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    • So doctors implicitly have to charge higher fees in the US in order to cover the cost of medical care provided that will never be paid

      One thing I know for sure, Most doctors don’t and can’t legally set the prices for care even if they own their practice. But to your point those who pay do subsidize those who can’t. And those who pay cash pay the most.

    • I've drifted left over my lifetime wrt economic policy because, counterintuitively, it seems to have worked best for the economy.

      Remember the pushback for Obama when they bailed out GM & Chrysler? No one would touch that but it turned out to be a huge boon for everyone. And the craziness of FDR's projects to build Hoover Dam, roads on the sides of cliffs in Zion's? Kennedy's insane man on the moon expensive project that was so unpopular until it wasn't? Clinton's budget surplus and great economy on the backs of a tax raise for the rich, which was completely undone by conservative trickle-down tax cuts for the rich by the Bush administration?

      I knew a lot of doctors, including my son-in-law family practice physician who were violently opposed to the Affordable Care Act until it worked and now they aren't. My right-wing conservative Utah relatives were seething mad about Obamacare until members of the family had to either face bankruptcy or sign up for it. We couldn't get them to sign up for Obamacare but they were willing to sign up for the Affordable Care Act, thereby getting good care and staving off bankruptcy. Just please don't let them know they are the same thing.

    • It's hard to dispute that tax cuts have resulted in recessions and the wealth gap is getting out of hand. The wealthiest Americans should be taxed more.

      If we raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, what should be done with those tax dollars? Seems to me there is a lot of waste. Personally i'd like to see more efficient use of tax dollars. California, my home for ten years seems to be struggling despite the prosperity. I'm not sure more taxes are the solution there? We need ideas, and innovation. I lived in the Marina in SF, probably one of the most expensive zip codes on the planet... the roads are falling apart. The state taxes are high, the city taxes are high, the payroll taxes are high. Something is broken.

      I was happy to pay the 3% AMT tax to fund the ACA. I'm all for preventative care, much better to treat someone early for something vs. waiting until someone has no choice but to go to an ER and it's too late or significantly harder and more expensive to treat. Invest in health.

      However, my health insurance cost has increased significantly every year for the past 3 years and the quality of my plan has gone from a gold plan to a silver plan and this year i'm a simple bronze plan which is more expensive then when I had a gold plan in 2018 (in NYC). All of the PPO plans have left NYC.

      How are we defining the success of Obamacare? I want it to be successful but what are the KPIs? I think it will take a generation before we see the long term benefits.

      It's better then what we had before but I'd argue we're not even close to where we should be. Why aren't smokers required to pay 10x more then everyone else. Shouldn't we be taxing fast food, and soda? I don't mind subsidizing roads, and education as I'm sure we all benefit from it, not so sure about health costs. Bad credit? Higher interest rate. Bad health due to life choices, should be higher insurance rate. I'm not sure why I should have to share health care costs with smokers and unhealthy individuals when I work hard and invest in my own health.

      If someone is obese and doesn't exercise, should they get a heart transplant? If someone smokes should they get a lung transplant? Should the system pay for it? Should we raise taxes so a single payer system is fully funded... or maybe we should balance our health budgets first :)?

      What if everyone was vegan @Chris might that solve a lot of our health problems?

    • In my mind, some of those questions are common good questions: I don't have kids, why do I have to pay for schools? Why should I have to vaccinate my kids? I'm healthy and take care of myself, why do I have to pay so much for health insurance? Good questions.

      And my answer is almost everyone benefits from the common good. People without kids benefit from kids getting an education so they don't turn to a life of crime and instead earn enough money to buy the products the rich sell. People who don't want to vaccinate their kids benefit from it being a requirement so other kids don't give their kids something awful, yada.

      Yes, there's waste and the roads and schools aren't good enough. But the rich's successful efforts to engineer big tax cuts simply leads to offshore tax havens, yada. Does Bezos really need 5 mega mansions he rarely visits? And if the conservative pundits like Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Donald Trump, etc., really hated the waste of blue havens, why do they all live in them?

