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On health care and beyond, Thomas Edsall considers the Dems’ leftward shift

Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
REUTERS/Carlos Barria
On the first day of new member orientation in November, Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez demonstrated with climate activists at Nancy Pelosi’s office, pushing her to adopt the Green New Deal.

In my middle-class family (of origin), we were raised to acknowledge and appreciate our good fortune, like good health and the freedom middle-class Americans had to pursue their dreams, but also to knock wood when acknowledging it, which was insurance against jinxing said good fortune. (The wood-knocking tradition apparently had pagan roots.) In my family, if no wood was handy, you could knock yourself on the noggin.

In that spirit, I gratefully acknowledge my good fortune that since birth I have had mostly good health, and have also always been covered by health insurance, first provided by my parents, then via various jobs. And now I qualify for the program that we call Medicare (so we don’t have to call it socialized medicine for seniors).

Lucky me. I’ve had many advantages in life: brave grandparents who emigrated here from a much worse place, parents who worked hard and sacrificed so their kids could have a shot at the good life in America, a healthy body, and now a wonderful wife and kids who were born with healthy bodies and access to health care. I know a lot of people have been less fortunate.

I don’t know how central any of the above is to my basically liberal leanings (probably a lot). But, personally, perhaps based on what is sometimes mockingly called liberal guilt, I have long been ready to support social democratic programs, like, for example, single-payer health care. (I know, I’m supposed to say “Medicare for All” now. Fine. Either way, I’m for it. Having never had to worry about access to health care, I want that peace of mind for everyone.)


Despite the self-mockery above, I don’t know how to morally justify the status quo in U.S. health policy in which our nation, one of the most affluent in the world, has one of the highest (or is it the highest, among the wealthy nations?) share of its population who are uninsured. Health care policy and economics – especially in the USA – can be maddeningly complex, and the policy discussion is fraught with political peril.

The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was ridiculously complicated, made too many concessions to the medical/pharmaceutical/health insurance megaplex, and didn’t do enough to reduce the uninsured portion of the U.S. population. But, considering how difficult it was to get it passed, it was probably the biggest step toward reducing the ranks of the uninsured that could have passed. And it has – significantly – helped formerly uninsured people get covered.

The ACA’s enemies are determined to repeal it, or at least continue to weaken it. This graph from the Kaiser Family Foundation demonstrates two things at a glance.

From 2011 – the year the ACA began to be implemented, to 2016, the uninsured portion of the non-elderly U.S. population was reduced from 17.8 percent,to 10.0 percent. Not quite cut in half, but almost. It dropped every year, although the decline certainly was stalling. The closest the United States has ever been to having universal coverage was 2016.

Also in 2016, Hillary Clinton ran for president promising some smallish improvements in the program. Bernie Sanders ran advocating movement toward “Medicare for All,” which was another, presumably less politically scary name for single-payer government subsidized health care. And Donald Trump ran on repealing the Affordable Care Act and replacing it with something that he couldn’t describe intelligibly, perhaps because the replacement program didn’t exist.

In case you’re just waking up from a long nap, Trump won the election. But, despite Republican control of all branches, the dream of “repeal and replace” failed.

The Trump administration continues to try to hamper the ACA in small ways. In 2017, for the first time in seven years, according to Kaiser, the portion of non-elderly Americans who are covered by health insurance declined, but only slightly. Efforts on many fronts across all three branches of the federal government continue to starve or poison the ACA program continue. Nothing very big has happened.

And now that Democrats have retaken control of the U.S. House, talk of ACA repeal is mostly over. Democrats oppose repeal, but are divided between those (like Sanders and many of the fiery lefties who were just elected) continue to push for something much closer to single payer/Medicare for all.

Which brings me to this week’s New York Times column by the great Thomas Edsall, which is what set me off in this small diatribe, or ode to my late parents. As usual, Edsall corresponded with scholars and other smarties seeking their insights into political and policy questions, in this case about the future of health care policy.


Edsall wasn’t fundamentally exploring ACA repeal. He was asking his correspondents more about the coming clash within the Democratic Party between its left and its centrist (or center-left) branches.

Before 2016, even the leftmost tended not to use the word “socialism” (as in “socialized medicine”). They were pretty shy about what might be called far-left liberalism.

