Medicare for All

Kamala Harris' Medicare for All Problem Is the Democratic Party's Medicare for All Problem

The California senator's history of flip-flops reveal the emptiness of her campaign—and looming problems for her party.

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Sen. Kamala Harris' (D–Calif.) health care flip-flops are, first and foremost, a referendum on Kamala Harris, the candidate, and the fundamental emptiness of her presidential campaign. 

Harris doesn't really care about health policy as policy; instead she appears to view the issue through an exclusively political lens, wanting to be seen as a supporter of Medicare for All and its most popular promises without reckoning with the trade-offs that a real single-payer health care system of the sort proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.). Sanders may be in it for the revolution, but Harris is in it for the optics. 

This dynamic helps explain the campaign trail sniping between the two candidates yesterday after Harris reportedly told a group of supporters at a fundraiser that she was "uncomfortable" with Sanders' Medicare for All plan, a single-payer system that would eliminate virtually all private health coverage in four years. 

Yes, that's the same Medicare for All plan that Harris co-sponsored all the way back in 2017, the same Medicare for All plan that she came out swinging for when she launched her presidential bid in January, the same Medicare for All plan she was listed as backing as recently as April of this year. Harris has backtracked on health care multiple times over the course of the year, but it's hard to believe she was genuinely uncomfortable with a plan she so prominently backed.

What's more likely is that Harris was uncomfortable not with the plan itself, but with the unpleasant political position it put her in—having to defend not only the substantial cost of the plan but its swift elimination of private coverage and the disruption that would cause. Harris wanted to be seen supporting the popular underlying idea of Medicare for All and a government-granted guarantee of comprehensive coverage, but not face difficult questions about what it would cost or how it would work. 

Which is why her own plan, released earlier this summer, is best understood not as a health care plan, but as a campaign messaging document that allows her to say she supports both Medicare for All and some allowance for private health insurance. Notably, her plan contained no cost estimates and pushed the transition back 10 years—conveniently ensuring not only that it wouldn't happen during a Harris administration, but that conventional congressional cost estimates, which cover the legislation's first decade, wouldn't show the full cost of implementation. It's a plan that hides its least popular elements beyond the scope of a conventional legislative price tag, and past the political accountability of a two-term president. 

Yet her plan, which allows private insurance only if is essentially designed by the government, would still lead to the elimination of employer-sponsored coverage as we know it, disrupting coverage for tens of millions of people in the process—something that Harris herself has awkwardly admitted

Harris isn't a health care wonk. She hasn't devoted herself to the issue or its nuances, and whenever she's pressed even mildly about it, she seems to trip up, as if she hadn't anticipated basic questions about how her plans would work (or not work) in practice. Instead, she's an ambitious politician attempting to craft a policy that will best position her in the Democratic primary, somewhere between the single-payer-or-bust enthusiasms of Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) and the Obamacare redux of the frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden. And her ambitions have repeatedly led her into a cynical and shallow embrace of ideas that she can't fully defend, that fall apart upon even the mildest inspection.

Yet because Harris' position on the issue is the result of such undisguised politicking, of the desire to pinpoint some rhetorical middle ground that offers maximum electoral appeal, whether or not it makes complete policy sense, her personal twists and turns also offer some insight into the Democratic Party's larger conundrum. 

Like Harris, the Democratic base rushed to embrace Sanders-style Medicare for All, and like Harris, its most popular proponents have not been able to answer key questions about it, especially when it comes to financing the new government spending such a system would entail. And while the party's left flank has stood by the plan and its essential radicalism, it's not clear that much of the rest of the party even agrees on what it means. That's why both "Medicare for All" and copycat labels like Medicare for All Who Want It have regularly been deployed by those who favor something less than full-fledged single-payer, but still want to seem like they support the same basic goals. 

So while it's true that Harris' chief rivals for the Democratic nomination—Biden, Warren, and Sanders—have clearer individual visions when it comes to health policy, it remains the case that the party as a whole is both divided and muddled in its thinking. Any Democratic candidate who won the nomination would face the same challenge of reconciling those conflicting impulses, and then defending and explaining them to the voting public at large. And as Harris has shown, that isn't easy, because it's not possible to wish away the costs and trade-offs of health policy, to craft a plan that is all popular provisions with no downsides. 

So it's not just Harris who has a problem with Medicare for All; it's the entire Democratic party. 

NEXT: The Partisan Split on Higher Ed

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  1. ” which allos private insurance only if is essentially designed by the government”

    oh thank God, our brave leaders won’t have to use the same crap healthcare the that they want the rest of us to have. I was really worried.

    1. Can I keep my doctor if I like my doctor?

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    2. oh thank God, our brave leaders won’t have to use the same crap healthcare the that they want the rest of us to have.

      That’s not what it says.

      I was really worried.

      Oh.

  2. Harris doesn’t really care about health policy as policy

    Which is completely different from the healthcare *access* policy that we had to enact to know what was in it.

  3. Sanders, Warren and Harris are the three truly scary ones among the top contenders.

    Sanders and Warren because they are true-believer ideologues.

    Harris, because she is just an opportunistic nasty authoritarian.

    If it’s Sanders or Warren or Harris, I just might have to vote for whomever is the Libertarian candidate is, even if it is a complete dingbat, as a protest vote against everyone.

    1. Nah, don’t throw your vote away on a third party. Vote Democrat, if only because of immigration.

      1. Neither major party will ever do anything to sort out the immigration quagmire. It’s too useful as an election issue. In Obama’s first term, the Dems had a rock-solid majority but didn’t touch the issue. Instead they wasted two years failing to craft the destruction of private health insurance. Just find the most Libertarian major party candidate who is likely to win in your district and vote for him/her in that party’s primary. No one cares that you protested and voted for a dingbat.

    2. Jeff gets it.

      1. Every evening, right up the butt.

        1. Says the infantile conservatards, probably giggling.

    3. Pedo Jeffy, I’m sure you will vote for the candidate that will help you increase the number of violent rapes of American children. Which is most of them. Of course your vote will be illegal as you are a Canadian.

