Monday, July 31, 2017

Does Expecting Candidates To Back Medicare-For-All Make You A "Purist?"


Kamala Harris-- just like Obama... but without any substance

Saturday afternoon we noted the new book coming out by Phillip Anderson, The Case Against Andrew Cuomo, with a post entitled Anybody But Cuomo? Well Almost Anybody. Certainly as silly a prospect as Cuomo is a very mediocre, former California Attorney General, careerist freshman senator, Kamala Harris. There's literally nothing-- unless gender and identity politics bullshit are all that matters-- that would recommend her for president. In a more politically competitive state than California she would never even have been elected to the Senate. Don't get me wrong, her voting record in the Senate is excellent (98.81), nearly as good as Elizabeth Warren's and Jeff Merkley's-- identical with other smart, ambitious corporatists like Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand as well as with Schumer's. It's even fractionally "better" than Bernie's (98.78)! But in terms of leadership and accomplishments... we have a ways to go, to put it very, very mildly.

A couple of months ago, Evan Halper was covering her for the L.A. Times and she was barking about "progressive purists." Harris is a total light-weight and, tragically for California, destined to be a pointless backbencher. I'm sure she'll continue voting well most of the time and that she'll mouth the "right" talking points on most policy issues, although I'd watch her down the road when her donors' interests clash with her constituents' interests. Meanwhile, last week, Jimmy Carter came out forcefully for single payer healthcare. As John Nichols noted for The Nation, he was certainly not a progressive president but this month came to the conclusion that Medicare-for-All is the path forward for the Democratic Party and for America.
Democrats remain divided on the question of whether to go all-in for “Medicare for All”-- as Montana Republican Senator Steve Daines attempted to highlight this week by proposing an insincere amendment backing a version of single payer. Daines, a right-wing provocateur, is not a supporter of real reform; he simply wanted to get progressive Democrats and their more moderate colleagues wrangling with one another over health-care reform. His move was foiled by supporters of single payer, led by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who refused to play Daines’s game. “The Democratic caucus will not participate in the Republicans’ sham process. No amendment will get a vote until we see the final legislation and know what bill we are amending,” explained a text from Sanders aide Josh Miller-Lewis. “Once Republicans show us their final bill, Sen. Sanders looks forward to getting a vote on his amendment that makes clear the Senate believes that the United States must join every major country and guarantee health care as a right, not a privilege.”

While they are united in rejecting Republican chicanery, however, Democrats have yet to get on the same page with regard to single payer-- a fact frequently noted by RoseAnn DeMoro, the executive director of the 175,000-member National Nurses United union, and others who have grown frustrated with the party’s failure to embrace the “Medicare for All” option.

Democrats should listen to Carter, as they should to the great mass of Americans who have made it clear that they want to maintain the access to health care that came with the Affordable Care Act and extend that access with an absolute guarantees of health care as a human right. That old argument for single payer, in combination for the new realities of scorching income inequality and an increasingly unstable gig economy, has made Carter and others recognize that the reform that was once morally necessary is now becoming an economic and social inevitability.

...The June Kaiser Health Tracking poll found that a majority of Americans (53 percent) now favor a single-payer health plan, while just 43 percent oppose such a plan. What’s especially notable is that not just progressive Democrats but independents are turning toward a “Medicare for All” system. “Not surprisingly,” note the Kaiser analysts,
There are partisan divisions in how the public feels about single-payer health care, with a majority of Democrats (64 percent) and just over half independents (55 percent) in favor and a majority of Republicans (67 percent) opposed. However, the recent increase in support for single-payer has largely been driven by an increase among independents. Among this group, on average in 2008-2009, 42 percent said they would favor a single-payer plan, a share that has increased to a majority (55 percent) in the most recent tracking poll.
The Pew Research Center notes that support for the argument that government has a responsibility to provide health-care coverage is especially pronounced among young people under the age of 20-- precisely the potential voters that Democrats will need to motivate in 2018 and in 2020.