      I think a waste to rule them all is the invasion of Iraq. I don't think Gore would have done it. I think waste is borrowing an additional trillion a year and having to pay the interest on it. Or becoming the largest incarceration country in the world, locking up 2.3 million people that we have to pay all expenses for — facilities, food, insurance, education... They get all that free, but hard-working people don't.

      As for the high cost of medical care, the giant sucking sound is from the insurance companies. The US has done a good job of educating about smoking.

    • Yeah, Bernie will have to address his radical past. As a veteran of the McGovern debacle, I do worry some about going too far to the left. I think we can expect to see moderate Dems attack Bernie with the socialist label as he gets closer to being the nominee, though probably not as harshly as Trump will. The good news is that we will have a chance to see how well his response is received.

      If you want to talk about skeletons in the closet, nobody beats Trump, yet somehow he was elected. Polling data shows younger Americans are less afraid of socialism than their elders. Bernie's challenge is to explain to everyone that socialism is not the same as communism, that all capitalist countries have a mix of private and public sectors. I suspect that his frequent claim that the US has socialism for the rich will resonate among many people struggling to make ends meet. It may not be too difficult to pivot from labels to specific policies and concerns, like universal healthcare, affordable housing and education, minimum wage, family leave and the like.

    • Polling data shows younger Americans are less afraid of socialism than their elders

      Just because they're ok with it doesn't mean they're inspired by it. Bernie and none of the Democrats inspire like Obama did, I don't think socialism translates into votes IMO. So the only hope to beating Trump IMO is getting the moderate republicans and independents to vote for a Democrat. I don't think socialism will be the calling card for that cohort.

      Voter turn out as a percentage of eligible voters was DOWN compared to 2008. This is a bad sign. Iowa was worse. The last sentence on fivethirtyeight.com in an article describing how Bernie won, actually should be the lede.

      As a percentage of eligible voters, turnout in the Democratic primary this year was around 26 percent, while it was 29 percent in the 2008 Democratic primary. Source

      ***

      I feel like I've had a negative tone on this thread. @Chris knows me well, i'm a super optimistic, happy guy. Trump needs to go and it has to come from someone in the middle.

      I'm a moderate Democrat that agrees with some Republican principles and I think I'm very much like a large portion of this country including some folks who voted for Trump. I would vote for Mitt Romney over Bernie Sanders.

      How do we get independents and moderate republicans interested in a candidate who is a Democrat?

      How do we bring back the people who voted for Trump that we thought would vote for Hillary?

    • How do we bring back the people who voted for Trump that we thought would vote for Hillary?

      To answer this, I think you need to first figure out why Trump’s own behaviour isn’t enough of a reason.

    • To answer this, I think you need to first figure out why Trump’s own behaviour isn’t enough of a reason.

      great point, I think his behavior is in theory enough to bring back some votes but the person on the other side needs to not be scary. I don't see someone who voted for trump jumping on the socialism bandwagon. Other option... if they get the youth vote out then more socialist ideas have a chance but i'm not optimistic.

    • The Democratic party was scared of Thomas Eagleton in 1972. Yet Eagleton was a senator until 1986.

      Just because a cat is not a canine doesn't mean that it is not a mammal. I think that it is wrong when someone tries to suggest that communism was not socialism.

      There are much more recent examples of why many Americans are afraid of "socialism." The situation in Venezuela since 1999 is one example.

    • Hmmm...what about Norway? Denmark? Democratic socialism is not authoritarian, as communist regimes were. It is not a command economy--markets decide investment, but are regulated to protect citizens from, say, poisonous food or unsafe aircraft. Wait, doesn't that happen already in the US? Of course it does, and most Americans wouldn't want that to change.

    • Did anyone catch all the Instagram meme / sponsored posts from Bloomberg last night? It was an interesting strategy. Well coordinated if nothing else.

    • One of the major problems for both parties is that both parties have been intent on destroying the center. Most truly moderate Democrats have been "primaried" and some are being targeted.

      Moderate Democrats like Collin Peterson and Henry Cuellar are seen by many Democrats as being unelectable outside of their own districts and many in the Democratic party would like to see such people replaced with less moderate Democrats.

      It's hard to find a coalition candidate if only extremists are incumbents.

    • I am not arguing for or against socialism. I'm talking about how Americans who are scared of it, see it.