      1. I though he was from Massachusetts? I might be mixing up my Jeffs.

        1. You disavow him, eh?

  4. First, she is running for President, not Emperor. No President can enact total overhaul of our health care system. It is quite enough for a candidate to state that if Congress sends her a Medicare-For-All plan, she would sign it. I just feel it is disingenuous for a journalistic website for not having something they cannot implement anyway.

    “Yet her plan, which allows private insurance only if is essentially designed by the government, would still lead to the elimination of employer-sponsored coverage as we know it, disrupting coverage for tens of millions of people in the process”

    I always assumed this was a Libertarian stance regardless…that employers should not be providing health insurance, period. So why are we portraying this as a bad thing?

    I am no fan of Kamala. She can take a short jump off a tall building for all I care. But I feel this reporting is more of a hit piece than it is a realistic look at the situation.

    1. Which is the logical conclusion one would reach when they fail to understand anything about libertarianism or read the article in the first place.

    2. I always assumed this was a Libertarian stance regardless…that employers should not be providing health insurance, period. So why are we portraying this as a bad thing?

      I’m fairly certain most libertarians would say that this matter is best discussed and decided by the employer and the employee.

      I highly doubt any libertarian would favor the government running the entire thing.

      There are a few libertarian positions that I disagree with or find vague, but this one seems pretty obvious.

      1. I’m fairly certain most libertarians would say that this matter is best discussed and decided by the employer and the employee.

        Except of course that it has never been anything of the sort since employment-based coverage has always been about the tax deduction for the employer, the tax exemption for the employee, and transferring the risks for the unemployed/sick/retired to the govt.

        1. Not to mention that one can’t really discuss/deal with something like a risk pool. By definition (or at least insurability), it requires a major element of non-choice – of take it or leave it – of a contract of adhesion. Otherwise, the risk pool falls apart because of moral hazard.

          1. Avoiding adverse selection is why insurers like employer-based insurance. Also, premiums paid by employer (or deducted from paycheck) are reliable. Whereas on individual market a subscriber may skip payments. Add the tax deduction and no wonder health insurance is employer based. Of the 3 reasons , only the latter is a government distortion.

            1. Avoiding adverse selection is why insurers like employer-based insurance

              Actually employer insurance is more cherry-picking. A sick employee gets fired soon enough. Get too old to work – dump them on govt. And the contract is only one year so no liability tail (but also no reason then to do anything that is actually preventive long-term).

            2. As to adverse selection, regulations for employer-based health insurance have required pre-existing conditions to be covered – meaning all applicants are accepted – for many, many years. Even back in the 1980’s (when I was an insurance agent), regulations for larger plans excluded pre-existing conditions for one year. It is true that employers are going to hire workers healthy enough to actually do the work – so there is some cherry picking. Having said that, a prospective employee healthy enough to work today could easily have something in their medical history that – if dealing with the individual health insurance market (before the ACA) – would have prevented the person from obtaining insurance. There are also many workers who have spouses with medical issues – and they too have benefited from the rules related to employer-provided coverage. I agree with your point about the individual market being more subject to adverse selection. The healthy person is more likely to skip payments, while others with medical issues (or expected issues) will try their best to keep the policy in force.

    3. that employers should not be providing health insurance, period. So why are we portraying this as a bad thing?

      Because the libertarian stance is that government should not incentivize employer-provided healthcare one way or another, not that it should specifically discourage it.

      1. This attitude bugs me no end, that the only choices are what government does, not whether government should do anything at all.

        Slavery bad? Government introduces Jim Crow.

        Jim Crow bad? Government introduces affirmative action.

        With unions, there’s pro-union (closed shop laws) and anti-union (right to work). Why not just stop interfering, period?

        Here, Billy Bones can’t see beyond two forms of government intervention.

        This is the biggest problem I have had explaining to friends what “libertarian” means. They keep coming back to what side of the issue the government should take: +1 or -1. No matter how I try, I cannot get them to see the zero.

        Goes right along with the ancient Greeks and Romans thinking zero was an abomination.

        1. Exactly. A related annoyance is that libertarians are made to look bad because we don’t have a “plan” for every single problem. Of course, nobody does–it’s just that we’re the only ones who actually admit it; we also support a system where anyone can try to solve problems rather than insisting that our holy plan is the only way. Indeed, there are likely several solutions that can coexist (such as with healthcare).

          1. Metazoan….There are times where ‘doing nothing’ is the best response. No question about it. The Brits held an empire for ~1,000 years by knowing when to do nothing at all.

            1. The Brits? They were only really an empire for a few hundred.

              1. Tell that to the Irish

                1. The “British” have only existed since 1707 when Scotland and England signed the Treaty of Union creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain. As an empire, the English didn’t really have an empire of which to speak until they defeated the Spanish Armada. At that point, Spain was the primary naval power and when they were defeated, that allowed the English to become the pre-eminent naval power and establish colonies around the world. So, other than Ireland (and perhaps Wales), there was no “empire” until the 16th Century at best.

      2. Libertarian or not, we should recognize that employer-provided health insurance has distorted and muted free market forces on health care consumption for decades. We should also recognize that it might be a big reason we have led the world in medical innovation and breakthroughs for a very long time. I also find it interesting that employer–provided health insurance has (by regulation) covered all employees – regardless of health history -while the individual health insurance market preferred to decline many applicants deemed likely to be unprofitable, until the Affordable Care Act was passed. We can’t be Switzerland for all sorts of reasons, but I think they have the best approach for health insurance.

        1. blondrealist
          August.20.2019 at 3:56 pm

          “Libertarian or not, we should recognize that employer-provided health insurance has distorted and muted free market forces on health care consumption for decades.”
          Yes.

          “We should also recognize that it might be a big reason we have led the world in medical innovation and breakthroughs for a very long time.”
          Bullshit.

          1. Okay – it might be bullshit – but please give me some clues why you think so.

    4. Making contractual arrangements between consenting parties illegal does not seem to be philosophically libertarian even if we think it has suboptimal results.

    5. “Yet her plan, which allows private insurance only if is essentially designed by the government, would still lead to the elimination of employer-sponsored coverage as we know it, disrupting coverage for tens of millions of people in the process”

      I always assumed this was a Libertarian stance regardless…that employers should not be providing health insurance, period. So why are we portraying this as a bad thing?

