Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
Everyone knows that politics is a daisy chain of bullshit and saving face. You bullshit your head off to get elected, then, when things don’t pan out the way you promised, you start doing things to make yourself look better. Saving face.
The GOP got itself into quite the poop pond with its revulsion for Obamacare, beginning with the refusal to call it by its real name, the Affordable Care Act. This stance was really a stand-in for revulsion for Obama himself, for reasons that can be debated till Jared Kushner goes to jail, but the practical impact is that the guttural reaction to health care reform (if accomplished by Democrats) forced the party into an impossible position. Repeal and Replace. They forgot to factor in that they have a wing of extremists that is insane. Actually it’s more than a wing. All but three GOP senators voted for the last abominable attempt.
But here comes good ol’ Bernie Sanders with the solution. Medicare For All. Repackage it as Repeal and Replace, you’ve got a bill that members of both parties can vote for proudly.
Since the Republicans never did specify what they’d replace the ACA with, they can do this with a completely straight face. We’re living up to our campaign promise! We’ve repealed Obamacare and replaced it. Now what? How ’bout tax reform.
With Medicare For All on the books, they can pay for it by having the wealthy pay the Medicare payroll deduction on every dollar they earn. No caps. The extra money will subsidize the contributions of poorer Americans, some of whom might be having to pay insurance premiums for the first time (if their employers had covered the full cost under the old system). If there’s any left over – and there should be because the top 1% is stinking rich! – you can think about paying providers more than Medicare currently pays, thus eliminating the criticism that private insurers are better for the business of health care. It doesn’t have to be that way. Oh, and to head the wealthy off at the pass, we’ll institute a financial transaction tax so they can’t avoid the Medicare deduction by taking compensation in stock options. They’ll pay their fair share, baby!
Trump seems almost persuasible on this front. He’s caved on DACA, right? He’s declaring victory on the wall and claiming that it already exists, sort of, so no need to fund it after all. Imagine if he can stand up at one of his rallies in 2018 and say, “I told you I’d repeal and replace Obamacare! That monstrosity is gone for good. And what did I give you, you beautiful Americans? Universal coverage! And it’s not tied to your job, so you don’t have to worry anymore about losing your insurance. I’m great!”
And I’d give him bragging rights if he did that. If he got behind Medicare For All because it’s the obvious answer to our health care crisis, I’d have to hand it to the big orange lug. He saw the light.
So spread the word. Get the mantra going: Medicare For All = Repeal and Replace.
(And don’t wake me up. I’m liking this dream too much …)