Sanders, who has called himself a “democratic socialist” for decades (and still doesn’t call himself a member of the Democratic Party, even though he sought its presidential nomination in 2016 and may do so again in 2020), took many positions that were outside the boundaries of conventional Democratic Party liberalism, made a strong run for the Democratic nomination and may try again in 2020. Meanwhile, a substantial cadre of new young Democrats emerged who don’t shy away from the S-word and advocate for policies that used to be considered nut-left positions, like single-payer health care.

That has changed. Many young Democrats call for unambiguously single-payer health care (although some prefer “Medicare for All”).

Freshman Democratic superstar U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York calls herself a Democratic Socialist and says health care is a basic human right. And she’s not the only one among young Democrats.

This is precisely the phenomenon Edsall is exploring in his column, but he notes an obvious tension. Ocasio-Cortez represents a powerful new left in the party, but the same party includes moderate liberals who certainly are not comfortable with the S-word.

Some Democrats, though a shrinking share, call themselves moderates and a few even call themselves conservatives. But the furthest left group are the most active Democrats and the most likely to, for example, vote in primaries, which raises the possibility that the moderate Democrats may find themselves uncomfortable with some of the party’s nominees.

Edsall quotes David Graham of The Atlantic, who wrote:

There’s clear leftward movement among Democratic voters on a range of issues, and there are more progressive candidates running than ever. But this doesn’t amount, at least yet, to the socialist groundswell that advocates pine for and critics fear. The actual policy positions, and number of leftist officeholders, will remain limited — at least for now. What happens in 2020 could be more telling.


Graham’s conclusion:

The Democratic Party is moving left, but it might not be clear quite how far left for two or even six years. The revolution is coming more slowly than its champions hope and its critics fear.

It’s clear the Dems will have a huge primary field for the 2020 presidential nomination, ranging from socialists to moderates. To read the full Edsall column, follow this link.

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Comments (35)

  1. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 01/24/2019 - 10:12 am.

    As many in the GOP understood – Obamacare is just a bridge to a “single payer” healthcare system.

    Many in the GOP realized the obvious shortcomings of Obamacare that just now the liberals are acknowledging or knew all along – but were afraid to admit.

    It is interesting to see the rash of healthcare disaster stories on the pages of the media as the push toward socialized medicine begins. Of course – we were told these healthcare disaster stories would be solved with the passing of Obamacare.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 01/24/2019 - 11:00 am.

      The ACA – which was a plan originally created by Republicans when they were still interested in actually solving problems – did a lot to improve access to affordable healthcare and would have been even more successful had Republicans not tried to undermine it at every turn. The ACA was the compromise. If that compromise is going to be rejected, the Democrats are going to have to try to join the rest of the world in enacting a system with universal coverage.

      • Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 01/24/2019 - 11:42 am.

        Compromise?

        Obamacare passes the Senate without one GOP vote. It passed the house with 34 House Democrats and all of the House Republicans voting against Obamacare.

        If that is compromise – I have a wall to sell you.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/24/2019 - 12:16 pm.

          The “compromise” was with an idea floated by Republicans. The fact that they were too stubborn to want to let the Kenyan usurper have a legislative victory, and that they decided to retreat to their tents and not participate, doesn’t make it any less of a compromise.

          • Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 01/24/2019 - 12:42 pm.

            That is a unique description of “compromise.”

            Don’t forget those 34 dems in the house who formed the bi-partisan opposition. I think they even propped and brought back a dying dem senator to ram through this law.

            The truth is that Obamacare has Dem fingerprints all over it. It was promised to solve the healthcare crisis. Now every Dem nominee for the 2020 party will have to propose a “new” solution to healthcare, after Obamacare has failed miserably. No one will win the nomination running on failed Obamacare.

            Even Mr. Black may have to resort the “L” word when finally examining the dem rhetoric surrounding the “sell” of Obamacare.

            • Submitted by ian wade on 01/24/2019 - 02:19 pm.

              Just because you continue to post that Obamacare has “failed miserably” doesn’t make it true. Nor was the ACA ever pitched as complete solution to the healthcare crisis. In fact, uninsured rates average a 35% reduction across the economic spectrum. Hospital uncompensated care costs fell sharply in Medicaid expansion states. National health expenditures as a share of GDP has been cut in half.
              All that the ACA needs, like every other major program, is tweaking to make it better. Something the GOP refuses to do. Republicans had years to come up with a replacement and failed to do so.
              They have absolutely nothing because they don’t care

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/24/2019 - 03:31 pm.