      Are you serious, are you serious?

      So, because this plan will eliminate employer provided health insurance (which we’re not actually against – only the tax incentive structure that makes it cheaper to lock health insurance to an employer) we should be ok with the complete destruction of the private insurance market and total social control of health care?

      ‘Eh, don’t mind the barn being on fire – the barn door is open!’

    6. I always assumed this was a Libertarian stance regardless…that employers should not be providing health insurance, period.

      A common blunder by you authoritarians on the right. Libertarians NEVER dictate to employers. The problem is the tax-free part.

      So why are we portraying this as a bad thing

      “disrupting coverage” — related to your confusion on the tax-free part,

    7. You think private companies providing a benefit to their employees is something libertarians oppose?

      Before the ACA, most companies were not required to provide medical benefits to their employees, and yet: many did.

      Libertarians are against coercive mandates that force people to do x, y or z under threat of violence. They’re not against health insurance or employers providing it, provided it’s voluntary.

      This canard is so old and tired. Can ya stop? The libertarian ethos might be one you disagree with, but it’s not difficult to comprehend at a basic level. Pretending otherwise does not flatter your intellect.

      1. WRONG. Your hatred for Obama reveals your ignorance of libertarian values and health care history,

        DECADES before ACA, what libertarians oppose is the tax-free treatment, under FDR, which destroyed the free market. which had long provided universal care with NEITHER government NOR for-profit insurers.

        The employer-paid market distortion was a gimme to labor unions … but FDR also created the insurance structure so hated now by … New Deal progressives! The non-profits, which paid for both coverage and charitable care, was member- and donor-based groups. They’d been doing it since the 1500s, but could not deal with employer-groups.

        The libertarian ethos might be one you disagree with, but it’s not difficult to comprehend at a basic level

        Not for libertarians, who know what that means.

  5. Medicare For All is designed to provide equal access to healthcare for everyone. If you’re familiar with Bernie’s enthusiasm for breadlines, you know that equality in misery is better than inequality in luxury in his book. And more certain. As with Rawls, a society where everybody makes $10,000 per year is better than one where 90% make $50,000 and 10% make $100,000 in the politics-of-envy world Bernie lives in.

    1. We know Harris lives very well along with Warren. How did Rawls live? How does Chomsky live? We know Bernie has a private lakefront vacation home and is a multi-millionaire (gasp..private, doesn’t that go against the public good?). Some indication Chomsky lives very very well and also has a multi-million vacation beach spread. Warren’s economic advisors are raking in 300k+benes a year (part-time) at the university level. It is interesting that we cannot find personal ownership info on these SJW white equity academics, especially Rawls (was a trust set-up for his children).

      1. Would they exempt themselves from higher taxes on the rich?
        Anything else?

        .

    2. That’s because in his and many simple minds, they think that if 90% make $50,000 and 10% make $100,000, then by necessity (and magical unicorn farts), 100% will make $55,000!

      1. Pull your head out of your ass.
        Then TRY to grow up.

  6. “So while it’s true that Harris’ chief rivals for the Democratic nomination—Biden, Warren, and Sanders—have clearer individual visions when it comes to health policy, it remains the case that the party as a whole is both divided and muddled in its thinking.”

    It’s true there is tension within the Democratic Party concerning minor issues like healthcare. However, there is also an emerging Democratic consensus that any form of border enforcement is inherently racist. As a Koch / Reason libertarian who prioritizes #ImmigrationAboveAll, I’ll gladly support an enthusiastically open borders party that just happens to have an unclear healthcare agenda.

    #LibertariansForHarris

    1. And this is just far too harsh: “Sen. Kamala Harris’ (D–Calif.) health care flip-flops are, first and foremost, a referendum on Kamala Harris, the candidate, and the fundamental emptiness of her presidential campaign.”

      She would be the first woman of color elected President of a white supremacist, patriarchal nation. She’s running to unseat a Russian intelligence asset who is waging a draconian war on immigrants, forcing them to drink from toilets in literal concentration camps. That sounds pretty important and ambitious to me. But her campaign is characterized by a “fundamental emptiness”?

      Are Reason writers taking notes from Tulsi Gabbard?

      1. Another great comedy rant, OBL.
        Keep up the good work.
        Who knows?
        Maybe a Hollywood producer will see your hysterical rants and offer you a job as a screenwriter for a sitcom.

        1. He wasn’t an infantile prick like you. Especially when YOUR tribe is as fucking useless on health care as the other tribe.

    2. Healthcare is not a minor issue for any of the D candidates except for maybe Biden. Have you been paying attention? Free healthcare is one of the biggest talking points for most of these people.

      Kamala won’t do anything on borders, open or otherwise. Democrats won’t pass legislation opening the borders because it is fundamentally at odds with governance. There are no borderless countries with functioning governments.

      1. That’s because Republicans (and libertarians) have NOTHING.
        Not for at least a quarter-century.

  7. >>>Harris is in it for the optics.

    that and the tyranny.

    1. ^^This

    2. If it weren’t for the chance of being a tyrant, why would any of them run for president? I for one, welcome our new tyrant overlord!

      1. Brockman and his handwritten “HAIL ANTS” sign cracks me so consistently up.

      2. Tryrant Trump vs … which other one?

  8. What especially annoys me about “affordable health care for all” is that neither “affordable” nor “health care” have any single definitive definition.

    By one definition, everybody has always had affordable health care, going back to dinosaurs and trilobites.

    By another definition, no one has ever had, or will ever have, affordable health care, because the state of the art at any specific time is always less than the state of the art the next day or year or century (barring nuclear war or a dino-killing comet).

    Anybody who wants medical treatment nowadays already has better and cheaper health care than 10 or 100 years ago. There is no way to improve that except to improve it as time goes by.

    But Medicare For All will surely make it less affordable and less good.

    1. What especially annoys me about “affordable health care for all” is that neither “affordable” nor “health care” have any single definitive definition.

      By one definition, everybody has always had affordable health care, going back to dinosaurs and trilobites.

