Monday, July 08, 2019

Bernie's Ready To Fight It Out On Medicare-For-All-- Are Status Quo Joe And Kamala?


When I was growing up, there weren't a lot of women's voices in the media. I'm old. But I remember always wanting to read Eleanor Clift in Newsweek, not so much because I agreed with her but because she was the only woman around writing about politics. She's even older than I am-- and older than Biden, Trump and Bernie. Now Newsweek has her writing for the Daily Beast and she's still a media representative of an establishment point of view. Yesterday, her post was sadly lame: Embracing Medicare for All Will Put the Democratic Party on Life Support. She doesn't understand and insists "Democrats must steer clear of this disaster waiting to happen." What disaster? People learning the details of Medicare-for-All. She calls it "a nice catchphrase, but... a poison pill that the Democratic candidates should not swallow whole." She's getting her information from from lobbyists and publicists paid handsomely by the Medical Industrial Complex to kill Medicare-For-All. Poor old Eleanor was an easy mark. She should watch this brand new Secular Talk video to see where she's been misled:

Asked for a show of hands which Democrats support Medicare for All, Elizabeth Warren led the charge to declare, “I’m with Bernie.” New York Mayor Bill De Blasio joined her. On the second night, Kamala Harris raised her hand to back Sanders, then following the debate thought better of it, saying she misunderstood the question.

So should the whole "I'm with Bernie" contingent of fake progressive candidates who aren't really with Bernie, don't really understand Medicare-for-All and don't really embrace Medicare-for-All-- and won't fight for it if they get elected. Let's start with the shallowest-- policy-wise-- of the candidates: Kamala Harris. She's also the least serious of the top Democratic candidates-- good actor but no core-- none. "Kamala Harris Says Medicare for All Wouldn’t End Private Insurance," wrote Sahil Kapur, who added "It Would." If she was paying attention instead of worrying about political positioning, she's know that. Kapur's use of "but" is a dead giveaway: "She favors single payer but wants a role for private insurance. Kamala Harris says she supports Medicare for All, and she has cosponsored legislation with Bernie Sanders. But unlike her Democratic presidential rival, she says the plan wouldn’t end private insurance. That’s misleading. The measure would outlaw all private insurance for medically necessary services but allow a sliver to remain for supplemental coverage. It would force the roughly 150 million Americans who are insured through their employer to switch to a government-run program.
Harris is trying to find a narrow path between two competing constituencies in the Democratic Party. On one side are progressives who passionately support so-called single payer insurance and are pushing the party to the left. On the other is the party establishment [+ establishment, or corporate, media], which believes that calling for an end to private insurance for millions would be political suicide against President Donald Trump in 2020.

...The issue has tripped up the California senator almost from the moment she began her candidacy. During the debates in Miami last week, Harris and Sanders raised their hands when NBC’s Lester Holt asked which candidates would “abolish their private health insurance in favor of a government-run plan.” She retreated the next day, saying she thought Holt was referring to her personal insurance plan and answered “no” when asked if private coverage insurance should end.

She ran into a similar problem in January, when her campaign walked back a comment she made at a CNN town hall calling for getting “rid of” private insurance structures.

Larry Levitt, a health policy expert at the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, said the intent of the Sanders bill is clear.

“As a practical matter, Senator Sanders’ Medicare for all bill would mean the end of private health insurance,” he said. “Employer health benefits would no longer exist, and private insurance would be prohibited from duplicating the coverage under Medicare.”

Sanders last week criticized Harris for splitting hairs, without mentioning her by name.

“If you support Medicare for All, you have to be willing to end the greed of the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries,” he said. “That means boldly transforming our dysfunctional system by ending the use of private health insurance, except to cover non-essential care like cosmetic surgeries.”

In an email, Harris spokesman Ian Sams responded: “Kamala’s position is and has always been every American would get insurance through the single payer plan, and private insurance would exist to cover anything supplemental, as is expressly outlined in the Medicare for All bill. Seems like Bernie is saying that, too.”

Other 2020 candidates-- Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand-- also cosponsored Sanders’s bill.

Warren has given a far more direct endorsement than Harris of the idea of eliminating private insurance.

“I’m with Bernie on Medicare for All,” she said on the first night of the Democratic debates. “There are a lot of politicians who say, oh, it’s just not possible, we just can’t do it, have a lot of political reasons for this. What they’re really telling you is they just won’t fight for it.”

At the other end of the spectrum is former Vice President Joe Biden, who said he wants to build on Obamacare by adding a government-run plan to the menu of options, a provision that progressives tried and failed to add in 2009 amid opposition from centrist Democrats.

“Everyone, whether they have private insurance or employer insurance and no insurance, they, in fact, can buy in the exchange to a Medicare-like plan,” Biden said in the debate.

Hedging her position, Harris has also cosponsored “Medicare X” legislation by Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, another Democratic presidential candidate who’s running as a moderate. That measure would preserve private coverage while allowing Americans to buy into a government-run plan. But she said Friday on MSNBC she favors single payer with only supplemental private insurance.