              It is a “unique” description of “compromise” only if you limit your view of compromise to keeping a tally of votes. Democrats adopted ideas that had been put forth previously by Republicans. The fact that Republicans sulked and didn’t want any part of it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t their idea, and that adopting it was not a compromise.

              I don’t know if you can appreciate this, Mr. Gotzman, but governance is not about keeping score or making points. It’s about putting forth ideas and deciding what works best. If we want a democracy that actually accomplishes something, we need to realize that the real debate is about policies, not about who’s on what side. “Winning” or “losing” are secondary matters.

              It may be fun to watch the fighting, but that’s not why we have a democracy.

              I realize that this does not fit into our current political ethos. In particular, the current administration seems content to turn the oldest functioning constitutional republic in the world into a combination of a reality show and a cage match. It’s about “owning” the opposition, not about advancing any real policies. I get that this sort of thing is going to appeal to the more juvenile-minded element of the polity, but it’s not how things are supposed to be. We should have a government of adults, who behave like adults.

            • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 01/24/2019 - 04:09 pm.

              An Oldie, but a Goodie:

              Tim Noah: The Heritage Foundation disowns its baby:
              Noted for August 22, 2013

              Obamacare is largely Heritage’s own invention…. Look out, donors: the policies you pay Heritage to develop today may be policies you pay Heritage to defeat tomorrow…. Dr. Frankenstein is Stuart Butler, then director of domestic policy research at Heritage and, since 2010, director of Heritage’s Center For Policy Innovation. (No, they didn’t fire him.)… Butler wrote a 1989 pamphlet titled A National Health System For America in collaboration with Edmund Haislmaier (then a health care policy analyst at Heritage and now a senior research fellow there—no, they didn’t fire him, either). The pamphlet is not currently available on Heritage’s Web site…. In the lecture, Butler repeatedly called his proposal “the Heritage plan”…. Under Butler’s (whoops, make that Heritage’s) scheme, everyone would have to purchase his or her own health insurance. Butler proposed a consumer-choice system in which the government “set broad rules of the ‘game,’” and the context strongly suggested that by “government” Butler meant “federal government.”… When Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was putting together a state-level health reform plan that was another model for Obamacare, Heritage “helped us construct an exchange,” according to Romney’s 2010 book, No Apology…. Heritage denies that it ever favored a health plan that remotely resembled Obamacare. Conceding this point too conspicuously would compromise its splashy campaign to defeat Obamacare by any means necessary. How can Obamacare be the work of the devil if much of that work was done at Heritage? A subject, perhaps, for future scholarly inquiry.

          • Submitted by james herzog on 01/24/2019 - 01:37 pm.

            Agreed, the Republicans turned their back on their own legislation for a win against Obama, and it was entirely partisan — it had noting to do with healthcare, and the proof is in the fact they have no replacement, and that they voted for, and still support, a racist with deep hatred towards Obama.

            • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 01/24/2019 - 09:38 pm.

              Exactly!

              In 2009 the Rs simply need to declare victory:

              “We fought back against one payer, socialized medicine and forced the D’s to implement our Heritage Foundation idea from 20 years ago.”

              A clean R victory! From there a cooperative approach to improvement and correction could have been facilitated because all sides are declaring victory.12 Years of non-stop fighting would have been unnecessary. We could have moved on. Imagine that!

              It was a perfectly plausible immediate outcome: a simple political miscalculation by the R leadership has given 12 years of non stop strife.

  2. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 01/24/2019 - 10:17 am.

    Maybe instead of thinking in terms of leftward or rightward shift, we should focus instead on what’s good policy.

    Consider health care. I don’t understand what health insurers contribute to health care. They seem to me to be unnecessary middle people in the payment of health care costs, the sort of thing Walmart would try to do away with. Is that really a left wing opinion? Or just an opinion based on a reasonably disputable business judgment?

    • Submitted by Don Casey on 01/24/2019 - 01:36 pm.

      Insurers are middlemen — between providers and insured individuals. There are middlemen (sometimes more than one) in virtually every transaction in our economy (e,g, wholesalers and merchants between manufacturers and consumers). With Medicare, the federal government effectively is the middleman (using fees-for-service claims services). Efficiency and costs in the middle become a question. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimated $60 billion of taxpayer money (more than 10 percent of Medicare’s total budget) was lost to fraud, waste, abuse and improper payments in 2014. Do other middlemen lose that much to fraud and duplication?

