Flashback: Sebelius called for a ‘single payer system eventually’

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid isn’t the only high-profile Democrat who has suggested the United States will eventually transition to a single payer health care system.

The Nevada lawmaker generated headlines Friday for predicting that President Obama’s health-care law is the first step to phasing out insurance-based health care.

In 2007, while governor of Kansas, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stated flatly in a speech at Harvard: “I’m all for a single payer system eventually.”

What’s not clear is how Sebelius actually thinks about the issue today. As she transitioned from governor to leader of the agency that oversees the country’s health-care laws, Sebelius has argued the opposite.

World War II rationing poster. Office of Price Administration

Asked during a congressional hearing in June if she supports a single payer system, Sebelius responded: “No sir. I supported the concept that you build the gap in coverage based on private insurers.”

During the health care debate in 2009, Sebelius argued Obamacare was not a “trojan horse.”

“This is not a trick,” Sebelius said then. “This is not single-payer.”

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