During WBUR’s Debate on Wednesday involving the three remaining Democratic candidates for Massachusetts governor, Steve Grossman attacked Don Berwick for his commitment to implementing a single payer health care system. I found this very curious, particularly given the context. Here’s a rundown from a WBUR reporter:
“Another way Berwick seems to be adjusting the conversation is on the issue of a single-payer health care system. ‘I’m the only candidate committed to single-payer health care, Medicare for all,’ he said.
Grossman said he wants to lead the ‘conversation’ on single-payer health insurance.
‘Steve, I don’t think single-payer is something for discussion, I think it’s something to make happen,’ Berwick said. Grossman interrupted him and asked him how he intends to make the change.
‘Nobody can wave a magic wand, Don. You can’t do that. This is not a monarchy,’ he said. ‘You’ve got to build a consensus in our society around any dramatic societal change.’
But, even if Grossman knocks the tactics, he’s talking about a topic that wasn’t on the table before Berwick made it his focus.”
For Grossman to question rhetorically, of all people, THE FORMER ADMINISTRATOR OF THE CENTERS FOR MEDICARE AND MEDICAID SERVICES just how exactly he plans to implement a medicare-for-all health care system is just silly on its face! Yes, indeed, something more than a magic wand is required, but thankfully Berwick’s experience obviously counts as such. He has a proven track record of bringing together politicians, technocrats and institutions to implement successful changes to the country’s health care system, and thus, is the candidate most capable of building the consensus Grossman describes.
Furthermore, by now we should all recognize that any politician’s pledge to “lead the conversation” about an issue is worth BUPKIS. For goodness sake, we should expect our next governor to commit to doing something more than the sort of thing you get from some hack on Twitter. We need a governor who’s willing to tackle the health care system’s high cost and recent administrative woes head-on. We need action.
And so, I again applaud Berwick for his commitment to realizing this bold goal–without qualification.