'If I were designing a system from scratch, I would probably go ahead with a single-payer system," Barack Obama told an audience in Albuquerque on Monday. He was lauding the idea of a health-care market -- or nonmarket -- entirely run by the government.
Most liberals support single payer, aka "Medicare for All," because it would eliminate the profit motive, which by their lights is the reason Americans are uninsured. The Democratic Presidential candidate takes a more moderate campaign line, though we suppose just about everything is "moderate" compared to a total government takeover. While preferring that option in theory, Mr. Obama continued, his health-care plan is designed to "build up the system we got," and over time, "we may . . . decide that there are other ways for us to provide care more effectively."
The Senator has expressed similar sentiments before, including throughout his combat with Hillary Clinton. But repetition doesn't make it any less telling, especially about his political instincts and the breadth of his ambitions. Mr. Obama's health-care plan includes a taxpayer-funded insurance program, much like Medicare but open to everyone. The goal, like HillaryCare in the 1990s, is to displace current private coverage and switch people to the default government option. What's new is Mr. Obama's smoother political packaging.
With good reason, critics often call this a back-door route to a centrally planned health-care bureaucracy. For all his lawyerly qualifications, Mr. Obama has essentially admitted that his proposal is really the front door.
If only he could befriend the facts. Otherwise, health outcomes will be getting worse in America.