  3. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 01/24/2019 - 11:39 am.

    Edsall’s column is, as usual, thoughtful and thorough. I’m personally inclined toward the view expressed by one of his correspondents that current Democratic positions represent less of a shift to the left than a return to the party’s economic and social roots of the past century. Among my favorite lines from Franklin Roosevelt, unlikely to show up in public policy any time soon, if ever, is, “No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country.”

    I don’t know who Ron Gotzman talks to about public policy, but no one in my own circle of friends and acquaintances thought the Affordable Care Act would solve our societal health care issues. It was, and still is, in large part, regarded as it’s often been described – a step along the path toward what those on the right refer to as “socialized medicine,” or, to use Gotzman’s term, a “bridge” to a single-payer system. It was a Republican idea, further compromised in development by extensive lobbying on the part of several parts of the medical-industrial complex.

    Based on my own, admittedly limited, observations, it seems evident to me that our health care system, in keeping with an ideology that supports billionaires, is largely based on profit (cynics will substitute “greed”), with better health a desired, but nonetheless secondary, consideration. I’ve lived with parent-sponsored, employer-sponsored, and now government-sponsored health care. I’ve also lived with only the health care I could pay for out of my own pocket, and for long enough to have a fair idea of the level of anxiety that situation brings to one’s life, as well as the very real limitations it places on how much and what kind of health care is available.

    Growing up, my health care universe was much like Eric’s. Health care was always there, and I never questioned its availability. Then I retired and moved to a different state, which had multiple effects on my lifestyle, not least of which was that I found myself totally without health care, except for minimal dental coverage through my former employer. For a dozen years, I was on my own – paying for surgery, medication for an ongoing condition, plus office visits, x-rays, etc., out of my own, limited-income retiree pocket. It was not a pleasant or reassuring experience, and I look forward to our society’s adoption of whatever Mr. Gotzman wants to call single-payer health care with universal coverage for everyone. “Ethel.” “Karl Marx.” “Xylophene the Martian.” I don’t care what it’s called. Every other industrial nation on the planet has something approximating universal coverage. In some, it’s government-provided, in some, it’s provided through a combination of public and private-sector agencies, closely supervised by the government. Regardless, it’s available to everyone, and at minimal or no out-of-pocket cost to citizens (and even to foreign visitors). They have health outcomes and life spans equivalent to ours at the very least, and in many cases, those outcomes and life spans are significantly better / longer than is currently the case in the U.S., and – this should be important for liberals and “conservatives” alike – at lower cost, often MUCH lower cost, than we’re paying here.

    I’m old, and old-fashioned enough, that I’m still not entirely comfortable with health care as a “right” in the constitutional sense, but in a country as affluent as this one, there simply aren’t any credible reasons why **every** resident of the U.S., regardless of age, ethnicity, gender or economic condition, should not have good-quality, effective health care. We can afford it. What we lack is the political and ethical will to implement it.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 01/24/2019 - 06:58 pm.

      And of course, in civilized countries, where people are healthier and live longer, it is a right.
      Something about ‘Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’. Hard to do if you’re sick or dead.

  4. Submitted by Tim Smith on 01/24/2019 - 11:42 am.

    It is easy to be for things and feel like a good person for doing it. Unfortunately, the rubber has to hit the road at some point and facts, reason and real world impact have to take over. What does it cost, who is my doctor, what kind of care will I get? Thinking Americans need to see that information, just the facts.

    The number one obstacle to covering everyone in this Country, and virtually no one talks about it, is our healthcare delivery system. they do not want to accept a Medicare type fee schedule for every American, not just those over 65 as it is now. They also don’t want restrictions on the amount of and timing of the care they provide,. They are very well connected to both parties and earn a lot of money compared to medical providers in other countries.

    The bogeymen are not health insurance companies.Dems always conveneiently make them the bad guy, it is just good us vs them political rhetoric.. Insurers are just a necessary conduit for docs and hospitals to make more money in absense of another payor. Their profits are miniscule compared to trillions of dollars of claims.

    As for the extreme left (socialist) gains, it looks to me like most are in far left blue districts, not the swing ones. Minnesota is a perfect example. Politics is cyclical, we will see how far that drift to the left goes..

