The Trickle Down is Salute Magazine‘s weekly column by Political Writer Amanda Godula. The Trickle Down is a weekly look into what’s need-to-know, fresh takes on trends, and the inevitable controversies from the political arena. Let’s dig in and see what’s happening this week.
An Independent is leading the Democrats to health care solutions.
Hillary Clinton said single payer healthcare is an “idea that will never, ever come to pass”. A single payer amendment was introduced by a Republican, but no one voted for it. Yet, the longtime Bernie platform is gaining traction in Congress.
Single payer is when “all residents of the U.S. would be covered for all medically necessary services, including doctor, hospital, preventive, long-term care, mental health, reproductive health care, dental, vision, prescription drug and medical supply costs”. Or as Bernie Sanders (I-VT) put it, “Medicare for all” like many industrialized countries are. The legislation aims at providing a less complicated means for those with insurance, while providing insurance to the nearly 30 million uninsured.
Republicans have tried to repeal Obamacare more than 50 times but failed. July’s attempt at a skinny repeal ended in a similar fate. Since the repeal efforts, Obamacare’s popularity has been rising to a majority in favor. However, with a Republican lead House and Senate, Obamacare’s future is questionable. Does that make room for single payer?
Since Republicans are at an impasse with health care legislation, the Medicare for All could be the Obamacare alternative America needs.
In December 2016, right before President Donald Trump assumed office, a Gallup poll showed that a slight majority of Americans think health care is a responsibility of the government. That majority is growing and the popularity of a single payer is now in the majority. An August Quinnipiac poll has voters saying a single payer system would be preferable to our current system. Politicians are taking notice.
Democrats are flocking to the very socialist-left single payer plan. Democratic favorites like Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) have signed as co-sponsors with 12 other Democrats to a Sanders Medicare for All bill.
“Health care should be a right, not a privilege, so I will be joining Senator Bernie Sanders as a cosponsor on his Medicare-for-All legislation,” Gillibrand said.
Republicans are taking notice too.
“My guess is that this has a lot to do with the makeup of the Democrat caucus and the number of individual senators who are thinking about running for president,” Republican Senator from Kansas Jerry Moran said.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) released a competing plan to repeal Obamacare nearly at the same time as Sanders’s single payer plan, but didn’t receive the same press. Graham is urging Republicans to stick with the health care fight.
“To my Republican colleagues, don’t let the health care debate die. Don’t leave the field with your tail between your legs. Keep fighting.”
But, the Republicans are losing the health care debate. A Monmouth University poll from July is tracking the low confidence in GOP plans and ability to fix health care.
“The Republican base does not express overwhelming confidence in how their party’s leadership is handling health care reform. There has been a drop in support since passage of the House bill two months ago, which partly explains why the new bill is on life support just days after it was introduced,” Director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute Patrick Murray said.
This could mean that health care could be what makes a rising star within the Democratic party. Ironically, it’s a plan laid out by an Independent.
The notable shift left could signal that Democrats are not looking to compromise, but looking to lead on platforms. Single payer could be the strong arm legislation to make conservative compromise.
Sanders is making a compelling argument and offering real solution.
“Right now, if we want to move away from a dysfunctional, wasteful, bureaucratic system into a rational health-care system that guarantees coverage to everyone in a cost-effective way, the only way to do it is Medicare for All.”