Sunday, December 27, 2015

71% of Democrats favor "Medicare For All": Which candidate agrees?

The betting odds are that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee for President. (Never mind that Bernie Sanders, according to a recent poll, would do better against Donald Trump.) But if you are supporting Hillary because you think she stands the better chance of winning the general election, think twice about what return you will get for your investment. Here's a view of the recent Democratic debate from on the matter of a single payer health system - "Medicare For All."

If the Hillary Clinton campaign had its way, supporters of Bernie Sanders – whose backing she will obviously want in November should she win the Democratic nomination – would feel that, while Clinton might not be all that they want in a president, she would at least go part of the way there. But if you followed the third debate deep enough into the night, you witnessed, in what stands as the most disingenuous moment of the Democratic race thus far, Clinton not simply disagreeing with Sanders on his Medicare For All, single payer health insurance plan, but knowingly distorting it. This was not Hillary Clinton offering a more moderate version of a solution, this was Hillary Clinton acting as part of the problem.

... the single-payer bill Sanders introduced in 2013 called for a 2.2 percent tax on individual incomes up to $200,000 and couples up to $250,000 (and higher rates for higher brackets), a group she pledges would see no tax increases under a Clinton administration. But the reason that a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found 52 percent of Democrats strongly backing a Medicare For All plan, and another 29 percent somewhat favoring it, is that they understand that there is a payback for that tax increase. And so does Hillary Clinton.

That's nearly three out of four Dems favoring Sanders' plan. But we know that our political leaders are out of step with the electorate. Why? Enter big money.

... [In the 2008 election] The New York Times reported her the second highest recipient of health care industry campaign contributions, trailing only Republican Senator Rick Santorum. Washington health care lawyer and lobbyist Frederick H. Graefe told the paper that “People in many industries, including health care, are contributing to Senator Clinton today because they fully expect she will be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2008.” Therefore he felt that “If the usual rules apply,” early donors would “get a seat at the table when health care and other issues are discussed.”

Sanders, of course, famously does not take such contributions – and there we have the root of the difference. So, much as Clinton might hope Sanders backers won’t fret too much about her supposed inevitability as the nominee because she’ll at least give us Bernie-Lite, it ain’t necessarily so. As Sanders charged in an earlier debate, there’s always a price to be paid for becoming a darling of the corporate world. And it’s generally the people Clinton claims she’ll shield from tax increases who wind up actually paying it.

Yes, Scriber does Yearn for Bern.

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