Pelosi Drops Bombs: 'Medicare for All' Would Be Worse Than the Current System -- Plus, 'How Do You Pay For That'?

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Posted: Mar 12, 2019 1:05 PM
Pelosi Drops Bombs: 'Medicare for All' Would Be Worse Than the Current System -- Plus, 'How Do You Pay For That'?

First, she douses progressives' impeachment dreams in cold water, telling the Washington Post that such a divisive and drastic political step should only be taken over egregious criminality that's "compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan."  She cagily adds, "he's just not worth it," a personal swipe at the president, likely deployed to placate Trump haters who will bristle at her stance.  Insulting him is a little wink that she's still 'on the team.'  But even if the hard-Left wing of the party is willing to forgive Pelosi's hesitant posture on impeachment, how might they react to her intense fiscal skepticism on 'Medicare for All' -- the holy grail of the statist agenda?  Via Rolling Stone:

When they say Medicare for All, people have to understand this: Medicare for All is not as good a benefit as the Affordable Care Act. It doesn’t have catastrophic [coverage] — you have to go buy it. It doesn’t have dental. It’s not as good as the plans that you can buy under the Affordable Care Act. So I say to them, come in with your ideas, but understand that we’re either gonna have to improve Medicare — for all, including seniors — or else people are not gonna get what they think they’re gonna get. And by the way, how’s it gonna be paid for?  Now, single-payer is a different thing. People use the terms interchangeably. Sometimes it could be the same thing, but it’s not always. Single-payer is just about who pays. It’s not about what the benefits are. That is, administratively, the simplest thing to do, but to convert to it? Thirty trillion dollars. Now, how do you pay for that? So I said, “Look, just put them all on the table, and let’s have the discussion, and let people see what it is. But know what it is that you’re talking about.” All I want is the goal of every American having access to health care. You don’t get there by dismantling the Affordable Care Act.

These strike me as hugely consequential quotes, given the source.  Both Bernie Sanders' and House Democrats' bills would repeal virtually the entire existing American system, including Obamacare, and replace it with a massively expensive government-run program. Pelosi attempts to draw a distinction between "Medicare for All" and "single payer," but they're different terms for the same concept. And she's quite obviously worried about paying for said concept, asking twice how it would be funded. She knows the answer: Shocking, across-the-board tax increases, all in pursuit of a system that she is actively arguing would be worse than current policy.  May I remind you, this is Nancy Pelosi making these arguments, not some right-winger.  It's clear that the Speaker is not interested in parroting certain presidential candidates' breezy talking points about "costs" being irrelevant due to "return on investment," or whatever.  Money and debt are real.

Senate Republicans are also highlighting quotes from other significant Democrats dismissing single-payer as unrealistically expensive, including the chairwoman of the DCCC, who calls the $33 trillion price tag "a little scary."  Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who just decided to forego a 2020 run, says the proposal would "bankrupt us for a very long time."  Perhaps most devastatingly, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called the idea insane, telling legislators that passing single-payer in his state would "double everybody's taxes:"

I ask Cuomo, if he sees himself as the model for the country, how progressive he is prepared to go. “Single payer. Okay. Pass it. I’ll sign it. You pass it, I’ll sign it,” Cuomo says. But … would he want to sign it? “No, but no sane person will pass it,” he says. So he’s daring the legislature to pass it? “Oh no. If they pass it, I’ll sign it,” he says. Even though he thinks it’ll blow up the state budget? “Yeah, well, you’d double everybody’s taxes. You want to do that? Let’s go,” he says. “They can never pass it. But I have no problem with the dare. Every union is against it. The hospitals are against it. The Civil Service Employees Association is against it. The 1199 health-care union is against it.

Damn.  The party's base is dead set on a policy that is fiscally untenable.  Some Democratic politicians understand this, others do not, and still others are aware of the math, but are still willing to pander for votes by peddling delusions.  These factions are on a collision course; it'll be fascinating to watch.  Speaking of internal tensions, following the AOC/Omar contingent flexing its muscles and embarrassing leadership on the 'anti-hate' resolution battle, it sounds like Steny Hoyer is growing a bit impatient with the new kids on the block:


Double damn. And USA Today discovers that he's hardly alone: 

Some moderates say that the approach Ocasio-Cortez has taken on these topics has been unrealistic and it has left little room for the bipartisan compromise they promised voters during midterm campaigns. They are also irritated at Ocasio-Cortez’s willingness to use her personal platform – nearly 3.5 million followers on Twitter and a nationwide following – to go after members of her own party. Even House progressives who like her policies don’t know what to make of her approach.

I'll leave you with the latest mathematical reminder that additional tax-the-rich schemes (wealthy Americans already pay more than their fair share) will not come close to financing the left-wing's policy agenda.