Warren’s Health Care Hurdles

It strikes me that Liz Warren is hitting more hurdles and tripwires than the other front runners, Biden and Sanders. It’s remarkable that she’s doing as well as she is.

For example, from the beginning of her campaign she made it clear she was committed to some kind of universal health care program. Although she signed on to Bernie Sanders’s Medicare for All plan early on, for a while she tried to maintain a position of openness to other possible plans. And I think that would have been a good general election position, but the activist base wouldn’t let her do that. There was widespread grumbling that maybe she wasn’t really committed to universal healthcare.

And then when she did commit to a specific plan, she was put on the spot about raising taxes to pay for it. As David Atkins said, “how will you pay for it?” is the new “but her emails.” He writes,

…an enormous amount of the media debate in the 2020 election will focus on how the Democratic nominee intends to pay for priorities like healthcare and climate change mitigation. Even as the Republicans blow ever-bigger holes in the national budget without the slightest concern for how they will be paid for.

Bernie went ahead and bit the raising taxes bullet. From the most recent debate:

SANDERS: Well, as somebody who wrote the damn bill, as I said, let’s be clear. Under the Medicare for all bill that I wrote, premiums are gone. Co-payments are gone. Deductibles are gone. All out-of-pocket expenses are gone. We’re going to do better than the Canadians do, and that is what they have managed to do.

At the end of the day, the overwhelming majority of people will save money on their health care bills. But I do think it is appropriate to acknowledge that taxes will go up. They’re going to go up significantly for the wealthy. And for virtually everybody, the tax increase they pay will be substantially less — substantially less than what they were paying for premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.

I think that was a good answer. He’s not going to be leaned on as much during the primaries, but of course this might bite him in a general election campaign. He’s going to raise taxes!  Oh noes! 

And then there’s Joe Biden, who mostly wants to build on Obamacare. If you saw Kate McKinnon play Warren in last night’s SNL cold open, you’ll remember the line — “My plan compares favorably in that it exists. Nobody asks Biden how to pay for stuff because his plans are so vague. No one asks how we’re going to pay for ‘Remember Obama.’”

So now Warren has released a Medicare for All plan that would not require raising taxes on the middle class. Paul Krugman called it a serious plan.

Warren needed to show that she was working the problem. And she did. She brought in real experts like Donald Berwick, who ran Medicare during the Obama years, and Betsey Stevenson, former chief economist at the Labor Department. And they have produced a serious plan. As I said, experts will argue with the numbers, but this is the real thing — not some left-leaning version of voodoo economics.

Naturally there were some progressive activists who threw a fit because Warren consulted people who had worked for the Obama administration. This was seen as evidence of her lack of committment to progressivism. I swear, lefties can be their own worst enemies.

Now, anyone who’s been around the block a couple of times knows that, even if Warren becomes president, the health care plan that finally makes its way through Congress is likely to be considerably different from whatever she’s proposing now. I’m not sure we’re helping ourselves by making our candidates commit to very specific plans rather than just to more general principles.

Certainly Republican candidates never have to come up with specific plans. They promise the moon, and when elected they cut taxes. And when the tax cuts don’t deliver anything for anybody who wasn’t already wealthy, they blame Democrats. Their base never catches on, and reporters don’t hold their feet to the fire. But Democrats can’t get away with that.

9 thoughts on “Warren’s Health Care Hurdles

  1. Yeah, maha, sometimes I feel like the Liberal Puritans are just as bad as the "Christan" ones in our early American history.

    And I also agree that I'd prefer a vague health care plan from our candidates rather than a specific one.  Something along the lines of, "My health care plan would COVER EVERYONE WITH NO INCREASES for anyone who earns less than (Pick the income level: $__________).  How will I be able to accomplish this?  I'd tax the rich and corporations, AND REPURPOSE THE AMOUNT THAT EVERYONE ALREADY PAYS for their health care!"  (Raise my hands to cheers from the crowd!!!!).

