservatives. Two extremes that can't see reality.

Has anyone explained to people how their cost of living went up as they voted for politicians that lowered their taxes? I mean, since we don't have public hospitals, we have to buy health insurance, we have to pay to get our garbage picked up, our property taxes get's higher and higher and we end up expending money on the lotto to get out of misery because there are no jobs out there that can help us do so. So, if we add all those expenses to what we pay in taxes, how would what we pay compare with what we used to pay when we had public hospitals and we didn't live in fear?

Has any politician explained to people how free trade affects their jobs? You hear about it but no politician points it out clearly. They don't becaus all politicians rely on money from the rich to run their campaigns. Without that money, there's no campaign and no possibility of getting elected.

Lookat he campaign between Ossoff and Handel. Both candidates received millions but who gave them those millions? It's all a farse.

So politicans play with words. They say one thing but mean another. They appear to defend our interests but are burying us slowly. Who listen to them any way?

It's a waste of time.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 5 years 36 weeks ago

Diane: You're living in the past, way in the past. "The head of the British Medical Association, Charles Hill, gave a radio address in 1948 in which he asked, "do you really want the government to be your doctor?"

"Today the BMA is a champion of single-payer and resists any privatization efforts. The current head of the BMA commented that " the market -stlye philosophy of the U.S. is a lesson we could do well without." This all from a Time article by Eben Hall/London.

Blacksmiths became auto workers in the early 20th century....existing jobs always change with progress.

"Conservatism is the blind and fear-filled worship of dead radicals." Mark Twain

Medicare for all would get paid for with progressive taxation.

My question can we continue to pay for the Military Industrial Spy Complex...any solutions from you on this???

ChristopehrCurrie's picture
ChristopehrCurrie 5 years 36 weeks ago

High Crimes and Misdemeanors!

Donald Trump and his Republican minions in Congress have been attempting to literally kill hundreds of thousands of US Citizens (by denying them healthcare coverage) in order to further enrich themselves with new tax breaks. This is not merely an “ethics violation.” This in itself constitutes a “high crime”* (and an example of a massively deadly form of bribery) that is ample justification for impeaching Donald Trump in accordance with Article 2, Section 4 of the United States Constitution! The damage done by the 9/11 disaster pales in comparison to damage that Donald Trump and his Republican minions in Congress have been attempting to do to US citizens in general!

*conspiracy to commit mass murder in exchange for tax breaks, corporate political contributions, and millions of dollars worth of “free” advertising, OR thousands of well-documented “counts” of manslaughter, reckless endangerment, etc. resulting from accepting bribes for deadly quid-pro-quo acts, etc.

P.S. Members of Congress can be impeached and removed from office for such crimes as well (prosecuted in state courts or federal courts). Furthermore, it appears that many of our members of Congress cannot recite their Congressional Oath of Office WITHOUT LYING and should therefore resign from office or face prosecution accordingly!

Legend 5 years 36 weeks ago

Not to change the subject, but I wanted to comment on Thoms second hour yesterday. It was about solar power and how the utilities are discouraging it. I am on a large COOP for electricity. It changed how it charges for electricity if you install solar, windpower or a new service. Now electricity is charged based on your peak demand during the month. It does not matter what yuour usage is, it is based on your peak deman during the month. So if you have solar your peak demand will be at night and thus it ruins any payback from the panels. There is one article that feels the utilites will only speed up the use of batteries and thus lower the cost of back up battery systems. Solar panels with a bank of batteries and a backup generator for rare emergencies could take you off of the grid. Solar is becoming the power of choice. Kauai recently went solar with battery banks at night. Tucson recently purchased low bid 20 MW and the winner was solar with batteries. Everyday there are advancements in renewables. And still the Republicans resist it.

Legend 5 years 36 weeks ago

Post 11. You might want to start your research at this site.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 5 years 36 weeks ago


Good job! You have summarized the legal and principled case for impeachment precisely and without equivocation. All concerned citizens should keep up the pressure to expose the moral outrages that are the unjustifiable actions of the Trump Administration and the Republican party -- and any Democrat who plays along.

