Apparently a discussion is happening among liberal columnis whose topic is whether opposing the Better Care Reconciliation Act will make universal single payer health care more or less possible. Scott Lemieux isn’t having it:
It should be obvious at this point that passing TrumpCare wouldn’t mean an easy path to universal health care. The Republican bill would make the first problem even worse while doing nothing about the second. Universal public insurance would still be a very heavy lift, and with Medicaid having been gutted the next Democratic government would just be starting further away.
This doesn’t mean that universal health care with mostly public insurance is an impossible goal. But, as Sanders says, it’s much more likely to happen through a gradual, largely voluntary expansion of Medicaid and Medicare rather than by the immediate elimination of all private insurance (including good insurance provided by employers.) Passing TrumpCare would just be another barrier in the way. In other words, fighting to preserve the ACA isn’t inconsistent with universal health care — it’s an important part of the struggle.
A richer debate, surely, then the balderdash that Mark Penn published in today’s paper of record:
Central to the Democrats’ diminishment has been their loss of support among working-class voters, who feel abandoned by the party’s shift away from moderate positions on trade and immigration, from backing police and tough anti-crime measures, from trying to restore manufacturing jobs. They saw the party being mired too often in political correctness, transgender bathroom issues and policies offering more help to undocumented immigrants than to the heartland.
Bigger government handouts won’t win working-class voters back. This is the fallacy of the left, believing that voters just need to be shown how much they are getting in government benefits. In reality, these voters see themselves as being penalized for maintaining the basic values of hard work, religion and family.
Count the clichés and false binaries (“immigrants” versus, I can’t believe I’m reading this, ‘heartland’) and use of conservative agitprop (“government handouts,” “hard work”). Hell, Penn even uses the phrase “socialist ideas.”
A white man of no discernible talent who had no idea what to do with Hillary Clinton in 2008, pounding a podium with an index finger, explains why we should abandon, or, to use a coward’s word beloved of his class, “de-emphasize” women, the transgender, and the victims of an incarceration state. It never occurs to men like Penn that “working class’ includes women, blacks, gays, and the transgender. In an economy where no one who isn’t working for Goldman Sachs can afford to live in Chicago or New York, we’re all working class, baby.
Then again, Mark Penn thought an awful lot about Barack Obama’s patriotism and skin color too.