Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.

Donate

At Houston debate, Klobuchar opposes Medicare-for-All plans

Sen. Amy Klobuchar
REUTERS/Mike Blake
Sen. Amy Klobuchar speaking during Thursday night's presidential debate in Houston, Texas.

With the few moments Sen. Amy Klobuchar had to speak Thursday night on a stage with nine other presidential candidates, viewers got to hear a breadth of information about the candidate — from Klobuchar’s record in the Senate, to her record as a prosecutor, to how exactly her health care policy would differ from her opponents if she’s elected president.

As in the prior two debates, Klobuchar mostly avoided back-and-forth sparring, which also meant less speaking time to discuss her own policy ideas. Other candidates were less reticent: Sen. Bernie Sanders constantly challenged former Vice President Joe Biden on foreign policy and trade. And Biden took aim at Sen. Kamala Harris’ proposal to ban imports of AR-15 assault weapons with executive action, calling it unconstitutional and not possible. Harris responded at length and joked, “Yes, we can.”

But on health care is where all the candidates showed the most disagreement — even from Klobuchar, who has refrained from calling out other candidates by name in prior debates. Klobuchar started by referencing her work in collaboration with Sanders to drive down insulin costs and then took aim at Medicare-for-All, calling it too far to the left for many Americans.

“While Bernie wrote the bill, I read the bill. And on page eight — on page eight of the bill, it says that we will no longer have private insurance as we know it.” (“I’ve actually never met anybody who likes their health insurance company,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren said earlier in the night.)


While pushing back on other’s records, Klobuchar also had to defend her own. “During your eight years as a prosecutor in Minnesota, there were dozens of incidents where black men were killed by police. Critics say that too often you sided with police in these cases,” said Linsey Davis, one of the debate’s moderators. Did Klobuchar wish she did things differently?

“That’s not my record,” Klobuchar responded, saying she took on the police chief in Minneapolis and made sure outside investigators looked at the shootings.

But Klobuchar conceded that she’s changed her mind, saying “I now believe it is better for accountability if the prosecutor handles them and makes those decisions herself.” As Hennepin County Prosecutor, Klobuchar did not pursue charges against officers that had killed black county residents, instead deferring to a grand jury.

As in prior debates, Klobuchar used some of her time to talk not about what she would do as president, but about issues she’s facing right now as a leading Senate Democrat. She criticized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for refusing to schedule a Senate vote on gun safety legislation that’s already passed the House.

“If you want action now, we got to send a message to Mitch McConnell. We can’t wait until one of us gets in the White House. We have to pass those bills right now to get this done,” she said of three gun regulation measures already passed by the House. “Because we cannot spare another innocent life.”

Overall, Klobuchar made her pitch more clearly and succinctly than in prior debates, both by not being cut off and clearly distancing herself from the more left-leaning health care policies proposed by others on stage. She said she is the best candidate for the job because she’s from the middle of the country, because she has “grit,” and because she’s the candidate to ensure “that everyone should have that same opportunity” she’s had.

Comments (78)

  1. Submitted by Gene Nelson on 09/13/2019 - 11:57 am.

    I’m not seeing Klobuchar as a legitimate contender, plus she seems unable to take any risks. She may appeal to some repubs, but as a Dem, she doesn’t appeal to me as apresidential contender. She’s fine as a Senator, but I wish she had more progressive ideas…working for the people and not just the establishment.

    • Submitted by lisa miller on 09/13/2019 - 03:08 pm.

      You have to get bills through. It’s easy to say ‘I want’ it’s another to push it thru the Senate after the House. Many pushed back on Obama care. And despite what some think, no the very wealthy don’t pay for all of it and it goes back to the middle class. I would like Medicare for all, do I want to give up my employer based option? No. The first step is expanding Medicare and trying to get states on board which some have opposed. Politicians can’t force this on the masses if the support is not there.

    • Submitted by Carl Brookins on 09/13/2019 - 03:37 pm.

      Gene, Amy seems to get more done in DC by working carefully to do what seems possible. True, she isn’t as loud or flamboyant as other candidates, but she manipulates the art of the possible in resolute fashion. Personally I prefer step by step, instead of always going for broke with little understanding of possible consequence.

    • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 09/13/2019 - 11:15 pm.

      I think Amy Klobuchar would be considered a liberal candidate in any previous decade, but because she hasn’t embraced instant socialism, she’s not getting much attention..

      As Carl and Lisa have said, unlike other candidates who propose things that in reality are just not doable at this point, she’s a realist, and she proposes things that might actually have a chance of getting PASSED into legislation, things that takes real steps in the right direction.

      She’s in favor of a lot of the proposals being made by others for longer term objectives, but is wise enough to know that it’s going to take time and convincing and education to bring the American public into acceptance and belief in those objectives that are in fact worthwhile goals.

      Not everything can be done instantly, because people don’t usually change beliefs they’ve held or decades overnight, it’s as simple as that.

      I would say Amy’s a bit more liberal than Joe Biden, and frankly sharper and more on the ball, a better debater, and as a much younger person, much more up to the stress of the presidency.

      I think it’s kind of distressing actually that between the top 3 democratic contenders, and President Trump, the average age for those 4 people in 2020 will be 75 years old, when I plug their ages in a year into a spreadsheet and use the ‘average’ feature.

      Too damn old IMO, for a job that potentially, if done right, at times can call for making extremely important decisions, under intense stress, after perhaps being up for 24 or 36 or whoever many hours in a row during a crisis.

      That’s not a job for a 75 year old IMO. Let’s be honest, even a regular 8 hour job, one which is far less stressful than the presidency, is more than most 75 year old’s are up for.

      Not to mention the day-to-day, year-after-year burden of the presidency, again, a burden and stressful if done right that is, instead of spending half the time golfing and watching TV.

      Then there’s the tendency of people in their 70’s to develop dementia, alzheimer’s or simply an inability to focus or learn and retain new material as well as they could in younger years.

      Amy IMO is the best democratic candidate on the stage for the job – she has her feet on the ground, advocating for what’s doable in reality, instead of living in a fantasy world where reparations, near-open borders, free college education for all, free health care for people here illegally, replacing private insurance with medicare-for-all right now, etc., etc., is all fine and dandy with the swing state voters that will decide the 2020 election.

      She is liberal but not a socialist, is sharp mentally and at 59 has a great balance between lots of experience, but with enough youth left to handle the physical stress of the presidency.

      She’s a woman which I would think would pull votes from moderate suburban republican women, and I would think be favored by liberals who might be ready to have our first female president.

      I’d say she perhaps gave he republicans more to worry about in her questioning of Brett Kavanaugh than anyone else – she was fair, but she asked the right tough questions, and didn’t back down.

      She may not rant and rave like some, but she’s actually a pretty tough cookie, and I like her chances in a debate with Trump.

