Universal Coverage

*("major" is obviously a subjective term depending on who's using it.)

Until this weekend, "Medicare for All or Bust" seemed to be the most critical litmus test for any major 2020 Democratic Presidential candidate. No fewer than sixteen Democratic Senators co-sponsored Bernie Sanders' S.1804 "Medicare for All" single payer bill in September 2017, including five of the six U.S. Senators currently running for the 2020 nomination: Sanders himself, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren (the only Senator running who didn't cosponsor the bill was Amy Klobuchar.)

Recently, however, there have been a few interesting developments along the "Where do the Dem candidates stand on healthcare policy" front:

 

via Clarisse Loughrey of The Independent:

Early concept art has revealed a very different look for Toy Story's dynamic duo, Woody and Buzz Lightyear.

Pixar's first feature started life as a full-length take on their short Tin Story, which saw a mechanical drummer attempting to navigate his way through a baby's playroom. The drummer was soon ditched for a more glamorously conceived "space toy" named Lunar Larry, later renamed Buzz Lightyear in honour of famed astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin.

The original concept pitched its drummer against an antagonistic ventriloquist's dummy, who gradually evolved into a pull-string cowboy doll named Woody, inspired by Western actor Woody Strode.

Yes, Woody was originally the bad guy; though his character didn't prove popular with his voice actor Tom Hanks, who reportedly shouted "This guy is a jerk!" while recording lines for the story reel.

In U.S. politics, the Hyde Amendment is a legislative provision barring the use of federal funds to pay for abortion except to save the life of the woman, or if the pregnancy arises from incest or rape. Legislation, including the Hyde Amendment, generally restricts the use of funds allocated for the Department of Health and Human Services and consequently has significant effects involving Medicaid recipients. Medicaid currently serves approximately 6.5 million women in the United States, including 1 in 5 women of reproductive age (women aged 15–44).

Federal dollars can't be used to pay for abortion outside of the above restrictions, but Medicaid is funded via hybrid federal/state funding, so there are 15 states where Medicaid does pay for abortion using the state's portion of the funding.

 

Last month I posted a lengthy, deep-in-the-weeds analysis of Michigan Gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed's state-based Single Payer healthcare proposal, dubbed "Michicare" (later changed to simply "MichCare").

Later I noted that his primary opponent, former State Senator and County Prosecutor Gretchen Whitmer, has far thinner responses posted on her website when it comes to healthcare policy. I also noted that there are some good reasons for this which likely have nothing to do with being "a tool of the insurance lobby", a "neoliberal sellout" bla bla bla and so forth.

However, for the record, yes, Ms. Whitmer does indeed support universal healthcare coverage, as shown in the Q&A video clip above from one of her town hall appearances (thanks to Mary Bernadette Minnick Weatherly for the clip and the OK to repost it).

Below is a verbatim transcript of the whole exchange:

Yesterday, the Center for American Progress announced their own proposal for a new, comprehensive, national, universal healthcare coverage system. I'm giving my initial thoughts annotation-style.

Medicare Extra for All: A Plan to Guarantee Universal Health Coverage in the United States
By the CAP Health Policy Team Posted on February 22, 2018, 6:00 am

OVERVIEW: This proposal guarantees the right of all Americans to enroll in the same high-quality plan modeled after the Medicare program.

UPDATE 2/05/16: Unfortunately, I got swamped this week with the actual enrollment wrap-up stuff and never got a chance to write up the Part II promised at the end of this. I might have to re-think how I do this. I'll leave this post online, but might ot be referencing back to it for awhile longer than I expected. Sorry about that.

A couple of weeks ago, I made a YUUUGE mistake: I dipped my toe into the Hillary/Bernie/Single Payer fuss. Actually, the mistake wasn't so much my post, but cross-posting it over at Daily Kos, where it caused a bit of a fuss, which in turn led to my getting embroiled in the so-called "Bernie Bros Brouhaha" (Bro-Ha-Ha?), and so on.

Christ, it even turned into a bit of an M.C. Escher drawing, with Glenn Greenwald using the personal attacks on me by Bernie supporters to defend Bernie supporters, while Parker Molloy went from (indirectly) defending me (and other victims of "Bernie Bro" attacks) to actually accusing me of "Bernie Bro" behavior myself...because I made the mistake of responding to her Medium story via Twitter before I had actually read the entire story. (Note: I immediately realized my error and apologized, but she has yet to respond).

Better yet: This, in turn, led to another hostile encounter with another extreme Bernie supporter...a female one in this case, who was off her rocker, which in turn kind of proved Molloy's point about "Bro" not neccessarily having to be male. Additional irony: In both cases, I had actually been attempting to defend, or at least smooth over, the "Bernie Bro" insanity. And so it goes.

In any event, I had made a couple of other mistakes in my original post: While the title of the piece mentioned "siding with Hillary on healthcare", the post itself was really more about a) the problems I have with Bernie's plan and b) my own idea about how to eventually get to a single payer system...not what Hillary's plans actually are. In response, the following day I posted another piece which looked into what Hillary Clinton's ideas on healthcare policy actually are. On the one hand, they're far more detailed than Bernie's, which is a very good thing. On the other hand, even if every one of them were to be fully implemented, they'd significantly improve the current system but no, they still wouldn't bring about either single payer or universal coverage by themselves.