Santa, please deliver single-payer healthcare

Joanne Boyer: Moving U.S. to a single-payer system has to start with a change of heart ... and recognition that healthcare is a human right

EDITOR’S NOTE: It just wouldn’t be the holidays if kids of all ages weren’t putting together lists of their most wanted gifts. Not to be left out,’s blog contributors have this year put together their own wish list, but with a special twist:

In a series of video “letters,” our blog contributors explain to Louise Norris the one gift they’d ask Santa to deliver that would build on recent health reform gains and extend Americans’ access to comprehensive, affordable coverage.

In this segment: Joanne Boyer, contributor, author, and blogger at See previous letters from Harold Pollack, Wendell Potter and Linda Bergthold.


Louise Norris: Hi there. My name is Louise Norris and I write about health care reform for and since it’s the holiday season, my fellow writers and I have gotten together to create a Letter to Santa where we are asking for some improvements and some changes to the Affordable Care Act and to health care reform. It’s already been very successful in the last few years in this country but there’s definitely still some room to improve.

So today, I’m with Joanne Boyer. She’s the author of a book called Wisdom of Progressive Voices and she blogs at She also has a marketing communications business and she’s a breast cancer survivor, so she brings both a small-business and a patient perspective to the healthcare reform discussion.

So Joanne, welcome, and tell us what would you like Santa to bring this year.

Joanne Boyer: Oh, hi and thanks, Louise. I decided that much like Ralphie from A Christmas Story, I was going to think big and expect the unexpected and just go for it here with my Christmas wish for single-payer healthcare for our country.

And while I could provide you lots of facts and statistical evidence on all the advantages that a single-payer healthcare system would bring, I think that our first step – especially at this holiday season – is to ask for a change of heart … that ultimately, you have to believe in your heart that healthcare is a human right and not a commodity.

And if you don’t have that kind of basic understanding that as a person you deserve the right to be healthy to access healthcare and to have that as part of any kind of human condition that you would be in. I think that’s what would have to happen first.

So at Christmas season, instead of thinking of charts and pie charts and diagrams and stats that Santa, as he starts to build a single-payer system would work for a change of heart around the country as well.

Louise:  I think that’s a great idea and it’s a really good point in terms of reminding people of the moral argument for providing healthcare to everyone really. You know, it really is a matter of life and death.

Do you envision this as sort of like expanding Medicare to cover the whole population?

Joanne: Yep. I think that when people describe it as a Medicare-for-all system that that’s a good way, but I’d take it even one step further that let’s take the Medicare Advantage plans even out of it. Sometimes when you say Medicare for all or Medicare you forget people still have that 80/20 split and so that I would just like to see the for-profit industry out of healthcare entirely. So Medicare for all. Healthcare is a human right.

And again I think the ask – while it’s big – it is underway and we can look to Vermont who’s working on legislation this year that if it passes will set up for 2017 implementation of a single-payer healthcare system and not to forget that John Conyers has his Bill HR 676 so the process is underway. We just again. A change of heart and a will to make this happen … so please Santa, I’m asking big … just like Ralphie.

Louise: Well, hopefully Santa’s listening. It’s a great request and it would really benefit an awful lot of Americans.

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