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/24/2019 - 12:25 pm.

      Physicians have switched their opinion, and a majority now support single payer. They support it even acknowledging that it may/would result in a pay cut for them.

      This is a real switch. Doctors opposed Medicare back in the day. When Minnesota Care was passed, doctors came to the capitol to lobby against it.

      • Submitted by Tim Smith on 01/24/2019 - 12:55 pm.

        have they really though? It’s easy to say yes on a survey,but if they find it will cost them a substantial amount of their pay will they still be for it? Theory vs facts. Polls are fickle and not eveidence of much.

        How much control do docs really have anyway? It’s the adminsitrators that decides what they make and how they make it.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/24/2019 - 04:39 pm.

          By the same token, I could ask if doctors were ever really opposed. It’s easy to drive your Mercedes to the capitol for a rally, but when you have devoted your life to medicine, will you still be opposed when you see that taking away the concern about paying for treatment improves your patients’ outcomes?

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 01/25/2019 - 09:35 am.

          Polls are still better than unsubstantiated opinion.
          And while the AMA may not be quite as strong a lobby as the NRA or the Kroch brothers, it still has a lot of clout.

  5. Submitted by John Edwards on 01/24/2019 - 05:34 pm.

    What is being proposed by Democrats is not “Medicare for All” or a “Single Payer” but a government-run health care system. We all know what that means, which is why proponents call it anything but that.

    Moreover, Medicare trustees now say the program will be unable to sustain current levels three years sooner than previously thought, which means 2026. Eric and other liberals want to put millions more people into a system that will start to go broke in seven years.

    They could not even pass a government-run system in California after its far-left legislature realized it would cost $400 billion, half of which would have to come from new taxes. Then again, if we make “the wealthy” pay the tax, Eric and other liberals can continue to be for it.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 01/25/2019 - 09:39 am.

      So how come the Cubans (despite our embargo) manage to have better health care (see the mortality numbers) and educational (see literacy rates) than we do?
      They export doctors; we import them.

      • Submitted by cory johnson on 01/25/2019 - 11:11 am.

        So are people risking their lives to escape Cuba because the healthcare is too good?

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 01/25/2019 - 03:17 pm.

          It’s a tradeoff.
          If you’re healthy, it can be worth the risk to go to a more affluent country where your standard of living will probably be higher (partly a result of our own policies, of course).
          This is after you’ve survived birth and childhood and gotten an education.
          Trying to have the best of both worlds.
          The sad thing is that we’re capable of having it here, but refuse to provide the public services that civilized countries do.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/25/2019 - 11:10 am.

      Mr. Edwards is simply wrong.

      Our health care system is comprised of two basic entities: providers and payers. Providers deliver the actual health care, perform procedures, medications, etc. Payers pay for the health care. Payers are basically insurance companies that collect premiums and use that money to pay provider bills. There are some hybrid examples like the HMO’s that collect the premiums AND provide the health care, but that’s NOT the single payer model under consideration.

      Medicare and Medicaid are payers, not providers. The single payer proposals for decades now have advocated creating a public insurance program that covers everyone, it would be a universal payer. There is no serious proposal that the government take over or shut down all of the providers. Since we already HAVE a public health insurance program in Medicare and Medicaid single payer advocates have concluded that the simplest and most economical single payer solution would be to simply expand these programs to cover everyone. This NOT a government takeover of health care, it’s simply a universal insurance plan that would cover everyone and pay all the medical bills.

      No doctors or care providers outside of the VA or county Hospitals would get paychecks from the government, nor would the care they provide be dictated by the government. In fact, a universal payer would less intrusive than the current private insurers because they wouldn’t be subject to profit margins.

      The new Medicare for All regime would be vastly more affordable than the current hodge podge of private for profit insurance companies. MOA would shave 20%-30% off the over-all cost of health care in the US just in saved administrative costs alone. More savings would emerge as leverage is applied to control costs. In fact MOA would turn a system that currently unsustainable into a sustainable system.

  6. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/25/2019 - 10:44 am.

    As far as I can tell, Edsall’s “exploration” is at least four decades over-due, and as far as I can tell he doesn’t present a single original thought or idea of his own in the entire article. While I have no doubt Edsall is a competent writer, I’m not sure how stenography earns him the title of “brilliance”.

