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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

 

I'd buy that for a dollar

by Tom Sullivan


Department of Health and Human Services headquarters by the National Mall.
Photo by Matthew G. Bisanz via Wikimedia Commons.

Moving left again:

[A]s she tries to clinch the nomination, Mrs. Clinton is moving to the left on health care and this week took a significant step in her opponent’s direction, suggesting she would like to give people the option to buy into Medicare.

“I’m also in favor of what’s called the public option, so that people can buy into Medicare at a certain age,” Mrs. Clinton said on Monday at a campaign event in Virginia.

Mr. Sanders calls his single-payer health care plan “Medicare for all.” What Mrs. Clinton proposed was a sort of Medicare for more.
Clinton was replying to a woman who as a small-business owner is contending with the cost of health insurance. The Wall Street Journal:
The Medicare-buy-in program is significant because it is seen by many advocates as a step to a single-payer system that Mr. Sanders favors. The idea is to grow the Medicare program so that it covers more and more people until there is, one day, support for it covering everybody.

Mr. Sanders responded to the Clinton proposal by saying it was “a step in the right direction, but … not good enough.”
One of the places where Democrats have fallen down on the job is in chasing social issues to the detriment of kitchen-table issues. Social issues such as North Carolina's #HB2, while important, are the bright, shiny objects that attract outrage, media attention, and breast-beating pronouncements, but few have the immediacy of making average people's (and voters') lives better in material ways the way a minimum wage increase would. Or expanding Medicare. That is why neoliberal policies from Democrats have lost working-class voters over time and why Trump's protectionist, anti-immigrant rhetoric has gotten traction. People feel the American Dream slipping through their fingers and see few leaders fighting to save it. The Democratic Party has a way to go yet.

I know if I had Medicare opt-in I might be spending more time spreading electrons here than punching a clock in an office. But then, I'm a lousy capitalist.