      I think she would beat Trump pretty convincingly in the election for all the reasons mentioned above, and be a good president who could help us heal the wounds from the Trump years and help create a less divisive atmosphere between the two major parties as well, which means much more constructive action might actually get done.

      Right now we’re on this polarizing path with both major parties getting more adversarial and extremist, and at each others throats and I don’t think that’s a good direction at all.

      IMO we need someone like Amy who will advocate for liberal positions, but without the strident, in-your-face approach seemingly more favored by others – I think just creates resistance and knee-jerk opposition.

      Although it might feel good to rant and rave and try to almost force others to change their minds or their opinions, I think in reality in those case where people DO end-up changing their opinions, it’s usually because they found themselves agreeing, over time perhaps, with a case made in a non-confrontational way.

      I think that’s just human nature and has nothing to do with political party – none of us like to be pressured, or verbally hammered or nearly yelled-at, into changing our minds!

      • Submitted by John Evans on 09/14/2019 - 03:25 pm.

        Well, she would have been considered moderately liberal in the context of the last two decades, but she’s more like a moderate Republican from the ’70’s, before movement conservatism purged them all.

      • Submitted by Christopher Williams on 09/16/2019 - 03:24 pm.

        I just can’t back anyone willing to sell out the environment in general, and the boundary waters in particular. For that reason alone, she’s disqualified in my book. If you share Trump’s environmental/mining policy, you aren’t center-left or a consensus builder, you’re on the wrong side of history. Shame on Amy. With so many better choices, she won’t be getting my primary vote.

  2. Submitted by Betsy Larey on 09/13/2019 - 11:58 am.

    It just seems like the media anoints the “leaders” too early. It’s been this way for decades. And their choices are always east or west coast candidates. I have been an Amy fan for many years and here’s why. She’s a centrist ( which is where most of the country is), she’s smart, she has proven she can work with both sides of the aisle to get things done (an amazement in this world of hyper-partisanship ), she stakes out her positions clearly and doesn’t change her mind when the wind blows, she’s not beholden to any special interest groups, and lastly, she’s proven she is an efffective leader in Washington. There’s no other candidate that can match all of that. God help us if we pick either one of the two old white men. We are SO ready to move beyond that.

    • Submitted by Brian Simon on 09/13/2019 - 01:24 pm.

      While I agree with your lede and close, there are better choices than Sen Klobuchar. I’d prefer some bold leadership that’s willing to take on the status quo & take some risks. That does not describe Amy.

    • Submitted by Cameron Parkhurst on 09/13/2019 - 01:38 pm.

      I don’t dislike Amy, but she represents an incremental approach to enacting progressive ideas that produces no real gains. If you start from the middle and are trying to work with the conservatives where do you end up? In the middle? No, somewhere right of the middle. And why do you believe most of the country is centrist? I don’t have evidence on hand to dispute that, but of the people I talk to there appears to be a split between what I term centrist and progressive positions. That does not include those people that are conservative or Trumpian in nature. I am of the position that trying to be centrist has made the Democratic Party weaker and ineffective. Still a better place than where Trump has dragged the Republicans, but there is so much room to grow and to be better. I don’t see Amy as taking the party there.

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 09/13/2019 - 02:09 pm.

        I don’t know if most people are centrists, but there are people in the middle you need to win elections. Democrats won back congress by winning seats in the suburbs. The candidates who won formerly-Republican seats weren’t Democratic Socialists like Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. They were moderates like Dean Philips.

        Amy wins those voters. No other candidate racks up the election numbers in this state like Amy does. We aren’t getting Medicare for All. We aren’t getting total student loan forgiveness. Amy, unlike some other candidates, is just talking about things that are actually possible.

        • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 09/13/2019 - 11:52 pm.

          Exactly my thoughts Terry.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/14/2019 - 12:57 pm.

          Most people are not centrists, and there are a lot of liberal votes you need if you’re going to defeat Republicans. We learned that in 2016.

          Part of the “centrist/moderate” myth is that they sit middle of some kind of ideological bell curve with a majority. This is simply not reality. If you have to be a “moderate” to win how did Trump, and Bachmann, etc. manage to win elections? Liberals can win, and thank god we finally have some showing up on the ballot.

          • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 09/16/2019 - 06:51 pm.

            You know Paul we have had this discussion many times before, the message is like always, (Standard Distribution curve) A standard distribution curve if memory serves me has 68.2% of the population in the center of the curve. Fake statistics?

            • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/18/2019 - 07:44 am.

              Yes, I believe I’ve pointed out before that this centrist “curve” is the product of statistical ignorance and political entitlement.

              The centrist practice of declaring themselves to be in the center of their bell curve grows out their sense of privilege and entitlement; it’s not a product of statistical observation.

              We know that the population at large is more liberal than “centrism”, this is why candidates like Klobuchar always claim to be more liberal than they are, they wouldn’t have to do that if they already stood in the middle of a majority. Klobuchar and HRC wouldn’t have lie about being a progressives if they commanded 68% of the vote. As it is, on a truly level field HRC might very not have even got the Democratic endorsement in 2016.

              We know for instance that 40% of the population supports Trump (hardly qualifying as “centrists”) and we know that close to 50% currently support Sanders or Warren. (Biden, the “centrists” is getting what? 24%) So that leaves “centrists” with less than even 30% rather than the 68% you incorrectly claim. And those “centrist” still won’t fall in the “center”, but primarily to the right center. They dismiss ALL of the most popular policy proposals on the table as too liberal.

              “Centrists” aren’t in the center of anything, much less a normal curve of distribution. They simply put themselves in the center of everything because that’s what privilege and entitlement always do.

              Thanks for giving me the opportunity to explain this… again.

              • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 09/18/2019 - 09:09 am.

                So its fake statistics then? The mathematicians and statisticians all have it wrong? You “know” the stats are all fake, incorrect, and the support for that all knowing is? .

                • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/18/2019 - 12:16 pm.

                  Dennis, if you’re going to make statistical claims you need actually provide some statistics, not merely claim to be in the center of a bell curve that exists nowhere but you’re own imagination. I suppose we call this false statistics since you’re making it up.

              • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 09/18/2019 - 02:47 pm.

                Paul, I think you’re referencing the presidential approval polls when you say 40% support Trump, and if so, that’s 40% of the entire electorate.

                However, when you talk about nearly 50% (more like 40% in 09-18-19 polling) supporting Sanders/Warren, isn’t that based on polling among those who self-identify in the polling as Democrats?

                If that’s the case we’re leaving out the independent vote out of consideration, which I think like me you’ve said is a pretty large and growing block of voters.

                My guess, and that’s all it is, since I’m not sure if anyone is regularly tracking the preferences of independent voters (which I think in itself says a lot about our current political system) is that independents are more likely to vote for somewhat moderate candidates.

