How Socialists Can Fight for Single Payer

The advantages for our organization are only part of the equation. Any unifying campaign will be beneficial to an organization finding its footing, but single payer is a strategic central focus. In fighting for it, we can build solidarity across lines of difference and continue to build power for the working class.

Everybody needs health care. Nearly everybody in the working class has been hurt by private insurance greed, or has seen a friend or family member denied care so that a rich few can profit. When we organize in the East Bay, we share our own personal stories and ask our neighbors about what they could personally gain from single payer.

We work to show how our direct self-interest intersects with that of all working people: we can only win single payer for ourselves if we win it for each other. Political education that fosters this sense of shared self-interest — rather than charity for a distant other — is the foundation of a sense of solidarity built to last.

The fight for single payer is an urgent anti-racist struggle. Currently in the United States, the uninsured rate is 60 percent higher for black people than for white people. The Movement for Black Lives platform demands a universal, guaranteed health care system, with particular focus on equitable access for currently excluded communities of color. In committing to the fight for single payer, socialists can take up that call to action.

Meanwhile, across the US, Latinos have an uninsured rate 300 percent higher than white people. Undocumented immigrants — and many documented ones — are not covered by Medicare, nearly all Medicaid programs, and many subsidized private plans. This cruel exclusion is despite the fact that immigrants pay into the public system through taxes, and worse, is in spite of the fact that they are members of our communities who need care like everybody else.

By providing coverage to all state residents regardless of documentation…

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