The Democratic Party Has Finally Embraced Single-Payer

No one is really surprised – we all saw this coming. The Democratic Party has slowly encroached closer and closer to full-blown socialized health care for years now.

Conservatives warned that Obamacare would lead to this.. and now we are here.

Numerous Senate Democrats have openly embraced Sen. Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for all” bill. This is legislation that would take the federal program that currently covers health care costs of citizens 65 and over and expand it to all Americans. If such a bill were to pass, the federal government would pay the tab of all medical expenses.

It’s not necessarily the number of Senate Democrats who have come out in support of this bill, but it’s the who. Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), among others, have publicly announced support for this legislation.

What do all four of these liberal senators have in common? They are all top contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

These are people who will lead (or already leading) the Democratic Party in the years to come. The fact that they have already announced support for this bill before it’s been formally introduced (the bill drops today) demonstrates how much of a litmus test this will be. Any Democrat wishing to run against single-payer will automatically be branded as too moderate for their party nomination.

Bernie Sanders – a Democratic socialist who refuses to call himself a Democrat – is the sponsor of this bill. After his stunning performance in last year’s Democratic primary, it’s no shocker he returned to the Senate chamber a more powerful man among his caucus. Democrats hoping to run in 2020 don’t want to be outflanked from the left as happened to Hillary last year.

This bill has already gained strong momentum among Democrats despite it only being introduced today (Wednesday). Other, less interesting Democrats have also signaled support for the measure. They include Sens Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI.) and others. Even Sen Jon Tester, who represents the red state of Montana, has expressed mild interest in such an expansion of government into the healthcare realm.

Expect many more to follow the herd.

All the action isn’t only happening in the upper chamber. John Conyers, a Democrat representative from Michigan, has re-introduced a single-payer health care bill that has amassed well over 100 supporters – over half the Democratic caucus stands in approval. Conyers’ bill, a measure he introduces in the House on a perennial basis, enjoys more backing now than it ever has since he began introducing it over 10 years ago.

In other words: single-payer is no longer a sensitive subject for Democrats. It’s now mainstream.

There are, however, still some holdouts within Democratic ranks. After previewing it on Tuesday, both House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have distanced themselves from Sander’s bill. Pelosi says she wants to focus on protecting Obamacare and Schumer more-or-less waffled by saying “there are many different bills out there” and did not endorse this particular one. The two are official congressional leaders of the Democratic Party – at least on paper.

These Democrats can hold their ground all they want, but the dam has already been flooded within their party.

Like it or not, Republicans are the only ones left to stop socialized health care from washing up on our shores.

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BRILLIANT: GOP Senator Wants Democrats to Go on Record Supporting Single-Payer Healthcare




One Republican senator has devised a genius strategy to call out Democrats who support single-payer health care: by forcing them to vote on it. Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) wants to add an amendment to the Obamacare replacement legislation that would implement single-payer healthcare. By doing so, Democrats who support it will go on record, even though the measure is as doomed as the rest of the health care bills so far.



Daines’ single-payer amendment is a carbon copy of one offered in the House by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich.

The Conyers bill, with more than 100 Democratic cosponsors, proposes to create a program the legislation describes as “Medicare for All.” According to the bill’s language, “all individuals residing in the United States would be covered.” To pay for the program, Conyers proposes raising income taxes on the top 5 percent of earners, plus hiking taxes on payroll and self-imployment income, unearned income, and stock and bond transactions.

It’s pretty shrewd when you think about it – especially when it comes to calling out the senators who are up for reelection in 2018.

But will the Democrats take the bait? Or will they see Daines’ plan for what it is – a political trick? Either way, it will be entertaining to see what happens.

In Which John McCain Saves America From Filthy Cowards




Any Republican who votes against what John McCain, forgotten hero of a forgotten war in Vietnam, raised himself out of his own personal cancer battle to fly to Washington, descend into a pit of vipers and personally support, is a shameful filthy coward.

Today, America finally welcomes its real hero in a town particularly bereft of heroes. Sen. John McCain returns to rally the GOP, and hopefully, save America.

John McCain: carrier jet pilot, Navy Captain, disabled American veteran, prisoner of war, Vietnam veteran, U.S. senator, former GOP nominee for President of the United States, American hero. He will finally be welcomed in a town that spent decades deriding him.

His appearance could not be more timely. The Senate will vote on something today–either a naked repeal of Obamacare, or some version of the troubled BCRA. But in order to even get there, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell needs 50 votes to begin debate on the reconciliation bill from the House. McCain is likely the 50th vote.




Who would vote “no” with him in the chamber? In Washington, imagery is everything, and nobody–nobody–wants to be labeled the jerk who sent McCain home to die of cancer. If it’s possible for a GOP senator to be less popular than Great Ormond Street hospital, that would do it.

Sympathy, however will only get you so far. Yes, the 80-year-old has endured insults and death wishes, and even hard-hearted Democrats know that he is the best rallying cry the GOP possesses this day.

