Key ACA architect now supports single-payer

Former U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Montana, was a major player in crafting the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2009 when he was chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Though he then insisted a single-payer healthcare system not be discussed as part of the ACA, he’s now in favor of such a move.

“My personal view is we’ve got to start looking at single-payer,” Baucus said at an event at Montana State University according to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. “I think we should have hearings…. We’re getting there. It’s going to happen.”

When the ACA was being debated, Baucus was credited with making the final bill more centrist, opposing the inclusion publicly-run insurance option and refusing a hold a hearing on single-payer. He was later criticized for those positions because of the nearly $4 million in campaign contributions he had received from the insurance and pharmaceutical industries.

Now out of political office, Baucus credited some of his change of heart to seeing how Canada’s healthcare system operates. In Montana, he said, half a rural hospital’s space may be dedicated to processing claims. In Canada, all facilities need is a small room to verify a patient’s residency.

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