                I actually think you’re probably correct in arguing that centrists probably don’t represent the standard mathematical bell curve in terms of their numbers.

                I wasn’t able to find anything on the net that shed light on it, but my own wild guess is that rather than being a bell curve distribution, it’s probably more of a rough 1/3 liberal, 1/3 moderate, 1/3 conservative split, plus or minus 5 points or whatever.

                I think some of that 40% approval rating for Trump may be kind of soft, so in my ballpark estimate of thirds, there is 5% there that a moderate message might appeal to IMO.

                More than in any other election I can remember, there are enough people who identify as ‘conservatives’ who are not fans of Trump, that I think we should remember that some conservatives, as I believe they did in 2018, could be persuaded to vote democratic in 2020.

                But I guess my main point is to suggest that it’s the undecided, swing-state voters, who tend to be mostly in that 1/3 moderate category, who are going to pick our next president.

                California, Oregon, New York, etc – they are already in the bag for whoever the democratic candidate is, and because of the electoral college, it doesn’t matter how large the margin of victory is in those states.

                It’s Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Michigan, Missouri, etc who will decide the election, as has been the case in all our recent elections.

                So I think it’s a mistake to ignore and not be concerned how that 1/3 (or whatever the percentage is) of moderate voters perceives the issues, because I think THOSE VOTES ARE THE ONES THAT ARE UP FOR GRABS!

                Having said that, I personally am having a problem looking at the current democratic field.

                I would prefer Amy K, but it doesn’t look like she’s gaining any traction.

                And I’m not anywhere near as confident that Biden is electable as I believed a few months ago, with all the gaffe’s and so on, and I don’t like his age – sorry, I don’t think ideally this is a job for someone approaching 80.

                He’s also perhaps a bit further to the right than Amy in my opinion, and so I’m leaning towards Elizabeth Warren as the best choice currently.

                I think some of her positions are a bit too far left for that important moderate section of voters we’re talking about, but frankly, I worry that Biden might fall apart or continue to be a “gaffe machine” during the campaign and end up losing perhaps, and we can’t afford that, and I’m starting to like Warren’s chances better actually.

                Plus, she seems sharp, organized, in control of herself, and at ‘only’ 70, more up to the job physically I think.

                I just hope that she’ll start pay at least a little attention to how the moderate voters perceives her, because again, I don’t think that’s a block of voters that either Trump or the Democratic candidate can afford to ignore or treat with disdain, if they want to win.

                • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 09/19/2019 - 02:07 pm.

                  HJ, the curve can also be considered the intensity/commitment of folks. The farther toward the tails the greater the commitment. Numbers are what the numbers are, how they are interpreted-is another subject. .

                  • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 09/19/2019 - 09:18 pm.

                    I agree with that Dennis in terms of getting activity involved in party leadership, and showing up at a caucus and being very outspoken for their guy or gal for example.

                    However, when it come to actually showing up on election day and voting, I’d say moderates probably have pretty strong numbers in that respect, while those on the ‘tails’ at least on the democratic side, are perhaps somewhat more likely I think perhaps because of their more adamant convictions to decide that it’s “against their principles” to vote for an unworthy candidate, HIllary Clinton for example, and to therefore stay at home or do a wasted write-in vote.

                    And then when Trump is elected, to maybe then participate in a “protest” march at the inauguration, when it was in fact partly their own unwillingness to vote for the “lesser of two evils” that helped him win.

                    I myself found Clinton to be a terrible candidate who I disliked pretty strongly, but Trump looked much worse to me, so I pulled the lever for her, and I hope perhaps liberals who shunned voting for Clinton in 2016 have had enough time to have enough remorse about what getting stuck with the “greater of two evils”, to be less idealistic in 2020.

                    As John Stewart joked in the runup to the 2016, he said he’d vote for Mr. T of the old ‘A-team’ TV show to keep Trump from winning.

                    I’ll vote for whoever the 2020 democratic candidate is, because I believe in the constitution and I see democrats trying to defend it, even if I don’t necessarily agree with some of the policy positions being put forward by some of the more liberal candidates..

                    On “the numbers being the numbers”, I guess it seems to me we don’t really know very well what the numbers are for the electorate as a whole in terms of candidate preferences or issue preferences, because most of the tracking I see is geared around members of the two major parties, and often bypasses the preferences of independents, and I think that’s a shame – especially since those independents probably correlate fairly high with ‘undecided’ voters – i.e. – and their votes are up for grabs between the two major parties and therefore are very important in determining election results.

      • Submitted by Arthur Himmelman on 09/13/2019 - 03:28 pm.

        Moderates. Incremental change. Meanwhile uncontrolled climate change, massive loss of bio-diversity, moving quickly toward the Singularity (Google it if you don’t know what it is), and the destruction of life as we know it not only by nuclear war, but more likely by cyber war – read about Nitro Zeus – the cyber attack the U.S. has ready to launch on Iran. By the way, six countries are capable of doing what one can do to the others: the U.S., Russia, China, Israel, Iran, and North Korea. Sure, time for moderation and incremental change. As has been pointed out, this winds up being a right-wing agenda once the compromising is finished.

        • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 09/14/2019 - 12:59 am.

          Well, you’re right Arthur, things certainly look bleak based on the factors you bring up, and it would be great if everyone would suddenly wake up and believe climate change for example is very real, and something dramatic must be done by their representatives – NOW.

          However, I think of my next door neighbors, very, very nice folks, we get along great with them, but somehow global warming came up the other day and the neighbor’s wife said “Oh, I just don’t buy that at all”.

          I tried to convince her that it was fairly basic science, and not much different than the fact that when you leave your car windows rolled up on a sunny day, the inside is going to be like a furnace when you come back a few hours later, but she was just not believing that and she changed the subject fairly quickly, because she obviously didn’t want to talk about it any more. Her mind was made up.

          Her husband holds the same belief about climate change, and I believe they are both republicans.

          I would guess the same might be true with both of them for other topics, for example medicare-for-all – in their minds this is probably bad-bad-bad, and the husband has a banner with a picture of an assault rifle in the garage with a caption under it saying ‘come and take me’ or something like that.

          The problem is there are LOTS of people like my nice neighbors, and in great numbers, in many areas of the country.

          So while you are scoffing at incremental change, and I get it, we all want quick change, the truth is, the choice may in many cases be to have a moderate democrat voted into congress, who can start enacting legislative steps in the right direction on a whole range of issues, and educating and encouraging people along the path towards those more ambitious goals, or you can have 2 or 4 more years of a republican congressman or senator who will be reinforcing their current beliefs, and taking zero action at addressing the serious problems you bring up.

          So, yes, it would be great if my neighbors would suddenly realize climate change is real, medicare-for-all might actually be better than the system we have now, and maybe there’s a link between the non-stop rash of mass shootings and the availability of assault weapons.

