The truth about single-payer

By Daniel Biss

When I first announced my candidacy for Illinois governor, I promised I’d fight like hell for the rest of us. Not the billionaires and political insiders who are already doing fine, but the millions of Illinoisans who feel left behind and fed up with a state government that’s not working for the rest of us. This election is a critical moment for Illinois and it’s one that calls for bold, progressive action. It is not a time for half-measures.

That’s why I’m calling for a single-payer healthcare system in Illinois.

While the Affordable Care Act took giant steps forward in expanding access to care, it’s not enough. Because I believe healthcare is a universal right, I also believe that health insurance must become universal. That’s why I’m fighting for single-payer now, and why it was part of my platform the very first time I ran for office.

Make no mistake: the road to single-payer healthcare is going to be a long and hard one. For decades, billionaires and insiders have created a political system that works for them at the expense of the rest of us.

Opponents of single-payer say that our state is broke, and that we can’t afford healthcare for everyone. To them I say this: we need to stop making excuses.

While our state government certainly is broke, there’s incredible affluence in Illinois. If we’re serious about single-payer, we need a way to pay for it — and that means making bold changes in our tax code so that the rich finally pay their share.

That’s why I’ve been fighting for a progressive income tax and have introduced legislation to tax La Salle Street and close corporate tax loopholes. These bills would go a long way toward achieving the funding we need to make single-payer a reality.

For far too long, while the wealthiest continue to benefit from a rigged system, we’ve had to ask everyone else to choose between putting food on the table and paying for healthcare. We’ve grown too accustomed to our own broken system.

The status quo has got to go.

I’m running for governor because I believe that we need principled, progressive, and bold leadership to get Illinois on the right track. When we fight for our values, we’re fighting for every Illinoisan, not just millionaires and billionaires. It’s time to demand more from government—we deserve a system that works for us, and that must include universal health insurance.

That’s what we must do if we really mean that healthcare is a human right.

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