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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Schumer: Let's Drop The Fiction That Single-Payer Is Not On The Table; It's On The Table

Matt Vespa

Well, if you noticed that there’s no hard push for single-payer health care in the Democrats’ Better Deal agenda, which was meant to be the first salvo in the effort to reshape the party’s messaging, you’re not alone. Of course, the left wing base of the party will cry foul, but Schumer said on Sunday’s episode of ABC News’ This Week that because the party has spoken about health care so much, it wouldn’t be part of this agenda. I don’t know how that is going to fly, but Schumer seems to know that this is a hot button issue for a large chunk of the party, hence the reason why he said that it’s going to be considered. He promised that “week after week, month after month” the Democrats are going to be unveiling new initiatives to help working people.

CHUCK SCHUMER: So we're going to go after that and that will help the average person lower their costs.

And, finally, we're going to have, tomorrow, a very novel idea of how to create 10 million jobs. There are 10 million Americans looking for good-paying jobs. We're going to show them how to find them.

And that's just the beginning. Week after week, month after month, we're going to roll out specific pieces here, that are quite different than the Democratic Party you heard in the past. We were too cautious. We were too namby-pamby.

This is sharp, bold, and will appeal...


SCHUMER: -- to both the old Obama coalition, let's say, the young lady who's just getting out of college, and the Democratic voters who deserted us for Trump, the blue collar workers...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Some may wonder...

SCHUMER: -- economics, George, is our strength...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Some may wonder if...

SCHUMER: -- and we are going to go at it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: -- it's going to be bold enough. I mean even your New York colleague, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, talking about health care, says if you really want to get prices down, you have to go to single payer health care.

Will Democrats unify behind single payer health care?

SCHUMER: Well, our economic agenda -- we've talked so much about health care that we are not going to address that in this agenda.

We've been talking about it. And let me just say, the first thing we're going to do should -- first, I think that this -- the TrumpCare will not pass. It just is...

STEPHANOPOULOS: You think it's dead?

SCHUMER: I think it's very unlikely to pass, because it's rotten to the core. People are not for reducing taxes on rich people or getting rid of Medicaid, which is a very, very middle class, now, thing, as well as for poor people.

So the first things we're going to propose -- if the Republican -- and the Republicans hopefully will join us, once they abandon this rotten bill, is some cost-sharing, which the insurance companies say will help bring down premiums and stabilize the market, something else that Republicans have often supported, which is reinsurance, proposed by Tom Carper and Tim Kaine.

And Claire McCaskill has proposed something in the bare counties, B-A-R-E -- you can -- if you can't get insurance in those counties, you can get the same kind of health insurance we get.

Then we're going to look at broader things -- single payer is one of them...


SCHUMER: -- Medicare...

STEPHANOPOULOS: -- on the table?

SCHUMER: -- well, a -- sure. Many things are on the table. Medicare for people above 55 is on the table. A buy-in to Medicare is on the table. A buy-in to Medicaid is on the table.

On the broader issues, we will start examining them once we stabilize the system.

And our Republican colleagues have said should -- even Mitch McConnell alluded to the fact that should their bill fail, they'll work with us these first stabilization things.

Then Democrats and Republicans, who will have different ideas, should sit down and talk about how we can improve the system. And the one thing we insist on, we not do what they did, which is just 10 Republicans, four Republicans in a room, not even including us. Regular order -- hearings, committees, go through the process.

But on this agenda, we are going to really shake things up and we're going to fill the vacuum that Donald Trump left when he campaigned on some of the things like this and then abandoned them for the hard right Koch brothers.

Yeah, well, the Koch Brothers are not hard right, they’re socially liberal, pro-criminal justice reform, pro-choice, and pro-gay marriage. Second, the unveiling of this new agenda was rather lackluster, with a slogan that was mocked by virtually everyone, even former communications staffers for the Obama and Clinton campaigns. Democrats called these working class voters, by and large, deplorable during the 2016 election. Now, they’re trying to say that they’re their best political friends because they need white working class voters to lead them out of the political wilderness. Also, let’s not forget that even The Washington Postnoted single-payer’s astronomical costs, while adding that Americans are not going to accept the tradeoff of higher taxes and reduced access to care to keep costs down. Still, the party leaders need to keep this left wing item alive since California Democrats tabled a single-payer initiative of their own, only to feel the wrath of the progressive base that had some hurling death threats at the legislators. The bill had a $400 billion price tag and no mechanisms in the legislation to fund it. Yet, even with these facts, more Americans seem to be gravitating towardsthis policy item. 

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