          However, the problem is that my nice neighbors vote, and so although it’s frustrating that change isn’t more rapid, slow and steady and moderate change, as I believe we saw in the Obama years, IMO is so much better than going ever faster in the opposite direction because the democrats have lost seats and the presidency.

          Going backwards on the issue you mention is even MORE of a problem of course! ;- )

    • Submitted by Henk Tobias on 09/13/2019 - 02:41 pm.

      I guess it depends on how one defines centrist, if its defined as what the majority of American support, (the center) then Amy may be a bit out of step with “centrists.” 54% of the American People Support Medicare for All. That would be the Centrist position, correct?

      Really if you look at the positions that the”radicals” Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are taking on a lot of issues, from Health Care, to Taxes, to Student Loans, most of their proposals have the support of the Majority or Americans. In some cases by very large majorities, like Warren’s Wealth Tax proposal.

      Unfortunately when we hear the term Centrist used most often it has nothing to do with whether or not the Majority of American support this or that, most often its used to describe someone who supports the status quo, someone who won’t upset things and make people in power uncomfortable. Most often its used by Republicans and more conservative Democrats to keep popular Liberals and Liberal ideas in check.

      Centrists have gotten to where we are today, people like Amy and Biden think they can work with the radicals on the Republican side. Anyone who has been paying the least bit of attention the last decade or so, knows that that is impossible.

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 09/13/2019 - 02:55 pm.

        The problem with your definitions starts with your polling. Those things are popular when people don’t know what they mean. But once the details are explained – like the fact that the Medicare for All proposals end private health insurance – they become very unpopular. So its Amy that is in tune with the American public and the MFA supporters that are out of touch.

        Calling Amy and Biden Republican-lite is also really disingenuous. They are simply talking about realistic solutions instead of deeply unpopular progressive fantasies. .

        • Submitted by Henk Tobias on 09/13/2019 - 04:15 pm.

          Please don’t put words in my mouth, I didn’t call anyone Republican lite.

          Also Its not my polling, its the Hill/Harris polling. Obviously once forces opposed to something start negatively framing that thing, people’s opinions are going to change. We could say the same of Amy’s proposal, (such that it is) once folks see the details they won’t like it at all. I know that there was some polling out there that’s being used to scare people into opposing Medicare for all. Typically is goes along with (in scare quotes) “You are going to Lose your current Insurance!” OMG! I’ve been working for the same company for 18 years, in a search for lower rates we’ve changed insurance providers at least 4 times, I’ve bounced between North Memorial, Park Nicollet and Health Partners clinics. Currently I am using HCMC, with Health Partners insurance.

          Here’s a little test for you. Find 10 Medicare users and ask them if they’d like to go back to the private insurance they had, if they had it, before they enrolled in Medicare.

          Regardless of your political perspective no sane person can look at our current system of employer base medical insurance and think that its sustainable. Rates have been going up exponentially since George Bush’s election in 2000. So lets have an honest discussion about what might work and not work and leave the scare tactics to the Republicans.

          • Submitted by Pat Terry on 09/20/2019 - 11:12 am.

            I think the current system is terrible and would love Medicare for All. The problem is that its political poison. The problem isn’t the polling outfit – its the question asked. Its getting to the issue of people losing their employer health insurance. When people understand that, support plummets. And that’s before it faces a full-on right wing attack.

            At this point, Medicare for All is way outside the mainstream and Amy is smart enough to understand that.

        • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 09/13/2019 - 05:47 pm.

          If a proposal has the support of at 60% of the population, it has a real chance of surviving the onslaught of debate. But yes, 54% quickly becomes 40% when push comes to shove.

          • Submitted by Pat Terry on 09/20/2019 - 11:14 am.

            And when you are at 40 with the slightest clarification of the facts, you’ll be at 20 and dead in the water when push comes to shove.

    • Submitted by Ken Tschumper on 09/13/2019 - 08:05 pm.

      Amy does have one special interest: northern Minnesota.

  3. Submitted by Jim Marshal on 09/13/2019 - 11:58 am.

    Last year showed us that when right wing, neoliberal Democrats like Amy abandon their base and try to appeal to Republicans; they deservedly get crushed by their GOP rivals.

    • Submitted by Hugh Gitlin on 09/13/2019 - 02:23 pm.

      What?

      It was the moderates like Dean Phillips, Katie Hill and Katie Porter that got the majority.How would a left-wing flame thrower like Ilhan Omar or AOC do in the 3rd?

      • Submitted by Jim Marshal on 09/13/2019 - 06:35 pm.

        You’re leaving out the slew of other races last year where Democrat incumbents who veered right got slaughtered. If voters want a candidate who maintains the status quo and tries to appeal to Republicans, they’ll more often than not just vote Republican.

        • Submitted by Ken Tschumper on 09/13/2019 - 08:09 pm.

          Jim, Hugh is correct and you are wrong. Not a single Bernie Sander’s endorsed House candidate turned a Red district Blue in the general election

          • Submitted by Jim Marshal on 09/14/2019 - 08:17 am.

            You’re moving the goal posts. I said nothing about Bernie Sanders. You just inserted that to bolster your argument.

            • Submitted by Pat Terry on 09/20/2019 - 11:17 am.

              I assume that you are referring to candidates like McKaskill in Missouri and Donnelly in Indiana – Democrats in deep red states. Those cases actually further demonstrate how completely wrong you are. Those candidates moved to the center because it was their only hope. The idea that they could have moved left in those states and won is utter nonsense.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 09/13/2019 - 02:37 pm.

      What are you talking about? Amy won by a huge margin last year. Democrats won back congress and some statehouses by running moderates. It was the progressives like Andrew Gillium in Florida who lost races moderate Democrats would have won.

      • Submitted by Jim Marshal on 09/13/2019 - 06:56 pm.

        Amy won last year because she didn’t have a strong, well-organized progressive opponent to challenge her for the nomination. The track record for Democrats running on centrist platforms last year was nothing to brag about.

        • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 09/14/2019 - 12:24 am.

          ” The track record for Democrats running on centrist platforms last year was nothing to brag about.”

          I’m not sure why you say that Jim. I think the actual statistics show that It was moderate democrats who won back the house for Democrats in 2018.

          Please see this article – https://www.vox.com/2018/11/7/18071700/progressive-democrats-house-midterm-elections-2018

          Maybe the moderates SHOULD be bragging more than they have been, as they seem to be getting very, very little credit for that important accomplishment.

          AOC and the rest of the very liberal and very vocal ‘squad’ on the other hand did NOT win a seat from a republican, and therefore played ZERO part in the switch of the house from republican to democratic hands.

          But it seems that those of strongly liberal views have often convinced themselves since 2018 that it was bold, ultra-liberal ideas, and very liberal candidates that won the house back in 2018 – but I just don’t think that’s the case.

