While Democrats are bewailing a stinging defeat after the Obamacare replacement bill passed the House of Representatives Thursday, conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer has some consoling news for the left. Talking to Fox News Thursday, he believes the United States will end up with a single payer system within seven years.
"Where do you think we are in this debate," Chris Wallace asked, "over Obamacare and health care are in general both politically and in terms of the policy as evidenced in this legislation?"
"I think historically speaking we're at the midpoint," Krauthammer answered. "We had seven years of Obamacare, a change in expectations. And I would predict that in less than seven years we'll be in a single payer system.
"I think that's the great irony of this," he continued. "Obamacare failed at every level, politically. The Democrats were crushed over six years and four elections. Whereas you say they lost seats in the House, the Senate, the governorships, et cetera, largely because of Obamacare, it failed on the ground as was pointed out earlier. The insurers are in a death spiral.
"The Obamacare exchanges are collapsing," he said. "You've had these exchanges, these community exchanges completely disintegrating. But the irony is in the end I think Obamacare wins the day because it changed expectations.
"Look at the terms of the debate," Krauthammer explained. "Republicans are not arguing the free market anymore, they have accepted the fact that the electorate sees health care as not just any commodity. It's not like purchasing a steak or a car. It's something that people now have a sense that government ought to guarantee. And because of that, even Republicans are trying to say, 'Oh, we're not gonna lose that many, oh yes, you'll be covered if you have a pre-existing condition.' The terms of debate are entirely on the grounds of the liberal argument that everybody ought to have insurance."
"Once that happens," he concluded, "you're gonna end up with a single payer."
Krauthammer said in the short run he didn't think the Senate would pass the bill, but will offer its own version and that Republicans would be hurt at the polls in 2018. Ultimately, he said America is not going back to "radical individualist."
The American Health Care Act passed narrowly in the House Thursday, despite failing to go to vote twice before. President Donald Trump and the Republicans are hailing it as a victory, while some conservatives are casting rain on the parade.