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It's here! Bernie introduces bill to socialize American medicine
Prognosis the same as for those who actually live under socialized medicine, for now. But soon?
Not news: Socialist wants to socialize health care. Kinda news: Allegedly non-socialist leftist party embraces socialist as one of its own (even though he's technically not) and mostly treats his rantings with deference and respect. Definitely news: Prominent likely 2020 presidential candidates from allgedly non-socialist leftist party co-sponsor bill to socialize health care.
Maybe Bernie was elected after all!
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will unveil his “Medicare for all” bill on Wednesday, his office announced Friday.
The announcement comes as single-payer health care is gaining as a force within the Democratic Party, and Sanders’s formal announcement will move the issue further into the spotlight.
Sanders made single payer a driving force of his campaign for president last year, and is now keeping up the push.
The advisory from his office says that Sanders will be joined by Senate co-sponsors, though does not list who they are. He will also be joined by “medical professionals, business leaders, and patients.”
The issue has emerged as a key test for 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), a possible candidate, recently announced that she would back Sanders’s bill.
Other potential Democratic presidential candidates will also face pressure to take a position on the measure.
We dealt yesterday with the growing Democrat consensus behind single-payer, and how it's not that they've changed their minds on the merits so much as they now think it's politically saleable. Democrats have always favored putting the government in control of anything and everything they can. It's just a matter of how much of this they can actually admit they want without losing elections and thus their ability to achieve it.
Bernie's bill isn't going anywhere in the current Senate, of course, and he knows that perfectly well. His goal is to establish it as a presidential campaign issue in 2020, and to test the idea that presidential aspirants can get behind the idea without marginalizing themselves to the point of non-viability as candidates.
Did Bernie's own campaign prove that? Everyone knew he was a socialist, and he openly advocated single-payer. He was clearly treated throughout the process as a serious and viable candidate even though he didn't win. Conclusions: Socialists can run for president and push socialized medicine, without falling into the extremist/fringe/crank category.
So come on, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker! Co-sponsor the bill now and start measuring drapes for the Oval Office!
Then again: Could it be that the only reason Bernie did as well as he did in the primaries was that he was the only alternative to an unaccomplished, corrupt, dishonest, entitled, unintelligent shrew? Eh . . . could be. When the rest of the party clears the field for the entitled queen, despite the electorate's desperate wish for a different option, just about any different option will have some appeal.
There are polls that show growing support among Americans for single-payer, and not just on the left. Democrats are taking this as evidence that their time has come to lift the veil and start openly pushing what they've secretly wanted for decades. But I think there are problems with the way they're reading those polls. It's easy to get Americans to agree, in the abstract, that it would be good for government to guarantee health coverage for everyone. If that's your whole question, sure, you're going to pull good numbers.
When you start asking about the taxes that would require, and who would have to pay them, and how it would affect decision making in health care, well . . . I suppose a fair number of people would still support it because their entire agenda is to make sure that if they do get sick, someone else pays the bills. And they probably figure they don't make much anyway so how much could be taken from them in the form of taxes? Surely that's going to be someone else's burden.
But lots of other people are going to be interested in the details, and when they realize how much it fundamentally changes health care, they won't remain part of that supportive number for long.
Then again, does that even matter? ObamaCare was wildly unpopular when it passed, and Democrats passed it anyway because they had the numbers and didn't care what the public thought. A lot were disappointed even then that they weren't passing single-payer, but they voted yes anyway on the theory that they should take what they could get at the time and come back later for more.
See, Republicans? That's how you move the legislative ball forward, not demanding everything all at once and killing anything less than that. But I digress.
Question: How will Democrats pass single-payer when current rules require 60 votes in the Senate? Answer: Change the rules. Why? Because unlike Mitch McConnell, Democrats play to win. If everything they stand for wasn't so abhorrent, it would almost be tempting to join them just so you could be part of a movement that is actually determined to win. That whole "destroy the country in the process" thing is a drawback, but hey.
So Bernie's not going to get single-payer passed right now. But after, say, the 2022 mid-terms, what if Democrats have a House majority? And a Senate majority? And they could get single-payer signed by President Harris? Or Booker? Or Warren? Or . . . Trump?
Dan's new novel, BACKSTOP, is a story of spiritual warfare and baseball. Download it from Amazon here!