          Those swing and conservative districts that flipped from red to blue in 2018 did not vote for highly liberal democrats, they voted for moderate democratic candidates.

          I believe the same thing could happen in 2020, and the democrats could win the presidency, the house and importantly the senate, and note that as we’ve seen here in 2019, NOTHING gets passed into legislation, even for things like election security that probably most republicans are okay with, when Mitch McConnell is able to just refuse to bring things to the floor for a vote in the senate.

          None of the democratic ideas, be they very liberal or very moderate, has a snow ball in hell’s chance of being passed into law, without both houses of congress and the presidency.

          And in 2018, the democrats picked up ground and the house, thru the efforts of moderate democrats, I think that’s just a fact, and I don’t see any reason why the same wouldn’t be true in 2020 also.

          Missouri, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Florida, etc. – these are just not ultra-liberal states and while they are open to wins for moderate democrats, it’s a much less likely scenario to win for liberal/socialist candidates.

          Do you disagree?

          • Submitted by Jim Marshal on 09/14/2019 - 08:40 am.

            “AOC and the rest of the very liberal and very vocal ‘squad’ on the other hand did NOT win a seat from a republican,”…………You’re right but you’re missing a key point. They took on their district’s centrist Democrat incumbents and won their party’s nomination. The whole time the incumbents and the media were labeling them too far left and saying they were unelectable..

            Those swing and conservative districts that flipped from red to blue in 2018 did not vote for highly liberal democrats, they voted for moderate democratic candidates………..Perhaps they were never given the option to vote for more progressive candidates. As in most districts, the centrist Democrats have the support and funding just not available to progressives. If you look at Iowa’s reliably conservative 4th district held by Steve King, in 2018 his progressive challenger JD Sholten shocked the experts by nearly winning the district. Receiving more votes than his centrist predecessors.

            • Submitted by Pat Terry on 09/20/2019 - 11:28 am.

              Crowley wasn’t a centrist – he’s very liberal, but ran a lazy campaign in a very low turnout primary to a candidate who looks like the district. Given that Clinton crushed Sanders in that district and Cuomo crushed Nixon. The idea that race was driven by ideology is nonsense.

              The Iowa race actually disproves your point. The comparison isn’t to past races – Democrats ran better everywhere. Its to how similarly aligned candidates did this year. The Democrats may have lost that race BECAUSE they ran a progressive instead of a centrist. Looking at similar races, a centrist would have done better.

  4. Submitted by Ed Felien on 09/13/2019 - 01:18 pm.

    “‘That’s not my record,’ Klobuchar responded, saying she took on the police chief in Minneapolis and made sure outside investigators looked at the shootings.”
    It’s standard procedure for the State Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to examine the evidence and report to the County Attorney in the case of a cop killing someone, so her use of “outside investigators” is just following the law and established practice. The BCA is cops, so we have cops investigating cops.
    Although she now admits it was wrong, she used the Grand Jury to shield her from responsibility for not indicting cops.

  5. Submitted by Pat Terry on 09/13/2019 - 01:29 pm.

    Good for Amy.

    She understands that once people understand it, Medicare for All is a horribly unpopular idea that will re-elect Trump. It also has zero chance of ever getting by the Supreme Court, much less congress.

    Amy is talking about real solutions, not progressive fantasies.

    • Submitted by David LaPorte on 09/13/2019 - 02:06 pm.

      Agreed.

      Only 30% of voters would support a plan to eliminated private insurance. While they may have thier current insurance (for those who have any), they don’t want to be forced to give up something that’s working for them and have to accept something unfamiliar. They want choice. Warren and Sanders are on the fringe on this issue.

      Candidates who back a public option (aka Mediare buy-in) are much more in line with voters. The public option was left out of the ACA because health insurance companies were afraid that it would be too popular. If they’re right, people will choose the public option, making it Medicare for All without coercion.

      Regardless of the plan, the private insurance companies will still be needed. They process claims for Medicare and (in most states) Medicaid under contracts with the government. If they get put out of business, we’ll need a vast new (and inexperienced) bureaucracy, which would be a nightmare.

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 09/13/2019 - 02:22 pm.

        Exactly. Medicare for anyone who wants it, not Medicare for all. The mandate was what turned people against the ACA and caused the legal issues. An even bigger mandate with MFA is going absolutely nowhere.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/16/2019 - 11:04 am.

        You guys aren’t looking actual proposal as they would be presented in future debate. You’re looking at current opinions based on vague impressions.

        Do you REALLY that a significant number of Americans would CHOOSE to stay in private plans that are more expensive and far less comprehensive? Do you REALLY think a lot of Americans would stay with a plan that restricts their care to pre-authorized providers while levying co-pays and demanding deductibles? You really think a significant number of Americans would opt out of a plan that provides universal, nationwide, irrevocable coverage for any treatment from any provider; with no copay’s or deductibles? You never see another medical bill for the rest of your life. You never have to fill out another insurance form, or application again. AND you get eye glasses and hearing aids.

        You really think that so many people are soooooooo happy with their expensive, restricted, co-payed and deductible ridden private plans that they’ll pay an extra $5,000 (plus co-pays and deductibles) to keep them rather simply be enrolled in MFA? Well OK then.

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 09/20/2019 - 11:30 am.

          I am looking at the actual bill that has been introduced.

          And yes, Americans would be overwhelmingly opposed to having their employer-based care replaced by the government.

    • Submitted by Hugh Gitlin on 09/13/2019 - 02:24 pm.

      I’m in favor of Medicare for All who want it. AKA the public option.

  6. Submitted by Don Casey on 09/13/2019 - 03:45 pm.

    The fact Klobuchar is viewed as a moderate (and seems to have some grip on reality) shows how far left some Democrats have moved.

    • Submitted by Jim Marshal on 09/14/2019 - 08:25 pm.

      I’m sure that most Republicans would look at Amy’s voting record and view her as being a moderate. That doesn’t exactly bolster her progressive credentials.

  7. Submitted by Carl Brookins on 09/13/2019 - 03:47 pm.

    My historical perspective persuades me the nation survives and grows because people like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez make waves and push for faster more radical progress while cautious legislators on the right urge caution and more deliberation. The result is progression, just at a more careful rate. The danger is in falling prey to the illogical pushback of radical right wingers who somehow have come to believe that they are anointed by a higher power to save the nation from itself. Again, history tells us over and over that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, which is why thoughtful rational legislators elevate centrist jurists to the high federal courts.