Harris continued to defend that position in West Des Moines, Iowa, on Wednesday, saying that losing one’s private insurance doesn’t mean losing one’s doctor.

“I am for Medicare for All,” she told reporters. “I think that that if you talk with people extensively enough, nobody’s in the position of really trying to defend their insurance company. What they want to know is that they’re going to be able to keep their doctor under Medicare for All. They will be.”

Single payer proponents argue that a “public option” isn’t feasible as it would attract only the sickest people and drive up costs; they say a national program that covers everybody is necessary to pool risk and keep prices down. But Democrats who prefer a government option argue that it’s the most pragmatic way to extend coverage.

At a campaign stop in Waterloo, Iowa, on Wednesday, Biden seemed to take aim at Harris and others who he said wanted to “start over” on health care.

“I fundamentally disagree with anyone who says scrap Obamacare,” he said. “I’m against any Republican who wants to scrap it, I’m against any Democrat who wants to scrap it.”

Over the weekend, House Medicare for All lead sponsor, Pramila Jayapal, wasn't playing any of Harris' word games. She launched a damn righteous tweet storm to set the record straight, especially on Biden's lies and misinformation.

In his CNN interview Friday, the hapless Biden said he supports allowing Americans to buy into Medicare instead of going all the way to Medicare for All, which he slammed as disruptive and costly despite studies showing it would save the U.S. trillions of dollars in overall healthcare spending, something he clearly can't wrap his frozen old brain around.

Biden: "If they like their employer-based insurance, which a lot of unions broke their neck to get, a lot of people like theirs, they shouldn't have to give it up. If you don't go my way and you go their way you have to give up all that. What's gonna happen when you have 300 million people landing on a healthcare plan. How long is that going to take? What's it going to do?"

I can only imagine Pramila's brain exploding when she heard the clueless and increasingly senile doofus regurgitating Republican Party talking points that have been used against Social Security and Medicare for decades. "This argument that 'unions broke their neck to get employer-based insurance' is an OLD argument that isn't relevant today," she tweeted.

Unions understand what's at stake even if the completely out of touch Biden doesn't and never will. After all, Bernie-- and Pramila's-- Medicare for All legislation cover every medically necessary service, including dental, vision and long-term care, leaving virtually no room for private insurers to cover anything except nose jobs and tummy tucks.

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At 5:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember Eleanor Clift. I always thought she was a useless twit with nothing original to say. Her vocal qualities always inspired me to change the channel.

Joe Biden is going to tear Kamala to pieces in Detroit. Her confronting him like she did made it personal, and he's not going to give her a chance to build on that attack again.

Under the current health insurance system, fewer people can afford to use what little coverage they have. A medical business my family owns has lost half of our client hospitals due to closure, and what clients remain have cut back drastically on calling us. I personally am looking into cutting back on my medical services because my fixed income can't afford it all anymore. I'm hardly alone.

I still expect the doctors to begin to yell about this issue, but they seem to be Republicans and think everything is awesome. Maybe they aren't hurting bad enough yet.

At 5:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Docs are leaving practice for a variety of reasons. Besides liability insurance costs, there are fewer and fewer who can pay and the lower reimbursements from insurance companies for those who have it. Individual practices are almost totally a thing of the past. And in order to make it economically, those that still practice must serve more and more patients to the point of it being assembly line medicine. Certain disciplines are suffering more than others -- OBGYN being dodgy because of liability insurance.

And it doesn't matter that nobody is going to fight it out for MFA. Pelosi and Scummer are arrayed with their "respective" caucuses against it. Again, the lobbies will pay any price to prevent it and Pelosi/scummer don't say no to that kind of money. So... there's that.

MFA won't ever happen until the democraps are gone and some kind of truly left party is in its place. Even if Bernie is sincere and he somehow wins, it ain't happening with Pelosi/scummer/democraps.

At 11:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The assertion that Bernie is "ready to fight it out" on any of his STATED issues is highly presumptuous. In his entire career, he's talked a great deal. But he's "fought" rarely.

His endorsement of the champion bank whore belies even his claim to any of his principles.

Taken together, it kind of indicates that he is probably no better than obamanation. And that ain't good.

"Good" is what we've failed to elect since... maybe JFK? Parts of LBJ were good, but not that little viet nam thingie. And from Nixon on... almost zero good. From Reagan on... zero good.

Lots of elections. Zero good.

fuck we're stupid!

At 1:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LBJ was not elected President. LBJ took office by NOT doing anything about the JFK assassination. Maybe the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act were his way of attempting to atone for his crime? Didn't work, or the Tet Offensive wouldn't have ended his political career. Instant Karma IS going to get you.

America will get that for not doing anything about tRump.

At 2:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I seem to remember an election in 1964. maybe you are too young.

we got trump for doing nothing about cheney/bush. We got them because Clinton was a nefarious liar. So your Karma comment is almost surely true.

Pelosi. it's all Pelosi. could have done something but never did.

Pelosi will die of old age with obscene wealth. where is her karma?

At 2:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

America was still in shock in 1964. I'd hardly call that a thoughtful election. It was more a reaction attempting to reconstruct normality. I remember my father absolutely refusing to vote.


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