Monday, January 18, 2016

qotd: What would Martin Luther King, Jr. say?

The New York Times
January 17, 2016
Transcript of the Democratic Presidential Debate

(The debate is sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus Institute)

Brief excerpts

Hillary Clinton: We finally have a path to universal health care. We
have accomplished so much already. I do not to want see the Republicans
repeal it, and I don't to want see us start over again with a
contentious debate. I want us to defend and build on the Affordable Care
Act and improve it.

Bernie Sanders: No one is tearing this up, we're going to go forward.
But with the secretary neglected to mention, not just the 29 million
still have no health insurance, that even more are underinsured with
huge copayments and deductibles. Tell me why we are spending almost
three times more than the British, who guarantee health care to all of
their people? Fifty percent more than the French, more than the
Canadians. The vision from FDR and Harry Truman was health care for all
people as a right in a cost-effective way.

Bernie Sanders: What this is really about is not the rational way to go
forward — it's Medicare for all — it is whether we have the guts to
stand up to the private insurance companies and all of their money, and
the pharmaceutical industry. That's what this debate should be about.

Hillary Clinton: So, what I'm saying is really simple. This has been
the fight of the Democratic Party for decades. We have the Affordable
Care Act. Let's make it work.


The New York Times
January 18, 2016
Health Reform Realities
By Paul Krugman

Obamacare is… what engineers would call a kludge: a somewhat awkward,
clumsy device with lots of moving parts. This makes it more expensive
than it should be, and will probably always cause a significant number
of people to fall through the cracks.

The question for progressives — a question that is now central to the
Democratic primary — is whether these failings mean that they should
re-litigate their own biggest political success in almost half a
century, and try for something better.

My answer, as you might guess, is that they shouldn't, that they should
seek incremental change on health care (Bring back the public option!)
and focus their main efforts on other issues — that is, that Bernie
Sanders is wrong about this and Hillary Clinton is right.

… as the health policy expert Harold Pollack points out, is that a
simple, straightforward single-payer system just isn't going to happen.


January 16, 2016
Here's why creating single-payer health care in America is so hard
By Harold Pollack

The experience of peer industrial democracies suggests that a
well-designed single-payer system would be more humane and markedly less
expensive than what we have right now.

Passing a single-payer plan requires precisely the same interest-group
bargaining and logrolling required to pass the ACA. The resulting
policies will thus replicate some of the very same scars, defects, and
kludge that bedevil the ACA.

Progressives should still push for basic reforms that improve our
current system. I supported the public option in 2009. I still do. I
hope it resurfaces in some form, particularly for older participants in
the state marketplaces . It may open a pathway to a true single-payer.
If it doesn't — which I suspect it will not — it might still provide a
valuable alternative and source of pricing discipline within our
pathological health care market.


January 17, 2016
Bernie Sanders's single-payer plan isn't a plan at all
By Ezra Klein

Sanders calls his plan Medicare-for-All. But it actually has nothing to
do with Medicare. He's not simply expanding Medicare coverage to the
broader population — he makes that clear when he says his plan means "no
more copays, no more deductibles"; Medicare includes copays and
deductibles. The list of what Sanders's plan would cover far exceeds
what Medicare offers, suggesting, more or less, that pretty much
everything will be covered, under all circumstances.

Behind Sanders's calculations, both for how much his plan will cost and
how much Americans will benefit, lurk extremely optimistic promises
about how much money single-payer will save. And those promises can only
come true if the government starts saying no quite a lot — in ways that
will make people very, very angry.

This is what Republicans fear liberals truly believe: that they can
deliver expansive, unlimited benefits to the vast majority of Americans
by stacking increasingly implausible, and economically harmful, taxes on
the rich. Sanders is proving them right.


Why We Can't Wait
By Martin Luther King, Jr.

"For years now, I have heard the word 'Wait!' It rings in the ear of
every Negro with piercing familiarity. This 'Wait' has almost always
meant 'Never.' We must come to see, with one of our distinguished
jurists, that 'justice too long delayed is justice denied.'"


Comment by Don McCanne

Martin Luther King, Jr. already said it, and that was half a century ago.

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