August 1, 2019 by Chris Kite
I watched last night’s debate and was pretty uncomfortable most of the time. I really don’t like seeing Democrats beat up on other Democrats. But better to get it out of the way now than let Republicans be the first to do it!
Joe Biden isn’t even in the top three of my preferred presidential candidates. That said, I think he and the other “moderate” Democrats had a good point in the latest round of debates. I’m left. I’m far left. And I totally support a single payer healthcare system. I think Medicare For All is a good idea and would truly help solve some of our worst healthcare problems.
But, and this is very significant, I think an awful lot of Americans are going to be very afraid of the prospect of losing what they know and like (or love) if they have a good healthcare plan. And I think union workers would really get the short end of the stick if all of a sudden, their healthcare benefit was taken away. It is a big part of many compensation packages.
By offering a public option to anyone that wants it, and therefore allowing anyone that wants to buy into Medicare to do so, it gives Americans a choice as to what they WANT to do. I think it is highly complex and not an insignificant thing to initiate and fund, let alone get it passed, but it is worth an attempt.
And if we of the left wing of the Democratic party really believe that for profit health insurance is wrong, is needlessly expensive, and is not a good thing for Americans, we should be confident that having a public option that ANYONE can buy into we bill the first step in ending private healthcare. But not forcibly. Instead, Americans would have the choice and eventually, I think all but those with the very best plans would decide it was smarter to move to a public option than to stick with their private plan that rations healthcare, has high premiums, high deductibles, and high out of pocket costs.
I also think that we worked too hard on getting the ACA passed to just abandon it. Is it perfect? Nope. Is it great? Hardly! And I know because up until retirement, I was on a half decent private plan and now I’m an ACA customer. I have a very good comparison of the two. I don’t want to see the ACA die, because it is better than what I would get without it. But it is NOT the best solution.
The ACA is law and I think legislation can fix some of its biggest problems. If we can get those fixes passed. Is that likely? Probably not. But I think it is far more likely than getting 60 senate votes to get rid of private healthcare insurance.
Democrats lost the house and senate in 2010 after passing the ACA. Republicans were masterful at making it sound horrible and putting fear into the minds of moderate and conservative voters. They blamed problems on ACA that were inherent in the system long before the ACA.
There is certainly great truth to the fact that Republicans are going to be preaching fear and doubt into ANY Democratic healthcare plan. But I think selling a system that allows anyone the wants to buy in to Medicare to do so, and expanding the benefits of Medicare beyond what it covers today are great steps toward bringing our country out of the dark ages of healthcare. I would positively jump at the chance to buy into Medicare and replace my ACA plan!
If I were to vote today, I would most likely vote for Elizabeth Warren. But I have great reservations about whether her healthcare approach is sellable, or, more importantly, something that would get through congress. Why risk losing an election over something that is very unlikely to ever happen? And as far as my vote next November goes, I don’t care who wins the Democratic nomination. They have my vote. Even the crazy hippy Marrianne Wilson. It isn’t like she could be worse than what we currently have!