Krystal Ball debunks attacks on 'Medicare for All'

Opinion by: Krystal Ball

It’s just about time for another democratic debate, and you know what that means folks! Time to roll out more industry approved medicare for all smears. Take it away former Chicago mayor and current wall street investment banker Rahm Emmanuel: 

"We've taken a position so far -- and the candidates have -- on basically Medicare for All which is we're going to eliminate 150 million people's health care and we're going to provide health care for people who just come over the border. That is an untenable position for the general election." 

This statement is so wrong on so many levels. First of all, this is a classic example of the Clinton model of doing business. Rather than start from what’s right and just they start from what do people want to hear. This is all allegedly done in the service of winning but the problem is, while we were so focused on doing all that winning at the expense of our principles we ended up doing a whole lot of losing. 1000 state legislative seats, governors mansions, the house the senate then the white house and well pretty much all of rural America, the very place democratic centrism was supposed to be most appealing! Yes, health care is an election issue. It’s also a moral imperative especially in a wealthy nation.

Second of all, is there some rule banning medicare for all supporters from the Sunday shows? Its one of the most popular policy proposals out there with real support across party lines but you wouldn’t know it if you were just listening to Chris Christie, Rahm Emmanuel, Rich Lowry any of the other center right or neo-liberal guests, protectors of the status quo, that these shows love to book.

But most importantly, let’s get into the meat of Emmanuel’s tired talking point. This line about democrats taking away the health insurance of 150 million Americans and giving it to immigrants. Now the thing about medicare for all is that well, it’s for all. Kind of hard to get mad at those mean immigrants for getting all the healthcare when you are also getting that very same healthcare.

But the other thing is, guaranteeing that everyone in America has quality healthcare without being financially destroyed, is not remotely equivalent to eliminating health insurance for 150 million people. It is utterly absurd to imagine that people are in love with their current health insurers, and that the current system is in any way defensible.

For example, let’s take a look at a news item from just this week about our awesome healthcare system. Here’s the Washington Post:

 “Over six years ending in June 2018, the University of Virginia health system and its doctors sued former patients more than 36,000 times for over $106 million, seizing wages and bank accounts, putting liens on property and homes and forcing families into bankruptcy, a kaiser health news analysis has found.”

36,000 times! The post goes on to report how uva health system routinely garnished the paychecks of low-wage Walmart workers pushing many families into financial oblivion, literally destroying their lives. All because these individuals had the audacity to get sick. Think about that, your life destroyed, home foreclosed on, marriage ruined due to financial stress, all because you got sick. It is truly barbaric. By the way, UVA is non-profit meaning that our taxpayer dollars are going directly to subsidize this monstrous and cruel practice.

So when you hear these lies about how we can’t possibly change our health care system because it would be electoral disaster, kindly remind people that we already have a moral and ethical disaster on our hands. Oh and also, medicare for all is supported by a clear majority of voters even when you explain that that means a diminished role of private insurance, so you can just stop with the scare tactics about how it will cause trump’s reelection.

I know that we are supposed to believe that once voters learn the truth about medicare for all they are going to suddenly turn on it but it’s not like the scary industry talking points are a secret. Negative attacks on medicare for all are constantly trotted out on the Sunday shows and cable news, fixated on at every debate, the president trashed m4a in a big op-ed and the industry is literally already running tv ads to try to stop medicare for all’s momentum. Americans have heard all about the horrors of not bankrupting Americans, not garnishing their wages, and not putting liens on their homes. Turns out that maintaining the status quo is far scarier than anything that Rahm Emmanuel, Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpRussian sanctions will boomerang States, cities rethink tax incentives after Amazon HQ2 backlash A Presidents Day perspective on the nature of a free press MORE, or the Dem debate moderators can conjure up.