Jimmy Carter Latest Ex-Democratic Leader to Back Single Payer. When Will Current Ones?

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Jimmy Carter Latest Ex-Democratic Leader to Back Single Payer. When Will Current Ones?

"I think eventually we'll have a single-payer system," said former President Jimmy Carter.

As Max Fine, one of the original architects of Medicare, said in a recent interview with The Intercept, expanding Medicare to cover everyone, not just those over age 65, was the underlying objective of the legislation. (Photo: Commonwealth Club/Flickr/cc)

Speaking to a large crowd just before a Sunday school class in Plains, Georgia, former President Jimmy Carter said he believes the United States will ultimately transition away from a for-profit system that leaves millions uninsured to a Medicare-for-All style system that guarantees healthcare to every American as a right.

"I think eventually we'll have a single-payer system," Carter said.

The former president went on to add, "When I was in the White House, I tried to get Medicare to cover everyone." As Max Fine, one of the original architects of Medicare, said in a recent interview with The Intercept, expanding Medicare to cover everyone, not just those over age 65, was the underlying objective of the legislation.

"Single-payer is the only real answer," Fine concluded.

Carter's comments come as Medicare for All is experiencing an unprecedented surge in support and enthusiasm at the grassroots. A recent AP/NORC poll found that 62 percent of the American public now believes it is "the federal government's responsibility to make sure that all Americans have health care coverage."

With his remarks, Carter also joins a number of prominent Democrats—including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and former Vice President Al Gore—who have, in response to surging popular pressure—spoken out in favor of single-payer in recent weeks.

"It's time for the next step," Warren said earlier this month, echoing Fine and Carter. "And the next step is single-payer."

As they mobilize to defeat Trumpcare, activists are also pressuring hesitant Democratic lawmakers to embrace Medicare for All as the only viable alternative to the for-profit status quo.

During a recent interview on Democracy Now!, Dr. Carol Paris, president of Physicians for a National Health Program, said the goal of the progressive movement should be to make "it toxic for our elected officials not to get on board with" Medicare for All.

"We're not going to wait around for our members of Congress to say, 'Now it's politically feasible,'" Paris concluded. "If we wait for that, we're going to be waiting for the rest of my life, your life, and many more lives."

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