    While SPW is running a great campaign (so far), she decided to get specific.  I believe it's because the other D candidates (and the Republicans and our MSM asked), "Yeah.  OK.  Ya gotta plan for everything.  But how ya gonna pay for THIS? !?"

    And now I get the feeling that she's painted herself into a corner. 

    And there's nothing more dangerous than political ratfucker's who've already painted themselves into a corner of their own making, jumping at the chance to viciously attack a non-ratfucker in an opposite corner!

    OY!

    All we'll hear from now on, regardless of which plan(s) the Democratic candidates propose, is, "COMMUNISISM!  SOCIALISM!! FASCISM!!! ISLA-MOOZLANISM!!!!"

     Oy…

     

     

     

  2. Healthcare smealthcare. None of it would be enacted. Waste of oxygen.

    And of course the double standard is alive and well. R s do nothing but deregulate and cut taxes on the rich. Dems get held accountable for every thought much less every result.

  3. Liz had to respond.  Otherwise, Trump, Biden and everyone else can make up whatever they want about the cost. Other countries DO make universal health care work. Maha is right – what Congress might pass won't be what Liz proposed. That doesn't matter. Liz had to propose a reasonable plan that added up. She did. 

    The Democrats are building a platform around universal health care. Trump has a history now, of trying to tear down Obamacare and he's proposed NOTHING to replace it. For Bernie and Liz, a better plan than Obamacare is convincing to a lot more people than the Biden proposal of trying to keep Obamcare afloat.

    Trump's going to pull a Nixon – who had a secret peace plan with N. Vietnam. (History has shown Nixon that Nixon sabotaged the peace process to get elected.) But I digress. Trump will run on a 'secret health care plan' which will have details right after the election. Should be interesting to see how many buy that snake oil.

  4. Why can they just not say the words.   Money and Medicine like water and oil do not mix.  Health care is your job.  Trick or treatment is their job.  If you quit the dishonesty we can get this to happen.  Even the greatest medical professional can't look me in the eye and tell me if I follow all of their foolish advice I will be immortal.  They know that their cells are failing to replicate as well as they used to too, just like mine.

  5. Correction: used to… or probably better…as they once did.  But I am working on replacement cells as close to as old as the one's Trump is totally  failing with.   and I am blessed that I know when I am in error and know how to admit a mistake.  Pity the lesser blessed but remove him.  

  6. It can be done. It's more a matter of setting our priorities. Don't get bogged down trying to resolve every possible problem before it even gets off the drawing board. If other countries can do it, then we can do it better.

     They did the same thing with Sanders' vision of providing  higher educational opportunities for the masses.. They made it sound like everybody gets a free pony and a PhD when what he was proposing the availability of opportunity to those who would take advantage of it. An investment in our greatest asset— our people.

     It kinda reminds me of a story my friend Vasilly told me once. Vasilly was from Greece and he was explaining to me how he viewed the Greek culture in their caring and advancing for one another.

    In the form of a vision he was taken to a place where he could view all the nations of the world. Each nation's populations were held captive inside these huge pits with a grate placed over the tops of each pit. As he walked around looking at all the nations separated in their individual pits he noticed that one pit filled with people didn't have a grate covering it. He asked the warden why that particular pit didn't have a grate covering it. The warden replied..Oh, that pit! That's the Greeks. The reason why there is no grate on that pit to hold them captive is because every time one of them tries to climb out of the pit,the others in the pit just pull them back into captivity. They serve as their own jailers.

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  7. Warren has come up with something that seems specific and allows her to say she won't raise taxes on anyone but corporations and the rich. That should work well enough for the Democratic primaries.

    Contrary to intuition, most Americans are satisfied with their coverage:

    https://news.gallup.com/poll/245195/americans-rate-healthcare-quite-positively.aspx

    But the politics split several ways:

    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/real_clear_opinion_research/new_poll_shows_health_care_is_voters_top_concern.html

    Needle-threading will no doubt continue at least to the end of the primaries.

     

  8. Pingback: No Warren Did Not Abandon Medicare for All | The Mahablog

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