      That is a great point. People point to how cheap health care was in the past but never bother to mention that health care was very limited up until forty or fifty years ago. Basically all modern medicine could do for you back then was set bones, treat serious wounds, give antibiotics. If you had something else, it could keep you comfortable until you died. So yeah, it was really cheap and you got exactly what you paid for.

      I understand that healthcare should be cheaper than it is. But, somehow we have gotten this idea into our heads that something really sophisticated and requiring great skill and effort should always be cheap. It doesn’t work that way.

      1. So yeah, it was really cheap and you got exactly what you paid for.

        You seem to completely miss the problem. Roughly 5% of the population accounts for roughly half the medical spending. That 5% is NOT a randomly selected part of the population. They are overwhelmingly old and/or dying and/or too sick to possibly earn a living in order to pay for anything. That 5% is not even a random part of the over-65 peeps. And that higher spending tends to persist over time – so once in that cohort, you tend to stay there for at least a few years or death (whichever comes first).

        For the other 95%, there is virtually nothing ‘modern’ that they need from the medical system for the overwhelming majority of their life. The two medical things that have lengthened life expectancy by tens of billions of life-years are antibiotics and childhood vaccines. One of which was driven by govt technology/IP grants and the other by govt spending and centuries-old technology. Relatively speaking, the rest of modern medicine is nothing but marketing hype or irrational fearmongering. The Amish have roughly the same life expectancy as other Americans.

        For every other country on Earth, this weird situation became the foundation of what we used to call a ‘social contract’ – The 95% will pay the bill for the whole via taxes and in exchange someone other than the 5% will manage the spending of that 5% to keep the costs down. Turns out even that doesn’t reduce life expectancy – but it greatly reduces spending (now taxes).

        1. Oh, look! JFree with one more pile of bullshit. For instance:

          “For the other 95%, there is virtually nothing ‘modern’ that they need from the medical system for the overwhelming majority of their life.”

          Yep, those MRIs and other diagnostics really don’t help, do they? Nor the newer meds for long-term diseases. Nope, not a bit
          ———————————————
          “One of which was driven by govt technology/IP grants and the other by govt spending and centuries-old technology. Relatively speaking, the rest of modern medicine is nothing but marketing hype or irrational fearmongering.”

          Speaking of nothing but marketing and irrational fearmongering.
          ——————————————-
          “The Amish have roughly the same life expectancy as other Americans.”

          So no medical care helps at all?

          1. Correlation does not mean causation. The Amish also don’t spend most of the day indoors, socially isolated in cubicles and air conditioned houses. There are many reasons why their lifespans may mirror ours.

            1. There are many reasons why their lifespans may mirror ours.

              Yes – including more interest in the very low tech medical advice re health (eg get some fresh air, stop smoking, get lots of exercise, don’t drive the car everywhere, go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep) that we no longer even do anymore for the lower income cuz we drain them dry paying for the expensive stuff.

          2. Yep, those MRIs and other diagnostics really don’t help, do they?

            50% of the population spends less than $200/year on actual medical. How many MRI’s do you think they’re buying? I’ve never had an MRI in my life. You’re such a welfare leech.

            Poland/Israel/Hungary/Mexico have roughly 1/8 the MRI’s/peep that we do. Roughly same life expectancy as us (bit lower in Mexico) – but their total med spend is $1000-$2000 per personyear (5-7% of their GDP) v $10,000 here (17% of our GDP). Oh – and each MRI costs their system about half what it does here too – so no ‘shortage’ there. And golly – those are also countries where there’s still enough MRI capacity to market for medical tourism.

            MRI’s are a perfect example of tech that does little more than drive spending up. Overutilized cuz we’re gonna add it to the overhead anyway so might as well use it.

            So no medical care helps at all?
            The Amish use medical care. But only what they can pay for in cash cuz they don’t believe in ‘insurance’ (and they walk-the-talk too which is why they are exempt from and ineligible for Medicare). It means they are very low users (I saw one estimate that they average $1000/year thru their community) and the stuff they do use is the effective stuff not the modernist geegaws.

  9. It would be so much easier on politicians if they could promise free stuff without the pesky necessity of having to explain where the stuff is going to come from.

    1. I missed the part where politicians have to explain how to pay for, or where free stuff comes from.

  10. Only an idiot would support medicare for all.
    But the bad news is there are a lot of idiots out there.

    1. Yep, just like most children don’t care how or where Santa gets the gifts under their tree. And none of the Dem candidates are willing to spell out the details of their “Medicare for All” slogan.

      1. After the primary, unless Bernie gets the nomination, I suspect the whole thing will be forgotten.

      2. Well, I can spell it out, but Kamala won’t like it.

        Medicare first of all takes premiums without providing benefits for 20 to 40 or more years. Then you become eligible for the benefits. Which is only 80% payment of only covered expenses, with NO annual cap or lifetime cap on your 20%.
        And NO dental benefits.
        And NO vision benefits.
        And NO drug benefits.

        Who wouldn’t want that kind of a plan?

        Which is why the socialists are actually proposing nationalizing the health care industry, and eliminating or nationalizing the health insurance industry. But that did not go well in the focus groups, so ‘Medicare for all’ won out over ‘VA care for all’.

        1. “”And NO drug benefits.”‘

          That’s Medicare Part D.

          “”But that did not go well in the focus groups, so ‘Medicare for all’ won out over ‘VA care for all’.””

          Exactly. I doubt it would be as good as VA care.

        2. Medicare part D provides prescription drug coverage, but your basic point about the dishonesty of “Medicare-for-All” proposals is valid. I’m pretty sure Bernie isn’t proposing the current traditional Medicare coverage – he wants no deductibles, or need for a supplemental plan (which many seniors 65 and older choose to buy to cover the 20% not covered by Medicare) – and I think he wants dental coverage too. I suspect Bernie has a fantasy that when employers are relieved of providing health insurance, they will take the “savings” and give workers raises. Those raises will then be subject to the much higher payroll taxes that will be needed to pay for “Medicare-for-All” – and he hopes the net take-home pay for most workers will be about the same as before his grand scheme is fully implemented. Of course, he has no idea what to do for workers that don’t currently have employer provided insurance, except to mandate a “living wage”- which will also be heavily taxed. I won’t be surprised if Harris decides to pitch traditional Medicare for all, along with Medicare Advantage plans- both of which would keep health insurance companies in the game (but at a reduced level) – and she’ll try to convince voters her idea is more realistic and affordable.