  8. Submitted by Eric Snyder on 09/13/2019 - 03:59 pm.

    Americans routinely deal with bureaucratic hassles and extraordinary expenses due to our dysfunctional and inefficient health care system. If you live in the US you’re familiar with the following:

    -Being put into a precarious health and financial position with the loss of a job.
    -Small business owners finding it more difficult to find employees due to the high cost of health care.
    -Would-be entrepreneurs foregoing business ventures because of the risk of not having insurance.
    -Having insurance but still: 1) Being on the hook for thousands of dollars in the insurance company scam of deductibles; 2) Still being sent medical bills; 3) Not being covered or having minimal coverage for things like ambulance rides; 3) Facing the prospect of catastrophic financial loss or even bankruptcy due to medical bills.
    -Being routinely overcharged, often to a wild extent, for medicine that in other countries is a fraction of the cost that we pay.
    -Insurance companies denying choice in doctors – which is effectively what happens with the insurance company bureaucratic nonsense of in-network/out-of-network doctors.
    -Spending hours annually on the phone with an insurance company trying to determine if a procedure or drug will be covered, or contesting their coverage policies.
    -A potentially lethal insurance company scam called ‘step therapy’, which involves forcing patients onto less expensive, less effective drugs with harsher side effects in order to avoid paying the full cost of what a doctor prescribes.
    -Diabetic patients rationing insulin and even dying only so that drug manufacturer profits can be higher.
    -Insurance companies using your premiums to fight against efforts to reform their abuses and preventing you from having the choice of a public option.
    -Thousands dying needlessly on an annual basis in the US due to lack of access to affordable health care, a system kept in place partly due to the efforts of the health insurance companies. https://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/2635326/relationship-health-insurance-mortality-lack-insurance-deadly
    -American businesses being put at a disadvantage to foreign competition due to the excessively high costs of the American health insurance system.
    -Many American postponing medical care simply on the basis of cost.

    So, when I hear play-it-safe politicians like Klobuchar largely defending the current system, I have to wonder if she’s paying attention at all to the realties many people face with our broken health care system.

  9. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 09/13/2019 - 04:34 pm.

    Identify one major change in society that was not incremental? They happened because progressives called out social injustice (prime example – children without health insurance or housing) and moderate wrote legislation to address the problem. Americans do want to cover everyone, as long as they don’t have to make too big a sacrifice. Doctors once disliked government programs, but now realize that if everyone is covered, they don’t have the risk of bad debt punishing them for providing care people need. As soon as employers tire of providing healthcare care coverage and are willing to pay a tax rather than premium support, things will change.

    The healthcare industry, which accounts for one in five dollars in the economy, is a place where a lot of people make a lot of money. Other countries cover everyone and get better outcomes because they tightly manage the profiteering that we live with in the US. Democrats agree on the idea of universal coverage – and Obama made huge strides toward achieving it over stiff Republican opposition – and now with Trump, Obama’s gains are eroding.

    It is very nice for progressive members of the elite to argue for Medicare for All, but they don’t personally absorb the loss of insurance that 30 million Americans would have experienced if John McCain had not stood up to Trump.

    The form of private insurance that works are the Medicare supplemental plans, where people pay extra out of pocket for what Medicare doesn’t cover. Seniors pick their plans – rather than having an employer impose a choice on them. That is the kind of Medicare for All we should have. Good basic coverage for all, with extra benefits available to those who want to pay for it, without any crap like preexisting condition limits.

    Internationally, so-called single payer systems allow supplemental insurance. If we were not so ignorant of what others do that succeeds better than our system, we will be ahead of where we are now.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/16/2019 - 10:17 am.

      “Identify one major change in society that was not incremental? ”

      We can name several, one day women could not vote… the next day they could. Just because some battles last for years doesn’t mean the change was incremental. Women never fought a “partial” vote, or a vote in a few states but not others, or some elections but not others. One day we didn’t have Social Security, the next we did. One day we didn’t have unemployment insurance, or legally recognized labor unions. One day we were subject to the King’s rule, then one day we declared independence. We didn’t slowly free ourselves from British rule a state at a time or a tax or policy at a time… we declared independence. I could go on.

      Incrementalism more often than not is simply a strategy for delaying change as long as possible. When you have millions of Americans suffering without proper access to health care, and tens of thousand suffering financial ruin because of health care bills… why don’t you want to fix that as soon as possible? Why do you want to delay effective solutions and relief for your suffering countrymen?

      Those who aren’t touched by crises are always the champions of “incremental” solutions to crises. This is nothing more than privilege and entitlement pretending to be “practical” politics. Worse, we’ve seen multiple examples in history where incrementalists delayed meaningful change to the point where the crises triggers severe confrontations and violence that could otherwise have been avoided.

      One can easily argue that incrementalist resistance to practical solutions over the last few decades created the scenario that led to Trump’s election and the rise of fascism in the US. So now you want MORE delays?

      • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/16/2019 - 02:17 pm.

        Whoa there, Seneca Falls was in 1848 and the 19th Amendment wasn’t ratified until 1920. It took 70 years of organized effort to get women the right to vote (to say nothing of the previous 70 years of not being able to vote). This is why we know the names of people like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B Anthony and Lucretia Mott, etc.

        Sometimes, the incrementalism happens in the pushing of social boundaries to new lengths of the spectrum until you can finally elect a majority to deal with an issue.

        I agree that an incremental approach to the climate crisis is utterly ludicrous. An incremental approach to health coverage and access is more palatable, specifically as it relates to employer-provided coverage, if for no other reason that it already is a massive gordian knot of untenable solutions; something needs to be in place for when we just have to take a sword to it. Yeah, I want universal government-funded healthcare, and I am willing to go through a public option with rolling enrollment to get it.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/16/2019 - 04:19 pm.

          “Whoa there, Seneca Falls was in 1848 and the 19th Amendment wasn’t ratified until 1920. It took 70 years of organized effort to get women the right to vote (to say nothing of the previous 70 years of not being able to vote)”

          Again, the fact that we sometimes fight for something for long time isn’t a reflection of incremental change, Women didn’t fight for increments, they demanded the vote until they got, they refused to settle for less. We didn’t fight for incremental labor rights, and Social Security and the New Deal wasn’t phased in over the course of decades. We didn’t ask for a slow release from the Kind of England, we demanded Independence now or else. Then we fought a war.

          Sure, sometimes change takes time, and sometimes it’s slow. However that doesn’t establish a law of incrementalism.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/16/2019 - 04:26 pm.

          Obviously an incremental approach to the health care crises is more palatable to those who aren’t affected by the crises. Those who aren’t filing for bankruptcy, or selling their homes to get out from health care debt. Those who already have access to basic health care, and get the treatment they need without having to fight to get outside their networks, or pay for disallowed treatments or medications. Sure, it’s easy live crises that doesn’t actually affect you.

          The problem is that the complacent and insulated keep thinking they are a majority and they’re not. You can say: “crises what crises?” all you want but we wouldn’t even be talking about this if it weren’t the #1 concern of Americans today.

          • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/17/2019 - 03:33 pm.

