Universal coverage, Medicare for all, single payer — call it what you will. It's clear that conservative forces are determined to prevent such a system from ever being introduced at the national level. So it's up to the states.
The catch is that to make universal coverage work at the state level, you'd need some way to channel Medicare, Medicaid and other federal healthcare funds into the system. At the moment, that's difficult if not impossible.
But legislation quietly being drafted by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) would change that. It would create a mechanism for states to request federal funds after establishing their own health insurance programs.
If passed into law — admittedly a long shot with Republicans controlling the House of Representatives — McDermott's State-Based Universal Healthcare Act would represent a game changer for medical coverage in the United States.
It would, for the first time, create a system under which a Medicare-for-all program could be rolled out on a state-by-state basis. In California's case, it would make coverage available to the roughly 7 million people now lacking health insurance.
"This is a huge deal," said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, a Santa Monica advocacy group. "This is a lifeline for people who want to create a Medicare system at the state level."
So yes, block grants. Block grants for single-payer. Naturally, Republicans will immediately rescind all of their arguments that given a chance, states can do a more efficient job of administering health care if you just give them the money. Giving them the money to develop single payer would of course put private insurance companies more interested in profits than saving people lives, out of business.
We can't have that, of course.
Death panels for all the girls and boys.