    The electorate has been more liberal than the Democratic Party for decades; if you dig into almost issue from abortion to regulation you’ll find Democrats to the right of their alleged constituents. So it’s probably not the voters who are shifting left, if anything Democrats are finally shifting to where the votes are… because competing for Republican votes was losing elections. The strategy of forsaking liberal votes in order to chase Republican votes you’re never going to get yielded a spectacular, but predictable failure.

    I have to challenge anyone who claims to “support” liberalism but then marginalizes liberals and their agendas. I was there and I saw what they did… you can’t tell us you “support” single payer and then dismiss the only candidate proposing single payer as un-electable.

    One explanation for some of the polling results discussed in the article emerges from the fact that Neoliberalism supplanted New Deal liberalism in the 70s and 80s. The had the effect of effectively obscuring the very nature of liberalism. In essence, for a few decades American’s had no clear or coherent concept of liberalism. Neoliberal “New” Democrats turned centrism into a liberal template, and by doing so dismantled traditional liberal leadership role models. When neoliberal centrism replaced liberalism Americans lost any coherent model of liberalism or liberal leadership, so it’s no wonder that you got weird polling results when you asked Democrats of the era whether they wanted the Party to be more or less liberal.

    It’s important to remember that most of these surveys collected very superficial opinions. When political scientists and sociologists dug into American attitudes, they invariably found more support for liberalism that Gallop routinely missed. For instance opposition to living wages virtually disappears if you ask people who should pay employee’s wages- taxpayers or employers? Opposition to environmental regulations virtually disappears when ask specific questions about poison in the environment, like lead on the water for instance. Likewise opposition to abortion rights nearly collapses when start asking about specific real life scenarios, or just whether or not a woman who commits the new crime of abortion should be jailed. I could go on an on, whether we talk about labor rights or discrimination when you dig into specific real life scenarios Americans come out liberal and have done for decades.

    The New Democrats decision to turn away from liberalism at a time when the electorate both here and in Europe was drifting more liberal was simply a catastrophic miscalculation that ended up putting Donald Trump in the White House.

    None of these candidates or politicians are socialist, they are if anything FDR New Deal liberals, and if didn’t think FDR liberals and their agendas could win elections… I don’t know how you can call yourself a liberal. Liberal’s support liberal agendas and policies. Liberal’s think that liberal agendas are realistic and popular. This isn’t a litmus test, it’s just an existential fact. As you cannot be a Christian without knowing who Jesus Christ is, you cannot be a liberal if you think failed compromises with Republican’s are liberal victories. Liberals vote for liberal candidates, they don’t vote for candidates who have been suppressing and marginalizing liberal initiatives for decades.

    The Democratic Party hasn’t been a liberal Party since the New Democrats (i.e. the Clinton’s, and Biden’s, and Gore’s etc.) took over the party in the mid 1980’s. These Democrats converted the Party into a centrist moderate Republican party that delivered a series of failed compromises (like Obamacare) for the next three decades.

    If any “liberal” has anything to feel guilty about these days, they should feel guilty about supporting a status quo of failed compromises that inflicted completely unnecessary hardship, pain, and suffering on tens of millions of Americans. Those failed compromises were easy to live with for those who lived in a bubbles of affluence and privilege beyond the reach of bankruptcy, minimum wages, racism, and misogyny. Yes, those who classified basic human dignity, health care, and equality as “pipe” dreams beyond reach were stunned by their defeat. They have discovered that the REAL pipe dream was their own comfort zone, “centrism”, and bi-partisan cooperation. The real pipe dream turned out to be the assumption that they could defeat Trump with an historically unpopular and incompetent candidate that promised at best… more failed compromises.

    And by the way, liberal “guilt” is just another expression of privilege, it pretends your sympathy can be a substitute for desperately needed change. “I’m ever so sorry you’re dying of an athsma attack in a tent, but universal heath care, affordable housing, and living wages just aren’t ‘realistic’ .” We didn’t need sympathy in 2016, we needed the candidate that would have defeated Trump and fought to deliver long long long overdue policies and initiatives. Let’s try to remember this moving forward.

  7. Submitted by cory johnson on 01/25/2019 - 11:01 am.

    If the Democratic Socialists could make the math work without turning America into a dictatorship Id sign up. But they can’t. Maybe they are hiding it until 2020, but AOC hasn’t even come close and neither has Bernie. Even all the billionaire Democrat donors (of which they have many) wouldnt sign up for open borders, single payor, Green New Deal, AND guaranteed minimum income. It would require a very high tax on wealth rather than income.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/25/2019 - 11:18 am.