            I’m neither complacent nor insulated, though I certainly don’t need to explain my situation to anyone else. The system of private, employer-provided coverage is garbage and is more concerned with earning money and providing dividends as opposed to providing access to health care when a person needs it; beyond that, it stifles innovation and competition, as larger companies with greater negotiating power can use their leverage to offer greater benefits in lieu of compensation, whereas small employers get cut out. But the wholesale elimination of private coverage while simultaneously moving to a medicare-for-all situation would, very likely, be disastrous, especially when one considers how many states which are totally in GOP control either reject the plan’s implementation, or work to sabotage it, or attempt to scuttle it entirely in the congress. There isn’t even a national standard for EHR/EMR data models. I mean, how many GOP-controlled states refused to accept medicaid expansion under the ACA? All the people who live in those states, whether they vote the way we’d like them to or not, also deserve consideration and protection, even if it’s from their own legislatures, or yes, themselves.

            Ultimately, what I’d like, is a system in which every human (citizen or not) in the Unites States is granted access to mental, dental, and all other healthcare, for free, at the point of access. The health costs and outcomes in this country are bonkers. I understand that it cannot happen overnight, and and incremental approach, WHILE NOT IDEAL, is better than no movement at all. I’d like to have it now, but I’ve been waiting for single-payer since 1992. Even the ACA, sort of the epitome of ‘not ideal’ was better than what came before it. Problem is, the legislative increments come slowly, if at all. The drive for universal health coverage has been underway in this country for over 100 years, those social increments haven’t moved much, and even if those folks who are politically opposed to universal/single-payer were motivated by good faith (a big, and serious IF), there are some legitimate areas of disagreement on how to implement such a system. As much as I’d rather not, I’m prepared to wait.

            If Warren gets the nomination, and wins the general, and dems maintain a congressional majority, and pick up seats in the senate, and eliminate the filibuster, then maybe a faster cutover can occur. Until that happens, and I sure hope it all does, I think a bit of triangulation on such a complex and fractious issue is acceptable, if not warranted.

            • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/18/2019 - 12:40 pm.

              “But the wholesale elimination of private coverage while simultaneously moving to a medicare-for-all situation would, very likely, be disastrous,…)

              Just because you cannot imagine something doesn’t mean it’s impossible… the problem may be YOUR imagination. You’re assumptions do not dictate reality, you’re imagining a scenario here, not describing an inevitable outcome.

              Klobuchar was just on NPR describing her public option “plan”, which actually isn’t a plan at all. She claims that a non-profit public option would provide health care to 12 million Americans. Well, we have 60 million Americans currently uninsured or under-insured. Why would her “plan” leave most those people in same situation they’re in today?

              I’ll tell you why: Klobuchar has no plan to seriously attack this problem. Her public option would leave so many people unaffected because it won’t be the option she describes. At best it looks like she’s describing an taxpayer funded high risk pool. Or worse, I high premium government plan that 80% of the people currently in need won’t qualify for.

              Klobuchar and her supporters have to explain why they want to leave tens of millions of Americans suffering and in crises? If you can’t imagine ending the crises the problem may be your imagination, not the absence of any solutions.

  10. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 09/13/2019 - 05:50 pm.

    Medicare for all who want it is pretty good messaging. So don’t look for this from any Dem. Even if they are in favor of it. Dems are terrible at messaging. They need to kidnap Frank Luntz and do some sort of mind meld thing to make him progressive.

  11. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 09/13/2019 - 05:54 pm.

    Ironically, Amy Klobuchar lived under something like Medicare for All when she was an undergraduate at Yale. I was a graduate student at the same time that she was an undergraduate, and full health coverage–no deductibles or copays– was included in the price of tuition.

    You had to use the university clinic and Yale-New Haven Hospital, but since these were attached to the Yale Medical School, no one felt that they were slumming.

    We could choose our primary physician, but since I knew none of the doctors on the clinic roster and most of the students I knew were equally new to Yale and knew none of the doctors, I just told the clinic to assign me one.

    I knew people who had major surgery, gave birth, or received mental health treatment while at Yale, all at no extra charge.

    I’m wondering who these people are who love their private insurance. I hear only complaints from both patients and providers.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/15/2019 - 09:17 am.

      Karen,

      Primarily those who “happy” with their private insurance either have good deals negotiated by labor unions, or they’re not seriously sick or injured. And people don’t know what they don’t know, they don’t know that some people pay no medication co-pays at all. Some people simply assume that their $50 copay is “normal”. And it’s not an issue as long as you’re not cutting your pills in half so you can afford groceries and rent.

      Obviously those who would get dinged with a $2,000 bill for ambulance services are “happy” because: A) They can easily afford that. or: B) They’ve haven’t needed an ambulance… yet.

      It’s always funny when these “Happy” few find out that THEIR private insurance doesn’t cover stuff that other peoples insurance covers, like hearing aids for instance… their reaction is to complain about the cost of everyone ELSES insurance rather than demand better service and lower premiums from their own insurance providers. The problem with the consumer model is that consumerism cultivates brand loyalty, and loyal tend to resent rather than admire those with better deals. Instead of flocking to the better insurance plan, they double down on their own brand. This kind of perverse brand loyalty in health care is literally getting people killed. This is why we should let folks like this make big decisions about our national health care policy. Sorry Amy…. your out. You can’t be a champion of private insurance and claim to be a “progressive”, and you can’t be a champion of profit over health care and get a lot of votes.

  12. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/14/2019 - 05:38 pm.

    Two of the three front runners are liberals. I suspect Biden may start to collapse when the actual voting starts because I think the polling methodology gives him an advantage that may be illusory.

    The centrist assumption that everyone was as happy with the status quo as they were is simply a product of their insular lifestyles. Clearly if American’s were happy with the Obama status quo Trump couldn’t have got elected.

  13. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/14/2019 - 05:49 pm.

    As far as Klobuchar and centrists and Medicare for all is concerned, again, the idea that even a majority of Americans are happy with their private insurance is just out of touch with reality. The notion that private insurance is actually providing high quality health care is even more daft.

    Klobuchar and others will have to explain why they think expensive private insurance that restricts treatment, limits it’s insured to “networks”, denies treatment, and levies co-pays and deductibles, is a such a great idea? Why does a system that automatically provides universal cradle to grave, nationwide coverage including hearing aids and eye glasses, with no deductables or co-pays, and costs a trillion dollars less than the existing system… a “bad” idea?

    When Klobuchar puts private profit above her constituents health care and lives she’s betraying her trust. And by the way… doesn’t Kobuchar claim to be a: “proven progressive”? This is simply dishonest.

  14. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/16/2019 - 09:18 am.

    The problem with the public option is that our history tells us that instead of unleashing Medicare as the low cost, nationwide-universal “option” it could be, it will be hamstrung into the market in such a way as not have “unfair” advantages over private plans. If you just rolled out Bernie’s MFA as an universal option that everyone automatically qualifies for, most Americans would choose that option within a year or two.