Unfortunately, impeachment proceedings have little or no chance to even begin let alone succeed as long as Republicans control Congress. That is just political reality, as explained by Dylan Matthews in the link below.

Nevertheless, it is critical that the American people stay focused and do not let the corporate media normalize Republicans' "high crimes and misdemeanors" -- their lying, cheating, appalling disregard for the interests of the middle class and the less-advantaged, and undying allegiance to the moneyed interests of their filthy rich masters, who seek uncontestable power at all costs.

Elections have consequences, and with the next ones rapidly approaching, it is absolutely imperative to keep the deliberate dismantling of our people's democracy and society fresh in the minds of every voter.


Although you have laid out the problems of our failing democracy quite well (your vocal cynicism is more than justified), it is still historically inaccurate to lump all politicians and/or their respective parties into one cesspool of corruption. There are yuuuge differences!!!

For instance, which party and politicians right now are trying their damnedest to price tens of millions of human beings a year out of healthcare, condemning them to a life of needless uncertainty, and tens of thousands a year to suffer miserable deaths???

The trick is to figure out who is who, vote for the good ones, and hold their feet to the fire. After all, it is our government, not the government. I'm genuinely curious, though, what do you propose we do that would not be a waste of time?


Always good to hear from you. Excellent point! Greed is at the heart of the matter, as it is in most matters with negative consequences to society.


Sooo, the purpose of healthcare is to provide jobs for clerks and profits for investors. Uh-huh.

2950-10k (just now), Legend (just now), myself, and so many others on this blog, including Thom, have over a long period of time explained how a single-payer system should be financed --graduated tax to a non-profitized fund with our government, as opposed to predatory premiums to profitized investment vehicles controlled exclusively by unaccountable insurance monopolies. Not to mention that virtually every other developed country finances their single-payer systems at approximately half the cost per individual than our privately-run nightmare, and with better coverage and results. Gee, how do they do that? Simply amazing, folks! Plus, there are uncountable resources on the internet to answer any question you throw up.

Hey, here's a thought: Why don't you do the research, instead of just endlessly complaining and hurling the same old, overly repetitive insults. Then come back and explain to us how it should or should not be financed -- at least to your satisfaction, since it would be impossible to satisfy the interests of all the entities you have listed in your various posts. For that matter, what public policy in the history of civilization has ever satisfied everyone involved? Please get back to us on that strange mystery too, would you?

The truth is that no amount of explanations or mind-boggling actuarial graphs and mathematics will ever satisfy you, since, by your own words, you are stubbornly predisposed to a free-market (read unchecked corporate power), partisan political viewpoint regardless of any evidence to the contrary. Be honest and admit it.

In fact, to illustrate contrast, why don't you explain to the satisfaction of everyone here exactly -- in excruciating detail -- how the private, for-profit healthcare system is now financed in the good ol' USA. Be sure not to leave anything out.

changeX's picture
changeX 5 years 36 weeks ago

Along with 2950-10K #13's method of financing the program, re-instatement of the STET tax would be a winner. A special tax on bullet and ammunition sales would be a bright idea to help finance the program further. There might be enough left over to also cover optical and dental health care. Who knew? Btw are there any taxes being collected on all of the military equipment and armaments being sold around the world?

Maybe none of this would be necessary if all of the churches and all of he false profits oops i mean Evangelical multi-millionaire gospel hour pastors would actually take up the cross and follow their savior; doing away with their worldly riches, spending their fortunes on real world health care for all.

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 5 years 36 weeks ago

So your answer is simply more taxes?

1. What would be percentage increase in payroll taxes be and are they after or before tax dollars?
2. What if you do not pay payroll taxes?
3. What about the one or two illegal aliens that reside in the US?
3. Who will determine the doctors fees for every one of the thousands of possible tests?
4. Will the doctors support those numbers handed to them by the government?
5. What about the tens and tens of thousands employed by the insurance industry in this country?
6. What about dental insurance?
7. Will I still be able to sue a govenment owned doctor for malpractice or will I just be suing myself (taxpayers)?

Answer these and we can move on to the next dozen.

Legend 5 years 36 weeks ago

How do they do it in all of the other industrialized countries?

