‘Real’ Democrats Don’t Embrace Republican Talking Points: The Healthcare Edition

A while ago, some asshole with a blog noted the following about ‘real’ Democrats (as in, Sanders supposedly isn’t one):

If we look at policy among elected officials, Sen. Sanders is an independent, but you have to be staggeringly ignorant to not realize he has been a much more reliable Democratic vote than most Blue Dogs/New Dems. Who would you rather have: 10 Bernie Sanders or 10 Evan Bayhs? It’s not even close. As Howard Dean put it, “Functionally, he’s a Democrat.”

As to criticizing the Democratic Party, unless you believe that American political history began circa 2015, there is a long, awful tradition of Blue Dogs and New Democrats discussing ad nauseum what the Democratic Party needs to do (and unlike Sanders, who is actually proposing legislation, they didn’t do much). For years, Lieberman, Bayh, Zell Miller (remember that asshole?), and others would go on the Sunday talk shows and describe just how badly Democrats (always the liberal ones!) were screwing things up, all the while proposing Grand Bargains and Salvations of Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid that would screw rank-and-file Democrats.

Which brings us to presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg‘s evolution away from his support for Medicare for All (boldface mine):

The South Bend, Ind., mayor’s minute-long video, titled “Makes More Sense,” features several political reporters and analysts praising his plan and juxtaposing it with Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All, which would require that roughly 160 million Americans’ surrender their private insurance.

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren believe that we have to force ourselves into Medicare for All, where private insurance is abolished, there are 160 million Americans to get their insurance from their employer,” CNN analyst Joe Lockhart says in a clip included in the ad.

Buttigieg is “trying to focus on choice not infringing on people’s freedom to make that decision voluntarily,” NBC reporter Josh Lederman says in another segment.

“Medicare for All Who Want It is different than Medicare for All because this gives Americans a choice,” Buttigieg said in an additional video that was released concurrent with the ad and explains his proposal. “If you prefer a public plan like Medicare, like I think most Americans will, you can choose it. But if you prefer to keep your private insurance, you can.”

“Freedom”. “Abolish.” These are corporate Republican talking points. It is one thing to argue that Medicare for All is politically unattainable and that we need to move more incrementally, that we are not able yet to realize the long-term goals of the architects of Medicare and Medicaid–the Audacity of Nope. But it is very different in kind to argue that M4A is an assault on “freedom”, especially when being liberated from the whims of your employer and your insurer provides more freedom.

Moreover, Buttigieg’s approach doesn’t make sense on its supposed merits (boldface mine):

…Buttigieg claimed that Medicare-for-all would cost trillions: “No plan has been laid out to explain how a multi-trillion-dollar hole in this Medicare-for-all plan that Senator Warren is putting forward is supposed to get filled in.” On the specifics, Buttigieg is wrong — actually, the Sanders Medicare bill (which Warren supports) has a lot of funding mechanisms outlined.

But on a deeper level, Buttigeig’s argument is even more deceptive. He was likely referencing the study from the libertarian Mercatus Center about how much additional tax revenue would be needed to finance Medicare-for-all — just over $30 trillion, as Joe Biden said later. What that figure leaves out is that total health care spending under universal Medicare would go down by some $2 trillion over a decade.

And what it further leaves out is that the Mercatus Center is a hack propaganda shop whose work is heavily biased against progressive policy…

These savings would come from eliminating duplicative administration and the price-setting power over providers that universal Medicare would provide. Those savings would necessarily be less in more fragmented systems which would preserve private insurance — like the one proposed by Pete Buttigeig. In other words, Mayor Pete’s plan would be more expensive than Medicare-for-all. He would “pay for that” by keeping more of the cost burden on the shoulders of individual Americans.

If they use Republican talking points, don’t support them.

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1 Response to ‘Real’ Democrats Don’t Embrace Republican Talking Points: The Healthcare Edition

  1. Pete Buttigieg wants to be your Republican Daddy!

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