How DSA Marxists Influenced Health Policies for Both Major Presidential Candidates

John McDonough

A leading Marxist health academic played a key role in designing health policies in Massachusetts and at the Federal level, now popularly associated with both leading US presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.

The Massachusetts health “reforms” became known as “Romneycare,” after then Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who signed the program into law.

At the Federal level, the Affordable Health Care Act, usually known as “Obamacare” was largely designed by the same Harvard based academic, former Massachusetts State Senator John McDonough.

Interestingly, McDonough is a former chair of the Boston local of Democratic Socialists Organizing Committee, (since 1982, known as Democratic Socialists of America), the U.S.’s largest Marxist organization.

D.S.A. has long campaigned for “single payer,” or socialized healthcare as its major policy platform. It has worked for more than thirty years towards its goal of socialized health care at both state and federal levels, enlisting the support of its allies in Congress and the Senate along the way.

Steve Tarzynski, a Los Angeles physician and a former chairman and member of the D.S.A. National Political Committee and chair of the D.S.A. National Health Care Task force, explained D.S.A.’s position on “single payer” in Democratic Left January/February 1994:

We’ve met some of the modest goals that the national leadership set when DSA decided to make support for a single-payer Canadian-style health care system our major issue.

DSA members have served on the Clinton Health Care Task Force and in the leadership and rank and file of national and state single-payer coalitions. ..

The DSA National Convention in November unanimously adopted a resolution that clearly reaffirmed our support of the McDermott-Conyers-Wellstone single-payer bills (HR1200/S491). It also stipulated DSA’s advocacy of a “state option” for single payer in the final legislative package. The resolution also stated that DSA will organize and participate in anti-corporate campaigns targeting private health insurance, pharmaceutical lobbies, and any other corporate or political forces that seek to destroy real reform.

If a vote is delayed beyond fall 1994, DSA will also work in congressional campaigns that target anti-re form incumbents and that support, single-payer advocates. We will also continue our work in state campaigns to establish single-payer systems.

The most delicate aspect of our work is how we balance our efforts in improving the Clinton proposal and pushing for single-payer. This is not a new dilemma for the left. The tension between reform and revolution has existed within every socialist movement in Western industrialized democracies. It will always be with us. The solution lies in putting into practice Michael Harrington’s notion “visionary gradualism

Democratic socialists should project a vision of a moral society based on freedom, equality, and solidarity. We must also understand that reaching such a goal involves a gradual approach over a long period of years, with each reform becoming the foundation for the next. There is no other way, and history alone will judge the pace

D.S.A. has used this gradual approach for decades, setting up numerous front groups and using subservient labor unions and secret supporters in state legislatures and the U.S. Congress to put forward several versions “single” payer legislation.

It was only with the election of President Barack Obama in 2008, however, that D.S.A.’s long held dreams began to be realized at the Federal level.

A big part of that was probably due to the influence of Dr. Quentin Young, a retired Chicago physician and the grand old man of the U.S.’s “single payer” movement.

Young has been agitating for more than 40 years for socialized healthcare, working with state legislators and Congressmen across the country to bring U.S. health care under complete government control.

He is famous in medical circles as the founder of several pro-“single payer” organizations – the most recent being his Physicians for a National Health Program. Less famously, he was a long time supporter of the Communist Party USA and since the 1980s, a member of Democratic Socialists of America.

It is no surprise that Obama made health reform a major part of his program, because for many years Quentin Young was Barack Obama’s personal physician and political mentor.

Quentin Young, Barack Obama, 2003

In the 1990s, Barack Obama and Quentin Young were both supporters of “single payer” health care.

As a state Senator, Obama and D,S,A.-endorsed State Representative Willie Delgado, presented the Health Care Justice Act to the Illinois House and Senate.

According to the blog Thomas Paine’s Corner:

Barack Obama is quite familiar with the concepts and the specific merits of single payer. Back in the late 1990s, when he was an Illinois State Senator representing a mostly black district on the south side of Chicago, he took pains to consistently identify himself publicly with his neighbor Dr. Quentin Young.

He signed on as co-sponsor of the Bernardin Amendment, named after Chicago’s late Catholic Archbishop, who championed the public policy idea that medical care was a human right, not a commodity. At that time, when it was to his political advantage, Obama didn’t mind at all being perceived as an advocate of single payer.

A March 2009 Democracy Now! interview with D.S.A. affiliate Amy Goodman, confirmed the Young/Obama connection:

AMY GOODMAN: You’ve been a longtime friend of Barack Obama.


AMY GOODMAN: How has he changed over the years?

DR. QUENTIN YOUNG: Well, Barack Obama, as we know, was a community organizer, a very lofty calling, in my book, and he made the decision, when the opportunity came, that he could get more done politically, and he accepted the nomination for the seat in the State Senate. It’s not that long ago, really. It’s about a six, eight years ago.

Barack Obama, in those early days—influenced, I hope, by me and others—categorically said single payer was the best way, and he would inaugurate it if he could get the support, meaning majorities in both houses, which he’s got, and the presidency, which he’s got. And he said that on more than one occasion, and it represented the very high-grade intelligence we all know Barack has….

Clearly Democratic Socialists of America, a Marxist organization, is the driving force behind the move to socialized health care in the United States.

Through activists like John McDonough and Quentin Young, D.S.A. has been able to overtly and covertly influence many U.S. politicians, including President Bill Clinton and both of 2012’s main presidential candidates.

If U.S. medicine ever comes under full state control, the blame for that disaster can be laid squarely the door of Democratic Socialists of America.

Trevor Loudon blogs at, edits the KeyWiki website (an online encyclopedia of the US left) and is the author of a 700 page book on the US President’s communist and Marxist ties: Barack Obama and the Enemies Within.


Author: Admin

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16 thoughts on “How DSA Marxists Influenced Health Policies for Both Major Presidential Candidates

  1. Remove as many DSA members from government as are possible in 2012. They are really an arm of the Socialist International, formerly known as the Communist International. They are NOT about health care; they are about CONTROL.

  2. The question is “who is calling the shots?”

    Is Obama a willing tool of the DSA or is he just ideologically linked but making his own decisions? Either way its bad for us. Our republic is doomed if he is re-elected.

  3. I do not mind paying as a tax for healthgare what scares me is what is written in those 2000 plus pages that takes away our freedoms.

  4. More of the same exceptional work Trevor. If the folks only knew how deep Obama’s “Red” roots run would they still vote for him? Sadly there is a large segment of America that just doesn’t care as long as they’re on the Government dole. Obamacare is not about health care, it is about redistribution of wealth and control.

    1. I agree 100%. Pretty soon we’ll have more people receiving handouts than those working…. where do the liberals think this will end up?

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