    On average MFA would cost the average family $5,000 less per year, with no deductibles or co-pays, and 100% coverage for medication. Plus hearing aids and eye glasses. No private insurer could even begin to compete with that. So you know THAT’S not the Medicare “option” anyone like Biden or Klobuchar would ever roll out.

    As a neoliberal “addition” to the market MFA will be restricted… this is how we ended up with doughnut holes and restrictions on Medicare’s negotiating powers. If we just add Medicare as another “product” in the marketplace you’re just going out of your way to preserve the expense and profits of private insurance.

    In the hoopla regarding Castro’s attack on Biden the fact that Castro was actually correct has gotten lost. Biden’s “opt-in” plan requires that applicants “qualify”. Even those he claims would “automatically” go on Medicare if they lose their jobs would actually have to qualify, and THAT means enrollment would NOT be automatic. Besides, it’s obviously a far more complex administrative problem to have people rolling in and out of Medicare while evaluating who does or doesn’t qualify.

    Obviously a system that EVERYONE automatically qualifies for and is automatically enrolled in is far less complex (for one thing you don’t have to process a single application), more comprehensive, and less expensive.

    Look: the main reason MFA proponents claim that private insurance will go away is that no for-profit company could compete with a nationwide, universal, non-profit insurance company. When someone like Klobuchar promises to defend private insurance companies (and their profits) the only way she can deliver on that promise is to hobble Medicare and make it more expensive, less efficient, and less comprehensive. If you’re looking for a “bad” idea there you have it. There is simply no upside to any proposal that maintains the administrative nightmare that now governs our health care system and drives up costs and restricts best practices. The idea that we’re all just a pool of potential profit for those control our health care is simply daft, and it’s killing people and destroying lives. Medicare as another product in the “market” is just another failed neoliberal centrist policy that keeps the problem alive while killing people who need health care.

  15. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/16/2019 - 09:44 am.

    Just a quick note regarding provider resistance to MFA. Providers (i.e. clinics, medical device, companies, hospitals, etc.) oppose MFA because they claim Medicare reimbursements will be too low. In fact current Medicare reimbursements are lower, which is one reason Medicare is the only regime that actually controls and reduces health care costs.

    Here’s the thing: Providers are simply protecting existing revenue streams and profit margins. This is NOT a question of shutting anyone down because they’ll be losing money under a Medicare regime. Currently US providers charge two or three times the rates charged anywhere else in the world for everything from tooth brushes to MRI’s and surgery. Of course the pharmaceutical companies profiteering goes without saying.

    Yes, MFA would reduce provider revenues, THAT’S how we get affordable health care, reduce the costs, and free up a billions of dollars to spent elsewhere in the economy. You just have to remember that this industry is so bloated with profit that it can easily absorb the losses and survive quite comfortably.

    Another fact to keep in mind is that the financial “hit” providers will take is not at catastrophic as they claim. MFA would actually save providers billions because 90% of the administrative costs associated with billing dozens of different insurance companies, at different rates for different procedures, some covered, come not. The entire regime would be replaced by a system that covers everything for everyone and has one billing address.

    In defense of providers and their high costs we need to acknowledge that one reason they charge so much is to cover the costs of administration and the discounts they grant different insure’rs.

    Lisen: When I worked at a local hospital back in the 90’s Hospital administrators were always telling us (complaining) that they only collected 42 -52 cents of every dollar billed because of the discounts they grant insurance companies. Well, they weren’t eating the discount and running at a loss, they were charging 500% more for everything from toothpaste to MRI’s. I think on average Medicare reimbursements run at around 60% of billing while private insurance is paying around 80%-90%. (you can find articles about this on the web) So you see, even if Medicare only pays 60% of the bill for a colonoscopy that’s being billed at $1,200 instead of the $6,000 it costs anywhere else in the world, they still making $1,000 more than clinics in Canada or France. And it same damn colonoscopy. And when they’re saving a couple thousand bucks on administrative costs, they’re recovering even more than the $7,000.

    So no, MFA isn’t going to drive all the MD’s out of the country or shut hospitals down.

  16. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/19/2019 - 07:38 am.

    Johnathan Eckland says:

    “If Warren gets the nomination, and wins the general, and dems maintain a congressional majority, and pick up seats in the senate, and eliminate the filibuster, then maybe a faster cutover can occur. Until that happens, and I sure hope it all does, I think a bit of triangulation on such a complex and fractious issue is acceptable, if not warranted.”

    Regarding a public option as an intermedicate step, I would refer the reader to my comment above. However I think it’s important to understand that no-one I know who supports and has supported MFA/single payer for decades would suggest that the bill would pass TODAY. Even a “public option” couldn’t make into Obamacare because Blue Dog Democrats wiped it out.

    Obviously if MFA is going to make into law a majority of votes in the House and Senate are required, as well as a POTUS who’s willing to sign it into law once passed.

    However, “centrists” condescension not withstanding; the fact that you need to have sufficient votes is a mundane observation pretending to be shrewd political realism. The MFA plan is to fight for MFA until it passes. No one is claiming it would pass today anymore than women’s suffrage would have passed in 1910.

    As noted previously, women didn’t fight for partial suffrage in the meantime, nor did FDR fight for a scaled back New Deal. Sometimes change occurs in increments but that doesn’t establish a law of incrementalism that dictates failed polices are the only possible policies. A political system that can only yield failed policies is a failing political system. Those so claim that failure is the best we can ever do will lead a nation to ruin if let them.

    We haven’t really had a honest to god debate yet that really describes MFA. The “incrementalist” who claim to champion a public option today are the same ones who kept it out of Obamacare. Their agenda has been to prevent an honest discussion of MFA from even taking place.

  17. Submitted by Tim Smith on 09/19/2019 - 02:45 pm.

    She knows what Obama and Biden know, the medical providers in this country are the highest paid in the world. For single payer to work they have to make less and have some rationing forced upon them. Good luck with that.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/19/2019 - 04:15 pm.

      Healthcare is already rationed in the US. It’s rationed on ability to pay, not on need or benefit.

      • Submitted by Tim Smith on 09/20/2019 - 06:57 am.

        Not for the overwhelming majority of insureds. Care is given without limits or known cost.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/20/2019 - 08:15 am.

        Thank you Mr. Eckland,

        Yes, we have the most heavily rationed health care in the developed world. We have millions of people suffering without basic access, and millions more in diabetic, hypertensive, and psychiatric crises because they can’t afford to therapeutic levels of prescribed medication for instance. This is a unique feature of our health system. Even if you have “good” insurance you will have to forgo treatments and diagnostics that your “plan” doesn’t pay for unless you pay yourself.

Leave a Reply