          1. What if Bernie said …. have employers pay for it. Even Mercatus says we’d spend LESS than now. But the asshole tight SCREAMS about $32 Trillion as if it would be new spending. That we’d still pay premiums to insurance companies . Yes, THAT fucking stupid.

            Your employer would simply send his payment to the NON-profit government, instead of those greedy FOR-profit insurance companies.

            Combine that with conservatives and libertarians having NOTHING which is not equally crazy … and which one SOUNDS better to the masses?

            I mean, Medicare vouchers are even crazier. As is high-deductible insurance.

            NO CRITIQUE of blondrealist. This just replies to his or her very sound and thoughtful observations. With no hysteria. (gasp)

            1. You are absolutely correct about the silly rants on $32 trillion over the next decade. We will spend at least that in our current system, with its messy combination of Medicare, employer-provided health insurance, individual policies, and Medicaid. The GOP has mostly punted on health insurance reform for at least 40 years. Libertarians – at least some of them – want us to believe that the free market will provide better solutions if only the government would get out of the way. What makes me chuckle is when I read some Libertarian article written by an “expert” working at the Cato Institute or some other employer that provides them tax advantaged health insurance coverage that also covers all pre-existing conditions. I believe there is a wide spread belief that only seriously ill people had trouble getting health insurance on the individual market (before the ACA) – but that is just not true. I know – I use to be an insurance agent. I lean Libertarian on many issues, but when it comes to health insurance, the free market falls short – and needs regulation. Comparing our system to other developed nations is difficult for many reasons – but there’s no question that the USA spends far more per capita on health care than those other countries. Lifestyle, culture, tort systems, medical school debt (or lack thereof) – are just a few things that make comparing system costs difficult.

              1. When I saw the $32 trillion, I did what you may have done. What do we spend now? Was DELIGHTED that so many others did likewise. The fiscal conservatives, both Republican and libertarian, have no clue how widely that number has been ridiculed … and how silly they look touting it outside their own klans, errrrr clans.

                The reason we spend more was first cited by the ONLY Republican with balls, Mitch Daniels, who abandoned politics! We’re the only country that spends $250,000 or more for 6 months life.

                And ALMOST all that is … Medicare, as proven by the Commonwealth Fund, a major, independent healthcare researcher..

                https://www.commonwealthfund.org/sites/default/files/documents/___media_files_publications_issue_brief_2012_may_1595_squires_explaining_high_hlt_care_spending_intl_brief.pdf
                Page 3 See the tables
                ” In fact, public per capita spending in the U.S. exceeded total per capita health spending in Sweden, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and Japan

                We send more, per capita, on GOVERNMENT health care, for less than 40% of our people, than those countries spend on their ENTIRE population,

                That’s NOT government’s fault. It’s what Mitch said, so would be true for seniors, public or private,

                You mention free markets, but that was NEITHER government NOR insurance companies. Medicaid replaced charitable non-profits, which did much better. They did ALL healthcare before FDR’s employer-paid required private insurers, ALL the non-profits serviced their own groups, not employer groups.

                The ONLY politicians who EVER proposed a private non-profit was Obama, his bipartisan offer to Republicans ,.. instead of a public option, A HMO and Co-Op is much cheaper than government, directly controlled by members, salaried doctors, their own hospitals and pharmacy … ALL FIXED PREPAID, Model was Seattle’s Group Health Co-Op, 800,000 members. I was a member for 17 years. My brain EXPLODED the first time my physician sat down and reviewed all my records, and chatted for over a half hour!

                The MAJOR failing of POLITICAL. healthcare is betting your life, literally, that politicians, faced with tight budgets, will ALWAYS increase your taxes and NEVER cut benefits! Medicaid proves that bullshit, So does Canada, where their medicare was declared “an unconstitutional threat to human life,” citing Canadians dying on waiting lists of a year or more. It took a court order to FORCE government to restore large spending cuts, (Chaoulli v Quebec)

                In England, the Keogh Report found HUNDREDS of patients died from neglect. many wheeled into empty rooms, abandoned, many found dead in their own feces. GOOGLE THE REPORT.

                We may not agree on much, or even anything. but how nice to engage a thoughtful mind, in THIS hell hole! Bless you, said the atheist. If you are a gal, relax, I’m over 70. 🙂

                ,

                1. We probably agree on a few things. I’ve been on the Commonwealth Fund site many times – there’s a lot of interesting information there and I have even printed some of their survey summary spread sheets that recap spending per capita, primary care physicians per 1,000 of population, average waiting periods to see primary care doctors, and so on. I’ve mentioned on this and other threads that the USA has led the world in medical breakthroughs for many years, but in many ways the USA health care system is average or below average (as the Commonwealth Fund research shows). I don’t pretend to know how best to reform our system, but I do believe our system needs radical reform. If viewed just from a business perspective – it is horrible, given that we spend so much while failing to provide care for so many, to say nothing of all the administrative inefficiencies. You mentioned the large HMO/co-op approach. I have heard some good things about the Kaiser HMO system, but have not done any real research on it. Lastly – not that it’s important – but I’m a guy, almost 60, married to a lovely gal for 36 years.

                  1. Not Kaiser. Kaiser is not a Co-Op (member controlled)
                    When we moved from Cleveland to Seattle, we literally went from Kaiser to Group Health Co-Op. I was stunned.

                    I suspect you are also familiar with the FINE research , etc. of the Kaiser Foundation. (kff.org) They’re often a better source for forums like this because they are shorter and more focused, more like a newspaper than a textbook.

                    Your gal is also blessed. And I was teasing. My doctor is a blonde named April .. we have each other laughing so hard the nurses hang around after walking me in!

        3. Medicare first of all takes premiums without providing benefits for 20 to 40 or more years.

          I was waiting for your typical MASSIVE fuckup. How is that relevant … to anything of hers?

