In Praise Of Experience In The Democratic Party’s Fight Against Tr-mpcare

There is a lot of talk among Democrats and left-leaners that the leadership in the Democratic Party is too old and what is needed is new blood. Well, not so fast.

Sure, any political party needs new and younger folks coming into it to supply both energy and fresh ideas. But a healthy party is one in which a combination of experience and youthful exuberance and idealism prevails. After the devastating Congressional Budget Office report on the Republicans’ replacement for Obamacare came out on Monday, what we needed was competence and experience to explain just how devastating it was and how much harm the plan would do to Americans, the poor, the sick, and the old. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer provided that experience.

The video below is the press conference they held. Pay attention to how they marshalled the arguments supplied by the CBO’s analysis of the proposed legislation, and pay attention to how they represented institutional memory—as congressional veterans of past fights with Republicans over health reform—that highlighted Republican hypocrisy and duplicity. Oh. If you don’t watch the entire 16 minutes, at least go to the discussion (starting around 13:40) in which the point is made that it will be rural red state folks who will get hurt and blue state wealthier people who will actually benefit from the heartless GOP plan. Yet, two prominent Democrats are standing there in defense of the red state Republicans. Nothing represents better the differences between the two parties. Watch:

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  1. ansonburlingame

     /  March 14, 2017

    Early on (almost a decade ago) when I began participating in this blog I recall a liberal commenting about some particular program “I don’t care what it costs, we NEED it”. So goes the endless argument over HC. It takes little skill to argue against any HC proposal made by anyone if that is the fundamental basis of the objection, cost does not matter.

    Medicare is a widely accepted and popular program to deliver HC to older Americans because it is paid for by the federal government with little concern for the cost. Thus each year the federal government runs up a deficit amounting to a few $100 Billions each year with no end in sight. We NEED it so deficit spending is acceptable.

    Not so with Medicaid as the States ultimately must pay for that program with limited support from the federal government. I assume that federal support for Medicaid must be appropriated by Congress each year. If that is not the case then more deficit spending from the federal government. But all states are forced to balance their budgets and thus to provide sufficient Medicaid to citizens all states want more money from the federal government, each year.

    Then comes ACA which cost the federal government alone over $100 Billion in 2016. As well the cost to consumers of ACA provided HC has skyrocketed upwards and soon will go, well how high, I wonder.

    Duane and his followers have long demanded universal, single payer HC for all Americans and that single payer is the federal government. The argument is “Europe does it so why not America”, among countless others. We can afford it if we just tax the rich more is another one which is dead wrong as well. Taxing the rich “more” will only rob Peter to pay Paul but never satisfy Paul, for sure

    If America returned to post WWII tax rates on the rich (90% income tax) we still would not be able to pay HC costs for all Americans I submit but agree I have not “run the numbers”. “Medicare for all” Americans (which only pays 80% of HC costs) would run up a tab of at least $2.5 Trillion each year just for HC alone. Such costs are beyond the reach of even the federal government. Remember, this year’s budget from Trump will call for just over $4 Trillion in spending. The cost to run the federal government has gone from low $3 Trillions to $4 Trillion, a 25% increase in just the last 8 years or so. Now how much has GDP grown over that same period of time???

    To pay for HC for all Americans requires rationing such a scare commodity and NO ONE wants THEIR HC rationed by any government. They only want to walk into a doctor’s office and get “fixed”, now, regardless of what it costs. Impossible, I submit.

    Dems in 2008 gave it their best shot, alone, and came up short. GOP raised hell and now is giving it their best shot. Seems like they are missing the target as well. Now the argument is “my plan is better than your plan” yet neither side has a plan acceptable to at least 60 members of the Senate today, the hurdle that any HC must go over to become the law of the land, no matter what Trump will settle for.

    I would note that liberals herein should thank God for the “freedom caucus” today. That group won’t vote for the “Ryan plan” because it costs too much money, still. They would gut funding for HC even farther.

    What is needed to untie this Gordian Knot is 60 Senators that will tell both the radical left and freedom caucus to go to hell, unite in the center and pass a BETTER HC law, not the law that anyone “likes”, “loves”, etc. but one that while still “messy” is the best a democracy can produce.

    Once again, democracy is failing to work in America. Single party power is the only solution EXCEPT now 60 Senators must be part of the same party, actually about 70 as there will always be members of a single party outside the pale.

    Anson

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    • King Beauregard

       /  March 15, 2017

      There is never much point in reading an entire wall of Anson text, because the purpose is always to articulate his principles (such as they are) in strokes so broad that they cannot easily be assailed. The devil is in the details and Anson knows enough not to go there.

      But I couldn’t help but notice this:

      “Duane and his followers have long demanded universal, single payer HC for all Americans and that single payer is the federal government.”

      Have they now? I know I haven’t, in fact I have been vocally opposed to it, even before single payer’s humiliating collapse in Vermont (Bernie’s own state). You are painting the liberals here as unconcerned about cost and practicality of single payer, which I think falls in the category of “projection”. It’s the Republican Party that has been putting ideology first since the Reagan era.

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  2. ansonburlingame

     /  March 15, 2017

    Just as the GOP is not “my party” there are liberals, even flamethrowers that seem to agree universal, single payer HC is a worthy goal but one that can never be achieved at least that would be acceptable of a vast majority (60%-70%) of all Americans AND one that would be financially sustainable over the decades to come.

    I go back to discussions (arguments) herein in 2009 when Duane and others (Jim Wheeler for one) advocated just that instead of ACA but were willing, in the end to settle for ACA. I suspect, but don’t know for sure they still feel that way. But if they now agree that universal, single payer will never be achieved in America, at least for decades to come, then so state it and we can then move to more pragmatic debate for a better HC plan.

    Anson

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