No, Mr. Corn, you pig, you miserable vomitous mass. It’s conceivable that the GOP has already laid down to die because it lacks the strength to keep even the weakest of campaign promises. It’s possible that Obamacare will never be repealed, like disgraced and ousted John Boehner thinks.

But maybe they do have something left.

It’s possible that McCain will save America from the hell of single-payer insurance that Democrats have already begun preparing. Sens. Gillibrand, Warren, Baldwin and Booker are like vultures gathering over a corpse to feast on its bloated flesh.

If they fail–the very instant Obamacare’s repeal fails, watch them circle around Schumer and the White House to move Trump into full-cooperation mode. Then America will have its own Charlie Gard.

Any Republican who votes against what John McCain, forgotten hero of a forgotten war in Vietnam, raised himself out of his own personal cancer battle to fly to Washington, descend into a pit of vipers and personally support, is a shameful filthy coward.

It’s possible that all the pundits are right and that this is a dead issue.

But John McCain doesn’t think so. The GOP might be dead as a doornail, and any chance at repealing Obamacare might be as far-fetched as President Trump becoming humble.

I’d rather believe that heroes still exist, and that John McCain, being one, will save the day, and America.

 

There He Goes Again… Trump Praises Single Payer Healthcare

Hours after a raucous celebration for the 1/3 passage of the American Healthcare Act on the White House lawn, President trump sat with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and praised their country’s single payer healthcare system. Apparently he realized the mistake as he was saying it, but it didn’t stop him from finishing: “I shouldn’t say this to our great gentleman and my friend from Australia, because you have better healthcare than we do, but we’re going to have great healthcare very soon.”

Sigh.

Of course, it’s not that surprising he feels this way, since he’s said it many times before. Remember, he praised Canada and Scotland’s single payer systems during the Fox News primary debate in 2015, and repeated it during his 60 Minutes interview later than month. He has praised it in many other interviews for NBC, The Advocate and on Larry King Live. But, the fact that he did it on international television, just hours after celebrating partial passage of a privatization effort is what is upsetting.

It wasn’t long before Senator Bernie Sanders, bursting into laughter, promised to quote the president on the floor of the Senate when they debate their own version of the bill (see video):

“Thank you Mr. President. Let us move to a Medicare for all system that does what every other major country on earth does: guarantee health care to all people at a fraction of the cost per capita what we spend. Thank you Mr. President. We’ll quote you on the floor of the Senate.”

Crap.

While I’m happy about movement in the right direction with today’s bill, it’s more of a relief in progress than happiness in accomplishment. The American Healthcare Act is far from perfect, but it’s an improvement on what we currently have. It repeals the two mandates that galvanized us seven years ago, the Individual Mandate and the Employer Mandate. It also repeals eight massive taxes that were draining our economy. That being said, the fact that it took this much effort to move half a step forward is concerning, and it has Charles Krauthammer predicting single payer healthcare for the United States in “less than seven years.” Not if I can help it.

Today’s very public concession that single payer healthcare is better than our own is going to do more to damage our effort than Obamacare’s failure.

THE TIME IS NOW

In the months ahead, we have a one time shot at pushing this further, to an actual free market as Obamacare fully implodes, or single-payer’s failure is our future.

Conservatives have long known that healthcare lacked a truly free market for 50 years. Before the ACA, there were no market forces in play on price, competition or transparency. Any economist knows that these things inform producers how to best deliver service, and help consumers decide where and how to spend their money. This, in turn has led every industry in history to lower prices, efficient costs, greater access and a scale of quality decided on by the customer.

The reality is that truly single-payer healthcare is rare, and for a reason. Sweden is moving back to one with private insurers because it’s system is failing. Most French citizens are covered by supplemental insurance because the government insurance isn’t enough and is going broke. Germany has over 150 different insurance funds to help supplement government coverage. And yes, even Australia knows it’s facing funding issues, despite it’s relatively homogenous population. Finally, the motherland now ranks itself as one of the worst healthcare systems in the developed world.

Interestingly, Ezra Klein, a single payer proponent, has admitted the the US system fails because neither the free market, nor the government determines prices and costs. “That leaves the United States with the worst of both approaches. We simultaneously miss out on the efficiency of a purely private system and on the savings of a purely public one.” The result is we pay more for inexplicable reasons, and the government sets the lowest standard for it’s own inexplicable reasons.

Thank you, Ezra, we should use that on the Senate floor.

Our system is not tenable. It wasn’t tenable before the ACA, and it’s worse now. We need true reform that introduces those market forces for the first time in decades, and allows them to drive down costs, force prices lower, increase access and keep quality in the hands of consumers. In turn, insurance will become cheaper because what it’s paying for is cheaper.

The time is now, not later. With one step forward today, we need to keep pressing for incremental change. It worked for the progressive left for 150 years. We could learn something from that.

And until we get there, we need the president to just stop talking. For the love of God, just smile and wave. Please?