HomeBernie Sanders9/14 Healthcare News – Sanders’ Ad ‘We Can Make Health Care A Right”, Reaction To Bernie’s MFA Bill & More
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Universal Healthcare no Longer a Taboo, thanks to Bernie Sanders

here was a time, not too long ago – the iPhone, Facebook and Twitter all existed – when the two leading Democratic candidates for president of the United States didn’t support the right of gay people to marry.

“I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage,” the inspiring tribune of hope and change, Barack Obama, declared in 2008. His rival, Hillary Clinton, concurred. Gay people shouldn’t be able to marry.

By 2012, Obama backed same-sex marriage. Clinton followed suit, later than most Democrats, in 2013. Three years later, when she would run for president again, there was not a leading Democrat anywhere – name a city, a county – who didn’t support same-sex marriage.

Single-payer healthcare, thanks to Bernie Sanders, may be the new gay marriage

Once radical and taboo in mainstream Democratic circles, endorsing universal healthcare coverage is now de rigueur for anyone who seriously wants to run for president on the Democratic side in 2020. Kamala Harris, the California senator who seemed to be taking the Clinton route to the nomination by courting her Hamptons donors, is now co-sponsoring Sanders’ Medicare-for-all bill.

There are 16 Democratic senators in total supporting the bill, a remarkable number considering where the healthcare debate was two years ago when Sanders first campaigned for president as a democratic socialist long-shot. At the time, pundits, political operatives, and countless elected officials dismissed the single-payer Sanders dream as a disingenuous moonshot.

Read the rest here:https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/14/universal-healthcare-america-bernie-sanders


Interesting op-ed in today’s NYT:

Bernie’s Secret Allies

Yes, Republicans criticized and mocked the “Medicare for all” bill that Sanders released yesterday, and I doubt any Congressional Republicans will support the bill in the foreseeable future. But I do think they are unwittingly helping his cause.

There are two main alternatives to an expansion of government-provided health insurance. One is to argue that it’s fine if millions of Americans go without insurance. I don’t see many politicians willing to make this case affirmatively (even those who vote for bills that would take insurance away).

The second alternative is to strengthen private insurance markets, so that they’re covering more people and holding costs. Yet the Trump administration and many other Republicans — both governors and members of Congress — are now doing the opposite. They’re sabotaging the private insurance markets created by Obamacare. If those markets fail, it will leave many Americans who don’t get insurance through their job without coverage.

The weaker private markets become, the more political momentum government-provided insurance will have. Some Democrats will push for a gradual expansion of Medicaid and Medicare. Others, like Sanders and his growing list of allies, will push for an entirely new system. I don’t expect them to succeed anytime soon, but the debate over health care has moved much further to the left in recent years than I expected to see. And the Republican Party is largely responsible.

Elsewhere, Paul Waldman and Jonathan Cohn explain that the Sanders plan is more a conversation starter than a finely honed proposal. A big reason is that Sanders still hasn’t talked much about the hard choices and tradeoffs involved. But he did get more specific yesterday about the potential ways to pay for the plan, including a broad tax increase on workers (dressed up as a tax increase on businesses) and a range of tax increases on the wealthy. My favorite: Create a new top income bracket, on income above $10 million a year.

Read the rest here: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/14/opinion/bernie-sanders-single-payer-republican-party.html


A guy who used to work for VP Biden is inspired by Bernie’s MFA plan

Bernie Sanders’s Medicare-for-all plan is only a start. But it’s the right start

No question, there’s a ton of disruption and trench warfare with deep-pocketed stakeholders between here and there, but Sanders’s basic formulation does describe health systems in most other advanced economies.

Obviously, there is much to be said about the reality of all this. But to say it’s not going anywhere in this Congress misses the point.

Back in President Barack Obama’s first term, the theory of the case was that a realistic health-care plan with any chance of passage and implementation had to go through, not around, the very stakeholders that Sanders phases out (I worked for the administration back then). We can argue all day about whether that was the right path to take, but there’s no denying that the ACA has driven the share of Americans without health coverage to the lowest levels on record, while helping to slow the rate of cost growth.

Current political realities require building on these gains, inclusive of all stakeholders. It is interesting and notable that Sanders not only clearly gets this, but was himself one of the most energetic defenders of the ACA during the recent Republican attempts to repeal it.

Thus, what I hear Sanders implicitly saying is that we’ve got to walk and chew gum. We must both respect path dependency and act incrementally while at the same time envisioning and plotting a new path toward a much more progressive future.

This is why I find his plan, and the fact that it has all these co-sponsors, so downright inspiring. Look around, fellow progressives. I can’t speak for you, but what I see is a horribly cramped debate in every area that matters to me, including taxes, health care, climate, immigration, inequality, public investments, and so on. The indefatigable Sanders is trying his damnedest to blast that cramped debate wide open. Finally, a Democrat willing to envision a much different, more equitable political economy!

Is this a litmus test for Dems? Not necessarily…

But isn’t single payer becoming a dangerous litmus test that will tank Democrats once the opposition goes on the attack, telling swing voters how this plan will empty their wallets and squash their freedoms?

Not if they play it right. Sanders’s plan only starts this conversation, and the plan itself is actually highly modular. I can easily envision more moderate, path-dependent/incremental Democrats saying, “I agree with where Sen. Sanders wants to go here, but to minimize the disruptions and costs to the system, we must significantly extend the transition period.” That is, add a Medicare buy-in to the ACA and very gradually expand eligibility (some call this “Medicare for More”).

For far too long, Democrats have way over-negotiated with themselves, starting debates where they wanted to end up, and getting pushed hard to the right by conservatives. Sanders’s plan is one of the few I’ve seen for a long while that sees the folly in this and takes strong, corrective action. So go Bernie!

Did you hear that Ms. Clinton?



Great article. This is a great response to Bernie critics such as Brainwrap at DK. Walking and chewing gum is indeed one of Bernie’s many talents.


Brainwrap helped craft ACA, is my understanding, and he seems to be holding on to it with a death grip. I see his tweets from time to time. (He also comes off as a pompous ass sometimes, but that’s another story)

I recall sharing my views on ACA over at TOP once and he got in my virtual face demanding to know why I felt the way I did. Meanwhile, I had initially done my best to sell ACA to all of the naysayers around me when it was initially rolled out.

Since then my deductible has gone way up and I haven’t been to a doctor in years.

So, Brainwrap, if you’re reading this, ACA is still woefully inadequate! It’s better than nothing, I’m glad that those with pre-existing conditions have ‘access’ to healthcare, I’m glad young people can stay on their parent’s plan (if they have one) longer, but other than that it pretty much sucks.

Oh, and by the way Brainwrap, didn’t Harry Reid claim, as part of the selling of ACA, that ACA was just a step towards single payer??

Sen. Harry Reid: Obamacare ‘Absolutely’ A Step Toward A Single-Payer System

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