Health

Point/Counterpoint on Medicare-for-All: @Doc argues with himself

There’s been a lot of attention in recent days about the “Medicare-for-All” bill introduced by Bernie Sanders, and the reaction I’m seeing on social media is interesting.

Point-CounterpointPeople keep posting notes wanting me to tell my Dem Congressperson to support the bill. They want me to encourage Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to support the bill. Tell this Dem to support the bill, tell that Dem to support the bill.

I found myself in a pointed argument with myself about the Sanders bill this morning. Here’s the transcript.

Point: @Doc

You dumbasses realize that there are still Republicans in Washington, right? And that one of them is president, and that a bunch more hold voting majorities in both houses on Capitol Hill? And that every single Democrat could light his/her hair on fire in support of the bill and it wouldn’t matter because no Republican will vote for such a measure even if Jesus shows up and tells them to?

You want Medicare for everybody? You’re going to need the White House, the Senate and Congress. And probably the Supreme Court, too, because if the law passes there will without question be some sort of ginned-up legal challenge funded by the people who brought you $400 aspirin on your last hospital stay.

So maybe that’s a better place to focus your energy.

Counterpoint: @Doc

Sam, you ignorant slut. Bernie Sanders knows full well his bill has no chance. Not in this Congressional session, at least. His bill isn’t about now, it’s about the future, in two ways.

First, it paves the way. It gets the conversation on the radar. Thanks to him, this will be a talking point from now until a single-payor measure becomes law. And the more people talk about it, the more normal it becomes to talk about it, and the less radical the idea seems. This is especially true since it doesn’t propose a new program. It merely seeks to expand a program that everyone knows, that every family in America already relies on or eventually will, and that we know works. It’s by far the most efficient healthcare delivery system we have, and this all makes it a far easier path to tread, legislatively speaking, than some hypothetical new BernieCare system.

Second, what Bernie is doing is a clever political ploy. At this point, it’s less about the law and more about picking teams. The bill, and the activity you see on social media, is all about forcing Democratic reps to get on board. A bright light will be shone on those who refuse, and that allows us to focus laser-like on making clear they need to get on the bus or we’ll find someone else who will.

In other words, this is a wedge bill aimed at strengthening the hand of the party’s progressive wing.

So pay attention and start contacting Congresspeople like your Facebook friends tell you to.

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