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 5 years 36 weeks ago

Stop deflecting and answer the questions. You should know better.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 5 years 36 weeks ago

All income, not just payroll, would be taxed fairly in a graduated manner just like we finance everything else. As in every other modern society, the average per individual tax share for healthcare will be less than half what it is now -- premiums, deductibles, co-pays, out-of-pocket, lifetime caps, and all the other hidden costs that for-profit predators inflict upon their captive victims in their single-minded mission to deny as many claims as possible, while throwing as many sick people as possible onto government programs, such as Medicaid and medicare.

Is war meant to be a jobs program for soldiers? Healthcare should not be a welfare program for clerks or profiteers. Progress marches on; blacksmiths, buggy makers, and telegraph operators will just have to adapt and learn new skills, just lIke railroaders did when the carriers got rid of cabooses and halved the crew. I hear the Medicare-for-all, green technology, and infrastructure construction sectors will need lots of well-trained people.

The price of bulk medication and services will be negotiated down, just like it is everywhere else in the business world -- the "free"-market in action, baby! Over-priced providers, hospitals, drug companies, medical equipment manufacturers, et al, will also have to adapt, as will investors on wall street. If someone's only goal in life is to become filthy rich, then they should choose a different profession other than predatory healthcare. As in the rest of the world, most healthcare professionals chose their career as a vocation to help people -- and are still compensated quite nicely.

The rest of your questions are non sequiturs and nonsensical distractions outside the purview of providing single-payer healthcare -- separate issues thrown into your bag of doorknobs:

Undocumented immigrants would not have access to the program because, well, they are undocumented. That's not the responsibility of a national healthcare program for citizens. People with no "papers" -- a tiny percent of our population -- will have to be handled differently through another department. Oh, I don't know ...what would Republicans like to do -- break up families, deport 'em, jail 'em, starve 'em, let 'em die in the ditches? Certainly, extending any mercy is out of the question.

I thought Republicans hated trial lawyers and blamed "frivolous" lawsuits for sky-rocketing costs??? Whatever ...sue away to your heart's content. Nothing changes under single-payer. Hospitals and providers are still in the private sector -- the single-payer movement in America is not advocating that they be employees of the government, like in England (although most British citizens -- providers and patients -- are quite happy with their totally socialized national healthcare system, notwithstanding the endless efforts by their own corporate right-wingers to profitize everything).

Anyway, you refuse to do what you are asking others to do. Instead of dreaming up inane questions designed to obfuscate, for someone else to satisfy every whim and flight of imagination that pops up in Diane's enquiring mind, why doesn't Diane do her own research? And, like was suggested before, don't forget to apply the same questions to the for-profit insurance monstrosity under which we presently suffer. "Fair and balanced!"

Ou812's picture
Ou812 5 years 36 weeks ago

@20 Legend

Here's how it's done in Germany. Germany has a universal multi-payer system with two main types of health insurance. Germans are offered three mandatory health benefits, which are co-financed by employer and employee: health insurance, accident insurance, and long-term care insurance.

The Germans had single payer under Hitler. That didn't work out too well.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 5 years 36 weeks ago

Ou812, you are truly depaved to compare Americans' single-payer movement to the evil of Hitler's Gernany. Go away and stay away!

Ou812's picture
Ou812 5 years 36 weeks ago

Deepspace :

Sorry, the truth hurts.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 5 years 36 weeks ago

How would you know?

changeX's picture
changeX 5 years 35 weeks ago

It seems that you didn't even read my post d r. I guess the disciples should have interrogated Christ with paltry questions on how to not have to spend any of their riches after he provided what must be done by to gain salvation. No one from your side asks how we will pay for endless conquest around the world. Penny wise pound foolish I must say.

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 5 years 35 weeks ago

Lefite/socialists answer for everything is just raise taxes on those that have more money than me without any regard for the “bag of doorknobs” which by the way is what caused obamacare to be such a dismal failure. You see, it is the little details that bring down a well intentioned program all of which was accurately predicted long before Thom’s lie about Marco Rubio involvement.

