I cried watching this, thinking of my beautiful son Henry and his final weeks at home. Thank you, brave, beautiful @AdyBarkan. I will honor your incredible work & continue the fight for #MedicareForAll. PLEASE watch this in full & RT. pic.twitter.com/jNNb8PnqIz
When CNN announced last week that it would hold a debate on health care between Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham and progressive Sens. Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar, the reaction in some Democratic circles was anxiety. “I’m not sure single payer vs Graham-Cassidy is the debate we want right now,” mused former Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor. With the Affordable Care Act once more on the ropes, the argument seemed to go, Sanders was choosing to advance his personal politics ahead of the priorities of the moment.
Those fears were unfounded. A Monday night cable news special was never going to be the make-or-break moment for health care reform, but more importantly, Sanders’ skeptics, and his Republican debating opponents, misunderstood his entire approach to health care reform—no one in the Senate has as much riding on Obamacare’s survival as he does.
Both Cassidy and Graham, who learned shortly before the broadcast that they were at least one vote shy of passage, hoped to frame the conversation as a choice between their bill and the Medicare-for-all proposal Sanders unveiled last week. For the Republicans, it was a contrast of the free-market vs. crippling Canadian bureaucracy. If America only knew Bernie Sanders is a socialist.
But Sanders needed all of 10 seconds to make clear that his purpose at the debate was different. “These gentlemen have on five occasions tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act, throw tens and tens of millions of Americans off of the health insurance they currently have, and make it impossible or very difficult for people with pre-existing conditions to get the health care that they can afford,” he said.
Sanders, of course, was happy to defend the principle of a single-payer system, but he never let that get in the way of the task on hand, nor did he reject the incrementalism the Senate sometimes lives and breathes by. Of course Medicare-for-all won’t be passing anytime soon, he said. But in the meantime, there were bipartisan fixes to made to Obamacare, and opportunity to act on prescription drug prices—an area of agreement, Sanders noted, between he and President Trump.
David Doel of ‘The Rational National’ has more to say on the subject:
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