Democrats and “progressives” who gathered at a town hall in the San Francisco district of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Friday pressed her to revive the “single-payer” option for national health care — i.e. a government-run system.
The pressure came after Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, at the urging of President Donald Trump, withdrew the American Health Care Act, the House Republican leaders’ effort to replace Obamacare. The measure lacked the 218 necessary votes.
Local public radio station KQED reported:
“I extend my hand to the president if he wants to improve the Affordable Care Act,” Pelosi told a crowd of several hundred people gathered at a town hall meeting at Balboa High School in San Francisco.
The first audience question was more of a long argument for a socialized health system that some are calling “Medicare for all,” which would eliminate insurance companies.
Pelosi, unruffled by the at times unruly crowd, noted: “I supported single payer since before you were born.”
While Pelosi would not commit to the idea, it has long been a proposal beloved by the Democratic rank-and-file. In the 2009-10 debate over Obamacare, Democrats reluctantly abandoned the so-called “public option” because it could not overcome moderate opposition, including from then-Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT).
However, Democrats hinted that a single-payer system could eventually replace Obamacare. Many conservatives charged that Obamacare had been set up to fail precisely so that Democrats could eventually introduce socialized medicine as a replacement — a “Trojan Horse” tactic.
On Friday, President Trump said that he is open to negotiation with Democrats about replacing Obamacare at a future date.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.