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Hillary’s Pivot Left on Healthcare

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Is Hillary Clinton really moving to the left on healthcare, as the NY Times and many others have asserted, pushed by continued pressure from Bernie Sanders to endorse the public option? It is a strange claim. First of all, her campaign’s explicit support of the Public Option goes back to at least February, when her site was updated with language backing it, and which seems essentially identical to the language the campaign uses today.  She hasn’t moved left in the last three months due to the lingering strength of the Sanders campaign.
Has she changed at all from previous years? There isn’t any indication of that, either. If anything, her plans today are scaled back from her 2008 presidential campaign, in which the public option, based on Medicare, figured prominently.
Her support of the public option in 2016 is cautious, burned by past failures and acutely conscious of the need for a sympathetic Congress to pass meaningful legislation. She does not say today that she would seek new legislation to enable a public option, leaving it implicit that with a Democratic congress she would test the waters and jump if the opportunity arises. Instead, what she does promise is that she will “work with interested governors, using current flexibility under the Affordable Care Act, to empower states to establish a public option choice.” In other words, leave it up to the states to decide under existing law. So a state like Vermont would be likely to adopt it, but a state like Alabama wouldn’t. In other words, the states that would benefit most would be least likely to take advantage of the opportunity, if history is any guide.
This does not sound like a move to the left under pressure, but an acknowledgement of desires long present. This is a more subdued, perhaps wiser, expression of the ideal of universal coverage within the the constraints of political reality, and Bernie has little or nothing to do with it.

 

 

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Keith McCallinBobbyGvegasBarry CarolaarongSteven Findlay Recent comment authors
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Keith McCallin
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Keith McCallin

There is good logical in this piece, but: Remarkable it is how, in 2016, the issue of single payer continues to be couched in left versus right terms. At best that perspective is anachronisitic, but even in its heyday it lacked validity as it was nothing more than a component of a PR campaign more than a half century ago. Between the Whitaker-Baxter campaign of 1948 and now, count the number of times the left and the right turned 180s on the issue of healthcare. Also, one of the more cogent arguments for single payer financing of health care is… Read more »

Barry Carol
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Barry Carol

The rub for a public option is the premium and how to finance it when Medicare is already financially precarious. Liberals say a public option, which presumably would pay providers at Medicare rates, plus the fact that it’s administrative costs are low and it doesn’t have to make a profit suggests it should be able to sell health insurance policies at lower cost than private insurers can. However, what happens if the public option is subject to significant adverse selection which is highly likely? Average costs per person could easily turn out to be far higher than liberals contemplate. If… Read more »

BobbyGvegas
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“Free Market.” Problem solved. Everyone just move along, nothing more to see here.

Keith McCallin
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Keith McCallin

“Free market” as a fix for our healthcare woes? Theoretically, it is difficult not to wholeheartedly agree with this because inherent in it is a mechanism that contains cost. Love that. But as a fix in 2016 the idea has all the umph of a Ludditian grand plan for reform. As some model for primary care? The idea has some merit. But, in the context of an ATV roll-over accident where you can’t take your eyes off just how dented the head is except to look at the mid-shaft femur fracture where the splintered ends point >90 degrees out beyond… Read more »

BobbyGvegas
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It was snark, Keith. There’s no such thing as a “free market.” Only an endless onslaught of No True Scotsman moving-target fallacy definitions of “free market.” “Private Market” is not an automatic synonym phrase equating to “Free Market.”

Keith McCallin
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Keith McCallin

Bobby:
Apologies! I’m new to THCB and, add to that, those I crossed paths with were the Northern Callifornia State of Jefferson folks and they threw “free market” around with impressive intensity…

aarong
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For months during the Democratic presidential nominating contest, Hillary Clinton has resisted calls from Senator Bernie Sanders to back a single-payer health system, arguing that the fight for government-run health care was a wrenching legislative battle that had already been lost.

But as she tries to clinch the nomination, Mrs. Clinton is moving to the left on health care and this week took a significant step in her opponent’s direction, suggesting she would like to give people the option to buy into Medicare. but that’s all to it. Its all for winning the campaign.

Steven Findlay
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Steven Findlay

There’s potential for confusion here. Hillary’s purported “shift to the left” widely reported in the news this week centers on her comments at a campaign even in Virginia about allowing people over age 50 or 55 and up to buy into Medicare. Hillary has toyed with this idea before, as have many Democrats (including her husband) over the past 20 years. The words “public option” in recent years refer more often to a government sponsored health plan being offered in the insurance exchanges, to compete with commercial plans. That was bitterly fought over in the run-up to passage of the… Read more »

William Palmer MD
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William Palmer MD

I wish we could try a public option at a state or county level first and not the full Monte. Think of the number of stakeholders that will be put out of work! Think of an agency controlling 17-19% of the GDP. You cannot really want this. Read about the TSI and Midway Airport today. Healthcare dilemmas are going on all over the world. No one has magic answers. We may have to live with, and accept, a mess for awhile. If we became a single payer ‘Sweden’ with their management, drug, labor and professional costs, it is one thing,… Read more »

Keith McCallin
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Keith McCallin

Is not ColoradoCare, which Colorado is going to vote on in November, the experiment your looking for?