...Democrats need to make their support for expansion clear. Yes, they must fight now to stop the Republican assault on the Affordable Care Act. But just saying “no” to Donald Trump and Paul Ryan is an insufficient response to the challenges that now exist and to the challenges that will take shape in the future. As Congressman John Conyers, the Michigan Democrat who has sponsored H.R. 676, the Expanded And Improved Medicare for All Act, says:
Establishing a non-profit universal single-payer health care system would be the best way to effectively contain health care costs and provide quality care for all Americans. It is time for Members of Congress, health policy scholars, economists, and the medical community to begin a serious discussion of the merits of a universal single-payer health care system.
In other words: It is time to listen to Jimmy Carter’s wise counsel.
Instead, the DCCC is doing exactly the opposite. As we mentioned over the weekend, although most of the Democrats in Congress have signed on as co-sponsors of John Conyers' Medicare-For-All bill, nearly the entire leadership of Pelosi's DCCC refuses to do so. And what's worse-- much worse-- is that they are recruiting and favoring, sometimes overtly, sometimes more subtly, candidates who oppose, or at least refuse to support, Medicare-For-All.

Take CA-39 for example. The DCCC has recruited a so-called "ex"-Republican lottery winner, Gil Cisneros, with nothing going for him aside from the eagerness to spend a fortune on buying the seat and purchasing endorsements from incumbents. At a candidates forum at Fullerton College last Wednesday (July 26), he and the progressive in the race, Sam Jammal-- who you can contribute to here-- were asked if they support Medicare-For-All. The lottery winner appeared to not understand the issue and refused to take a position, which is what the DCCC and their consultants urge their candidates to do. Sam has pledged to work for Medicare-For-All and to sign on as a co-sponsor as soon as he gets into Congress, just the way Jimmy Gomez did last week after he got sworn in after running against a centrist "ex"-Republican. Medicare-For-All is one of the top issues motivating Sam's entire run for office. He knows the issue inside and out, which was clear to the voters in Fullerton who were so shocked by Cisneros' inability to articulate a cohesive message on something that important to voters.

Min and mentor

In another Orange County district, CA-45, there are several Democrats forcefully backing Medicare-for-All, like Kia Hamadanchy. Yesterday he told us that "Healthcare is a universal right and no American should ever go bankrupt because they lack health insurance. Single payer is the best way of ensuring that every single person in this country has the access to healthcare that they deserve. And that means Medicare for All is something I'm going fight fiercely for when I get to Congress." That's the attitude voters want to hear. But a former Schumer staffer, Dave Min, is running-- awkwardly-- as a centrist who thinks, inexplicably, he's entitled to progressive support. He's not as thick as the lottery winner and he's likely to mouth some pablum somewhere along the line that can be interpreted, in a stretch, as support for single-payer but he hasn't felt the pressure to do so yet and if he does say it, he'll be as sincere about it as the nervous Blue Dog and New Dem incumbents who can read the writing on the wall and are starting to sign on as co-sponsors now.

Virtually the entire top echelon of the DCCC is at the core of right-of-center Democrats refusing to back Medicare-for-All... and they're working furiously to recruit and support more candidates like themselves. The worst of the worst, aside from Pelosi and Hoyer who enable this:
DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján (NM)
Recruitment chair Denny Heck (New Dem-WA)
Frontline chair Ann Kuster (New Dem-NH)
Finance Co-chair Suzan DelBene (New Dem-WA)
Finance Co-chair Don Beyer (New Dem-VA)
Heartland Engagement Chair Cheri Bustos (Blue Dog-IL)
Partners and Allies Council Co-chair Jim Himes (New Dem-CT)
Partners and Allies Council Co-chair Terri Sewell (New Dem-AL)
Partners and Allies Council Co-chair Joaquin Castro (New Dem-TX)
Women Lead co-chair Val Demings (New Dem-FL)
Women Lead co-chair Lois Frankel (FL)

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At 9:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Purposefully misleading piece?

The democraps aren't split on MFA.

Yes, some new candidates may genuinely believe in MFA and say so. Check back after the elections to see if any of them actually won.

Yes, SOME incumbents are also SAYING they are on board. They probably are not but want to get elected in the marginally sentient (Americans' apex) districts and states.

And, fucking yes, every single one of the leadershit -- you remember... the ones who dictate what does and does not get voted on -- is quite openly against MFA.

So... add all that up. I'll wait. Got the total? So.. tell me how MFA even sees the floor for a vote? How much money do you think health insurance and phrma lobbies will drop on the democrap leadershit to prevent it? What, you think they'll REFUSE an extra few BILLION between 2018 and 20xx???

It isn't about purity. It's about stupidity and lies and gullibility and stupidity and greed and stupidity. Did I mention stupidity?

At 5:25 PM, Blogger Chris Darling said...

The way to deal with recalcitrant Dems who do not support (or pretend to support) Medicare for All is to pressure them into it. Flood their offices with phone calls, ask them questions and have big signs about it at every one of their public appearances, etc. Make them know they cannot run away from the issue.


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