          (Not defending her — ridiculing both of you, as libertarians are wont to do.)

          Which is why the socialists are actually proposing nationalizing the health care industry, and eliminating or nationalizing the health insurance industry. But that did not go well in the focus groups, so ‘Medicare for all’ won out over ‘VA care for all’.

          Republicans are even CRAZIER.
          Sorry.

  11. I don’t go to the Hamptons to raise money from billionaires.

    “I go there because I’m shopping for my fourth house that I plan to buy after this latest grift is completed.”

    1. “At least you’re willing to pay the same higher taxes that you want similar others to pay, compared to the massive moral hypocrisy on the authoritarian right, that those damn libertarians keep exposing — on both sides of the swamp.”

  12. Better listen to Giggles Kamala.

    She’ll put you in chains and prison and giggle about it.

  13. I wish people would stop calling it Medicare-for-All. I happen to be on Medicare as are most retirees and people over 65. While it is a good benefit, it is not a comprehensive heath insurance insurance, for example Medicare does not pay for long term care.

    What most people think of a “Medicare-for-All” is really more like “Medicaid-for-All” but the Democrats won’t say that because Medicaid is for poor people.

    1. Yep, and Part B only pays 80%. Part D has the donut hole. Insurance so good, you need another insurance.

      1. Ironically, if Bernie was pitching actual Medicare-for-All, it might be easier to sell.

        1. Bino, Who cares that Medicare is MASSIVELY subsidized by (a) income taxes, and (b) for-profit insurers. And that NOBODY knows what “cost-shifting” means (outside the tribal tent)

    2. Medicare does not pay for long term care.

      Medicaid does

  14. Heels Up Harris is done. You can stick a forceps into her….

    Once she told America she would do away with their employer-based medical insurance, her candidacy was over.

    1. Only YOU want our employers to be the ONLY ones who pay for health care? …. AND the much higher taxes that DUMBFUCK Trumpsters cannot grasp?

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  16. Being a Democrat is about making up stories and deciding to believe them. When they make up health care stories, they only tell the happy parts where the villains were overcome and everyone lived happily ever after.

    Overcoming villains pays for itself, because costs are sad, and sadness is a result of villainy. When you triumph over villainy, everything that causes sadness disappears — it’s a story. When this doesn’t happen in real life, they just make up a new story with new villains to explain it.

    Enemies are infinite because the utopia in their stories can never exist, and someone must be blamed. More entitlement means hatred of enemies must be ramped up to fill the gap between promises and reality.

    Hence our current political climate after Obama accomplished approximately nothing in 8 years of the most fanciful storytelling America has ever known.

    1. Being a Democrat is about making up stories and deciding to believe them.

      That’s kind of what being a human being is about. The problem with Democrats is that they don’t realize that some stories are better than others in helping to actually deal with reality.

      1. It is the nature of understanding the world. You can’t make sense of the world without imposing some kind of presupposed order on it. Without that, everything is just a collection of meaningless data.

      2. I thought being an adult human was about actually helping others and making life better with what you really have to work with.

        Fantasy stories are for children. Unfortunately too many children grow old without ever becoming grownups.

        1. Yeah, but you still need a story to tell yourself or you will have no hope of making any sense of the unmanageable amount of information that makes up the real world.

          1. Why do you need to “make sense” of information? You could just mind your own business instead.

            The amount of information that matters isn’t vast.

        2. Actually, being an adult requires first being able to support yourself, and then perhaps caring for others.

    2. Yes. Everything is so terrible and unfair. Being a dem means mining for victims and hoping they outnumber happy people.

      Haha

    3. Being a Democrat is about making up stories and deciding to believe them

      Like the crazy-fuck Republicans, who STILL swallow the crazy bullshit that Trump’s tax cuts would generate so much growth as to pay for themselves … despite PROOF that Trump is ALREADY the WORST President on debt EVER … ALREADY worse than Obama, who started with the second worst economy in 80 years?

      Do you not realize that BOTH parties’ voters are puppets, dancing a strings that are about to break … as libertarians have known for over 50 years?

      Sad.

  17. http://theothermccain.com/2019/08/13/msnbc-guest-democrats-must-destroy-white-people-who-voted-for-trump/

    Democrats must destroy white people who voted for Trump. But remember, anyone who says the Democrats are out to get white people is just paranoid.

    1. Typical right-wing HYSTERIA …. You LIE about what ONE man said … from a bat-shit crazy right-wing website … And they even cite the quote they LIE about to their goobers!!!</b<

      “You don’t communicate to them, you beat them. You beat them. They are not a majority of this country — the majority of white people in this country are not a majority of the country. All the people who are not fooled by this need to come together, go to the polls, go to the protests, do whatever you have to do. You do not negotiate with these people, you destroy them.”

      AT THE POLLS RETARD,. NEVER MENTIONS TRUMP
      YOU SICK FUCK … STOP SPREADING HATRED AND HYSTERIA … GO BURN SOME CROSSES

  18. She comes across to me as a complete and total fraud, much like Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney (to name a few good examples). There’s no discernable ideological compass whatsoever, so whatever position she claims to support at the moment is based entirely on where the political winds are blowing and who she happens to be talking to.

    1. Of all the known Democratic candidates, Harris is by far the worst. She is as you point out a complete fraud and worse makes it obvious she is a fraud. Also, her horrible record on criminal justice will mute any advantage she would create in the black community for being a black candidate. Harris is the one candidate who I think could lose to Trump in a landslide. She is just awful.

      1. “Harris is the one candidate who I think could lose to Trump in a landslide.”

        LOL

        Drumpf has no way to win in 2020. Not even Russian hacking will get it done this time.

        1. You need new material.

          1. I’m not doing “material.” I’m stating a fact. The 2020 Presidential election will be won by the Democratic candidate.

            1. HEY, JOHN… GET OFF THE DRUGS.

              Deficit to top $1 trillion per year by 2020, CBO says

              America’s deficit is rising sharply and will surpass $1 trillion per year by 2020, a gap that has grown since Congress cut taxes and increased spending, the Congressional Budget Office reported Monday.