      The only dictator on the horizon is Donald Trump. Dictators always emerge from Conservative realms. A “liberal” dictator is an oxymoron.

      Before you point to communist dictatorships I would ask that you simply google the difference between the New Deal and the Soviet Union, and Socialism vs. Communism.

      • Submitted by cory johnson on 01/25/2019 - 11:46 am.

        I was expecting a Trump dictator dig, but I was hoping for an actual plan to pay for the Socialist utopia. Still waiting.
        And Trump is such a dangerous Dictator he’s let the special prosecutor continue the “investigation” for years. All part of Putin’s master plan I assume.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/25/2019 - 12:16 pm.

          I’m not responsible for what YOU choose to wait for. Liberal’s created the liberal democracy you live in, and we’re perfectly happy to live with it’s Constitution and the ongoing pursuit of a more perfect union.

          As for socialist utopias, while that’s not on the agenda I have to say I’d rather move closer to a socialist utopia than a fascist utopia.

          Be that as it may, if you wan’t know how these initiatives like MOA are paid for, that funding is explained if you just look at the proposal. Unlike Republicans who expect funding to magically emerge from tax cuts Democrats actually figure out how to pay for stuff.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/25/2019 - 12:25 pm.

          “And Trump is such a dangerous Dictator he’s let the special prosecutor continue the ‘investigation’ for years.”

          1. The term is “Special Counsel,” not “special prosecutor.”

          2. The investigation into the Trump campaign started in May of 2017, so only a little more than a year and a half ago. That’s hardly “years.”

          3. The “President” can’t fire the Special Counsel. Special Counsel may be removed only “by the personal action of the Attorney General,” and only for cause. 28 CFR sec. 600.7 (d).

          4. Even if Individual-1 were to order the Attorney General to find some justification to fire the Special Counsel, the political tsuris would be overpowering. Trump is easily the most unpopular President in recent memory, and ordering an end to the investigation would be taken as proof that Individual-1 is guilty. Why, even Senator Graham might go so far as to purse his lips and shake his head in disapproval.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/25/2019 - 06:41 pm.

          Meanwhile, we all waiting to see where the money for the Wall the Mexicans were supposed to pay for is going to come from. Financing is not a republican strength.

    • Submitted by Dave Eischens on 01/25/2019 - 02:18 pm.

      Cory, perhaps the math info you’re seeking can be found here at
      The Minnesota Health Plan:

      https://mnhealthplan.org/

      The site includes a link to the actual bill and there is a free ebook that goes into detail.

  8. Submitted by Ken Tschumper on 01/26/2019 - 04:26 am.

    Much of the public is confused and unclear what Bernie Sanders means by “Medicare for All” as this article in Slate points out..

    https://slate.com/business/2019/01/bernie-sanders-medicare-for-all-plan-is-actually-unpopular.html?sid=57bfb7db8cc2b2122f8b462a&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=traffic&utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=TheAngle

  9. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/26/2019 - 11:30 am.

    Cory, you might want to study the difference between playing debate games vs. intellectual discourse. Debate gamers routinely throw stereotypes around as-if stereotypes ARE ideas, but they’re not.

    It’s impossible to discuss and “idea” that has no basis in reality, i.e. “American liberals are socialists who want to socialize everything.”

    Demanding information that is readily available (such as funding mechanisms for something like MFA) as if it doesn’t exist, may be intellectually lazy, or just plain ignorant, but it’s NOT a legitimate argument or idea.

    If your comments are being rejected it might not be because Minnpost doesn’t agree with you, it might because your content has no legitimate substance. Producing legitimate substance is YOUR responsibility. When you ask how something is going to be paid for, you’re telling us that you’re ignoring readily available information, you’re telling us that you’re not really interested in intelligent and informed conversation.

  10. Submitted by Bill Mantis on 01/26/2019 - 12:15 pm.

    A good intermediate step, it seems to me, would be to introduce a “public option” into the ACA. As I recall, Joe Lieberman was the only Democratic senator opposed to the public option, and Democrats could not afford to lose his support. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann famously opposed the public option because, she claimed, “everybody would choose it.”

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