The demise of Obamacare caused by its double digit rate increases, lack of funds generated from the healthy younger crowd, extensions and delays in implementing regulations, and the States understanding that they themselves would be responsible for more and more of the overall costs as time went on. All of which was discussed and is well documented years ago when this was a vibrant forum.

So, it is time you focused on solutions to what is inside that “bag of doorknobs” because that is what makes the clock run smoothly and flippant little comments like,

“Undocumented immigrants would not have access to the program because, well, they are undocumented. That's not the responsibility of a national healthcare program for citizens.” is insane. For Christ sake, illegal aliens are being issued drivers licenses, don’t tell me the leftie/socialists are going to exclude them from free healthcare.

Still no response to the question what about the tens of thousands currently involved in the insurance business. I know what leftie/socialist radio talking heads would say, “They can just be absorbed into the new government healthcontrol program”. Great, now we have a hundred thousand new government employees waiting to draw a pension come retirement time. Reference literally every states unfunded liabilities. California and Illinois being the most prominent.

So, when you have my “bag of doorknobs” questions answered, get back to us. What is that sound I hear? It is the sound of doctors not deciding to go into the practice and be forced to live on what the government mandates.

BTW legend, I don’t give a f**k how other countries, many with a small population or not being composed of 50 different states that also have their own rights, do it. I live here. If I bitched as much as most of you do, I would move the hell out of here to Mexico where the healthcare is free and you can’t drink the water. Oh yea, be sure to get your national issued ID if you expect to vote.

changeX's picture
changeX 5 years 35 weeks ago

More mental gymnastics I see. So that is why war never ends, what the heck would everyone do for work. That is no way to operate. More welfare for the rich. Apparently government does have ability to create jobs, who knew? Let the government perpetuate an industry that apparently can't compete in the free market. Why can't they compete against single payer free market, Doesn't anyone want health insurance with all the bells and whistles, all the frills. Crybabies, please go back to the drawing board trying to delegitimize the commonwealth. At least you are listening to the sound of doctors chuckle chuckle, now try listening to the sound of scientists around the world.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 5 years 35 weeks ago

My my, tis an angry storm a brewin' in DianeyWorld today. Somebody didn't get their bowl o' Cheerios this morning.

Of course you raise taxes to pay for it, but since you no longer pay much higher -- ridiculously higher -- premiums for a private ripoff policy, it's a huge net savings for the individual consumer. How many times must that be repeated to be absorbed? No problem, evidently, with raising taxes for war and bank bailouts, though.

A bag of doorknobs is a bag of doorknobs is a bag of doorknobs. What's the sense in trying to unpack it all since we already know what's in it? Suffice it to say that all Diane's trifling misgivings and manufactured outrages have been discussed repeatedly on this blog and on Thom's three-hour radio show, as well as everywhere else outside the orbit of DianeyWorld. She reads (skims) the posts, but they don't sink in through the thick membrane of Fox plaque.

For instance, virtually all the problems with Obamacare she rattles on about are either direct lies, obfuscations, or the predicted result of Republican compromises (well over a hundred) that Democrats included in the final bill in a misguided and ultimately futile attempt to win over votes, any votes.

Despite Republican treachery and sabotage, according to every insurance company analysis and reliable independent study (The most recent came out just the other day.), Obamacare is not failing, especially if Trump releases the subsidy reimbursements owed the companies. And remember, another big reason rates went up is because the Republican Congress abolished "risk corridor" payments (Yes, it is Rubio's original brainchild.) -- some say foolishly, some say deliberately. Also, the dimwitted governors in the red states -- the "taker" states -- who refused to accept the Medicaid expansion provision (100% paid by the federal government in the first few years or so and then 90% thereafter), are in hot water with their constituents, the victims, for not taking such a good deal.

But that's Obamacare; we're discussing single-payer, a separate issue beyond private/public arrangements inherently prone to the problems that cantankerous ol' granny loves to grouch about. She is conflating the two in another transparent attempt to confuse (mainly herself). And notice also how she always frets over the money but never mentions the tens of millions of fellow human beings Republicans will kick to the curb. Who cares...

That's a "tell." So are angry, undeciplined, and ill-behaved rants and raves. Now eat ye Cheerios, nana.

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