              “The federal budget deficit grows substantially over the next several years,” CBO Budget Director Keith Hall said Wednesday after his agency released the report. “Federal debt is projected to be on a steadily rising trajectory throughout the decade.”

              During debate on the bill, Republican leaders predicted that their proposal would spark massive economic growth that would limit — or even eliminate — additions to the deficit. But the CBO projected Monday that the bill would boost economic growth 0.7 percent over a decade — not enough to keep it from adding to the deficit.

              WHY DO CONSERVATARDS SUPPORT TRUMP’S NEW DEAL …THE BIGGEST CLUSTERFUCK SINCE FDR???

              EVEN FOX NEWS IS JUMPING SHIP!!

              FOX NEWS: Trump in big trouble for 2020. Political and economic warning signs there for all to see

              The strong economy Trump touts is anything but and the signs are obvious.

              First, Trump cut taxes and said it would pay for itself. Instead, it has exploded the deficit. President Barack Obama inherited a trillion-dollar budget deficit in 2009, but it was down to $600 billion by the time he left office. In just two years, thanks to tax cuts, Trump has taken the deficit back to a trillion dollars. And on “Fox News Sunday,” White House Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow admitted that the administration is looking at more tax cuts.

              Next, Trump said China would bear the costs of his trade war with them. Really? Trump’s suspension of additional tariffs is an admission that they have been hurting American consumers despite his claims to the contrary. In the Fox News Poll, 46 percent said tariffs were hurting the economy. Americans know the cost of everything has increased while their paychecks haven’t increased.

              The fact is Trump’s best economic growth is 3.5 percent in two quarters out of the 10 quarters he’s been in office, CNBC’s John Harwood reports, adding that same growth figure, 3.5 percent, is Obama’s seventh best quarter, George W. Bush’s eighth best, and Bill Clinton’s 17th best. Yet, Trump claims his economy is the best ever. Far from it.

              If that wasn’t bad enough, a staggering 59 percent of voters think Trump is tearing the country apart.

              Fox News leaves Trumpsters all alone, twisting in the wind …

              Obama inherited the 2nd worst economy since the 1930s
              Trump started with the longest recovery EVER for an incoming President … FROM OBAMA … and is WORSE than Obama on the economy and the worst EVER on debt, which he campaigned on PAYING OFF!

              Left – Right = Zero

  19. How much longer do conservatives have to develop an alternative to universal health care in America?

    I sense it is roughly 18 months. Because they aren’t even trying, however, the question is largely irrelevant from a practical perspective. As is customary, the liberal-libertarian mainstream will craft progress against right-wingers’ preferences and efforts.

    1. How long before someone gets you on some meds or at least gets you some dental work?

    2. “As is customary, the liberal-libertarian mainstream will craft progress against right-wingers’ preferences and efforts.”

      Well said, Art. That was the great thing about having a brilliant academic like Obama as President — Obamacare was a truly inspired piece of legislation that no conservative could have ever dreamed up. (Any problems with Obamacare, of course, were due to Republican sabotage.)

      1. (Any problems with Obamacare, of course, were due to Republican sabotage.)

        The fucking assholes REFUSED the bipartisan for a PRIVATE, NON-PROFIT alternative to a public option, that would have killed single-payer FOREVER.

        Obama had campaigned as a moderate on healthcare all along — see Gary Johnson’s ad on YouTube,
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpIM0vFbFck

        He was campaigning like Kennedy did on taxes. His bipa..

        1. … His bipartisan plan helped Kennedy avoid his own crazy lefty.

          Under Obama, GOP fucksters, gave the far left a power they never would have had, and they pissed away the chance to kill single-payer FOREVER, with a LOWER-COST private system WITH competition, and TOTAL patient control.

          It was endorsed by Daily Kos .. because, despite crazy-fuck conservatives, . true progressives see a MEMBER-CONTROLLED NON-PROFIT as …. socialized medicine (It’s profits they hate, not private sector)

          This was a MUCH larger GOP fuckup than electing Trump,
          But it would have also killed the insurance industry, which FDR caused to replace the original non-profits. (Were mostly ethnic and fraternal lodges, NOT employer-based) So GOP may have sold us out to the industry.

    3. “How much longer do conservatives have to develop an alternative to universal health care in America?”

      How much longer are bigoted assholes going to ignore the alternative which has been on offer for years?

      1. Losing the culture war has made plenty of clingers quite cranky.

        Fine by me.

      2. How much longer are bigoted assholes going to ignore the alternative which has been on offer for years?

        Describe it, fucking liar.

  20. When Hunger in America was the “liberal” cause du jour, the late Joseph Sobran jokingly recommended that the federal government issue chits to starving people, chits that would read, “Good for one free meal, payable by any liberal.” I propose something similar with regard to health care. “Good for one visit to the doctor,” or “Good for one prescription,” or “Good for one operation”–all payable by any liberal.

    And don’t tell me the Liberal Gang can’t afford it. The Hollywood Left, the Kennedys, etc.–this bunch is LOADED. And we know they’re compassionate, because they’re always telling us they are.

    1. Do you have anything that’s not so childish, since the GOP has NOTHING, and FUCKED UP the bipartisan Obamacare del that would have killed single–payer forever On health care, the right has been anti-markets and stupid for a quarter-century.

      Well?

      1. Not sure I get your point. You don’t believe people who want health care for all should be the ones paying for it? Or you do?

        1. Not sure I get your point.

          whooooosh

          You don’t believe people who want health care for all should be the ones paying for it? Or you do?

          HUH?

          I said the GOP has NOTHING … and FUCKED UP the absolute lowest cost health care possible that would have killed single-payer forever … to counter your infantile ridicule..

          For your irrelevancy, as a libertarian, I know we HAD universal treatment … with NO government and NO for-profit insurance … for EVERYONE (until FDR), the the poor and elderly (before LBJ).
          Now, we have one party sucking up to Big Insurance. and the other to Big Government.

          Your Conservative Gang is just as fucking USELESS as the liberal one you ridicule. You’re not even in the right universe for this topic. NOT your fault, other than misplaced faith.
          Left – Right = Zero

  21. “We must pass a Medicare for All system to guarantee affordable health care for all, not just for those who can afford it.”

