by Patrick Appel

Frum celebrates the Medicare buy-in going down in flames. Ezra Klein saw the Medicare buy-in as a first step towards single-payer, but this post by Tyler Cowen also sprang to mind when the idea was being seriously considered:

If I were a progressive I would be wondering right now whether Medicare was a tactical mistake.  The passage of Medicare meant that most old people get government-provided health care coverage.  Yet the way to get things done in this country, politically, is to get old people behind them.  Further health care reform doesn't now seem to promise much to old people, except spending cuts on them.  Given their limited time horizons, old people don't so much value system-wide improvements, which invariably take some while to pay off.

If Medicare had not been passed, might this country have instituted universal health care coverage sometime in the 1970s?

The buy-in would have made this problem worse, no?