    I won’t be able to afford it, so I’m glad it will be affordable.

    1. WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH

  22. The Netherlands has socialized healthcare. It’s fine, but you can’t sue physicians no matter how incompetent. You can have socialized medicine but not without a complete overhaul of the medicolegal system. Remember, politician Edwards was a malpractice lawyer and ensured dozens of OB/gyns stopped delivering babies in NC. http://amp.washingtontimes.com/news/2004/aug/16/20040816-011234-1949r/

    1. They were found guilty in a court of law.
      Why would you take the side of guilty doctors over babies, by wanting to change that?

  23. Notably, her plan contained no cost estimates and pushed the transition back 10 years

    Notably, this is yet another reason not to vote for her.

    1. But, the GOP is just as stupid. Ahh, but YOUR tribe!

  24. BTW, even Willie Brown is admitting that “Trump for 8” is looking like a good bet, given the lame/embarrassing D options.

    1. BTW, you’re full of shit. As always.
      (Will he provide a link? Or SCREAM “Fuck off” again?)

  25. Meh, she’s comfortable on quicksand. It’s all a matter of changing form as the sand shifts. If you have the right blow boat you can sail wherever the wind blows.

  26. So it’s not just Harris who has a problem with Medicare for All; it’s the entire Democratic party.

    Yeah, but the Republicans and libertarians are just as crazy … since the anti-gummint goobers took charge. What we have now is Big Government vs Big Insurance, and no longer a clue that — in a free market we had neither In the past 20 years, the only candidate who proposed a return to the PRIVATE non-profits we had — before FDR forced the for-profit insurers to exist — was Obama!

    Gary Johnson’s 2012 ad on Youtube, SHOWS Obama even campaigned smarter. He SMASHED Hillary and Edwards in opposing a mandate. “If a mandate could work, we can end homelessness by mandating everyone buy a house.” KAPOW.

    He even said we cannot even consider universal coverage until we reduce the cost of CARE. DUH — which his non-profit alternative to a public plan would have done! … to get GOP votes, but the dumbfucks REFUSED a deal that would have killed single-payer forever … thereby empowering the far left, who would otherwise not have has a voice. GOP dumbfuckery did not start with Trump.

    Obama even knew WHY we have the world’s most costly health care. (Who tells Cato?) His grandmother got a costly hip transplant, when she had terminal cancer, and died a few months later. (We’re the ONLY country that will pay $250,000 or more, for six more months of life). And he nailed that as the problem.

    Anti-gummint goobers have crazy things like Medicare vouchers, which sound like privatization. They would increase competition … IN THE WRONG MARKET! (Insurance is not care). In the REAL market, providers. seniors have always had competition … but no skin in the game! The free-minds and free-markets crowd has the WRONG market … and SOMEHOW forgot “skin in the game.” WTF

    Medicaid? Even DUMBER. Has ANY of them said, “Hey, Bernie, for low-incomes, Medicaid has LONG been a right and FAILS!” Before the Obamacare expansion, the highest rate of uninsured was Medicaid eligibles — 12 million with NOTHING. No doctors. Medicaid pays much less than Medicare.

    THINK. Expansion added tens of millions, but NO NEW DOCTORS. The con was “automatic enrollment,” the ILLUSION of coverage. Who tells Cato? And Suderman?

    Before anti-gummint, pro-liberties knew that we HAD universal treatment, in charity hospitals … PRIVATIZE, DON’T REPEAL, ASSHOLES.

    THINK. Americans have ALWAYS been willing to pay for the uninsured, regardless of age or income. Today, Democrats are the ONLY ones CLAIMING to provide what Americans have always been willing to pay for. Fiscal conservatives ACT like the selfish pricks they call us.

    Yeah, keep sneering and ridiculing lefties. In the court of public opinion, they have been kicking our ass … for a quarter century … since the gummint haters crowded out the liberty lovers. FACT.

    1. “the gummint haters crowded out the liberty lovers.”

      These two groups are the same people.

      1. Even Ayn Rand said that was crazy, authoritarian, the thuggish notion that will of the people and consent of the governed CANNOT be allowed.

        Pro-liberty vs anti-government is a long-standing conflict within libertarianism, for 50 years. The difference is quite simple, to non-authoritarians, and the informed.,

        Expanding individual liberty always limits or reduces government.
        But shrinking government can be can be an assault on individual liberty. In fairness, you may just be an innocent victim of the thugs.

        Best example may be Medicaid, where the authoritarians would cut or repeal it. This is in VIOLATION of free market outcomes, which their loyal goobers know nothing about. Clueless victims of mind control.

        In a free market people have always paid for indigent care, regardless of age or income, tracing back to the 1500s. Before Medicaid, care was provided by thousands of charity hospitals, financed by a diverse mix of churches, charities, foundations and the fraternal organizations who had been doing it for hundreds of years.

        Thus, to restore free markets, LIBERTARIANS have always promoted privatization .., a transition back to private care and voluntary financing. Must be a transition, because the entire charity infrastructure must be rebuilt. The simplest way is for tax CREDITS for donations to (ANY life-support charities, not just care, to replace the entire welfare state). This transfers dollars away from government, back to the private sector at the exact pace of needed for he transition.

        Quite simple, quite obvious, with a 50+ year history, , but totally unknown to the mind controlled denizens who snarl “GIT GUMMINT OUT” — THEY re THE greatest threat to individual liberty

        They are the enemy, because they EMPOWER Bernie and Elizabeth,

        Do the math. If the democratic socialists are the ONLY ones CLAIMING to provide … what people have ALWAYS paid for willingly … who wins? DUH.

        This is NOT rocket science. But it is WHY the goobers are taught to OPPOSE will of the people, by their overlords.

        Or that “those two groups are the same people” The horrors of authoritarian mind control. George Orwell’s Newspeak. “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. Oppressing voluntary choice is free markets.”

        Any questions?

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  28. Making the health care system cost effective, competitive and accountable won’t come from any government solution. They can’t even fix a simple operation like the post office. Politicians always create the major problems and never come up with any solutions that don’t make things worse.

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