      A bovine is not a porcine. A porcine is not an equine. An equine is not a feline. A feline is not a canine. But they are all mammals.

      Socialism is a very large category. The Italian fascist movement was socialist but they were neither communist nor were they like Elizabeth Warren.

      The inability of some people to see the perception of those with whom they disagree is a hindrance to persuading those with whom they disagree to change.

    • This article does a good job summarizing my key concerns with Bernie. Too many skeletons, I'm afraid...

      The author of that Op-Ed is Gabriel Schoenfeld, who was a a senior advisor in the 2012 Mitt Romney campaign and is currently a senior fellow at the conservative think tank, Niskanen Center.  Nikansen views agree with “conservatives’ belief in the wealth- creating power of free markets, and libertarians’ skepticism about the ability of technocratic elites to solve complex economic and social problems.” (Nikansen conspectus)

      So I think it’s fair to say that they would be attacking Sanders even if his record wasn’t as perfect as Joe Biden’s.

      In 2016, even Michael Bloomberg felt Senator Sanders was electable: he said Sanders would’ve crushed Trump.

      Lastly, the below 👇happened two years ago versus almost 50 years ago with the McGovern issue.

    • I know that Biden started the campaign as the biggest champion of unions and was expected to receive the largest support of unions. There’s also the talking point that unions would lose their gold plan healthcare with Medicare for All. However, Sanders currently has the most union endorsements with 29 to Biden’s 9. (Source)

      There’s also the reality that employers can take healthcare benefits away when unions go on strike.

      And some unions see Medicare for All as a way to negotiate for higher wages.

      Our members in Southern California enjoy high-quality, affordable health care coverage. Room attendants have full family coverage with no deductible, and co-pays are capped at $25 per month. We even have a dental center that only serves union members. Perhaps our plan’s most important feature is the eligibility requirement: members need to work a minimum of 80 hours per month to become eligible. Eighty hours a month is 20 hours a week, meaning a part-time server working three shifts a week has affordable health insurance for her family. 

      Given these high-quality health care benefits, why would we support a Medicare for All system?

    • So the only hope to beating Trump IMO is getting the moderate republicans and independents to vote for a Democrat.

      Can someone explain why the same requirement wasn’t placed on Hillary Clinton, i.e. her ability to attract moderate Republicans?

      The 2016 exit polls show she was a dumpster fire as far as achieving any significant conversions: Trump converted the same percentage of Democrats to his side.

      Photo Source: CNN 2016 Exit Polls

    • Can someone explain why the same requirement wasn’t placed on Hillary Clinton, i.e. her ability to attract moderate Republicans?

      My understanding is it should have been and her campaign didn't listen to her husband who actively pushed to spend more time in OH, MI etc.

      (I just googled to find an article supporting my argument but here's one)

      His comments in Michigan marked the last leg of a lonely, one-man war he launched earlier in the election to appeal to working-class and white rural voters, whom senior Clinton staffers reportedly told him were not worth the time or effort. (Source Bill Clinton's lonely, one-man effort to win white working-class voters)

    • Good point about the author being a conservative. I have a cousin who is a dyed in the wool Democrat who fears Bernie’s past may be used against him, so it’s not like only conservatives would take issue. I do think the author is correct that’s the playbook the Republicans will use on him. Maybe it won’t be as effective as I think it will.

    • I would vote for Mitt Romney over Bernie Sanders.

      I like Romney too. And Jon Huntsman. I like to think of myself as non-partisan as I have admired many Republican politicians like George H.W. Bush. Back when climate science was settled in the 80s, before the massive misinformation campaigns, he put together the Clean Air Act, which did a lot of good. His version of the Iraq war was well defined, for good purpose, constrained, and well executed.

      Romneycare in Massachusetts was the inspiration for Obamacare. The Obama administration chose it in part to solicit Republican support since it was a Republican plan.

    • Stephen,

      My understanding of the "centrist strategy" is that it is focused primarily on the independents and only partially to the other party. Notice the relatively large percentage of independents who gave no answer as compared with those who are registered with a party?

      I don't think that Trump's 2016 win was primarily due to the "republican base." It was primarily due to his "appeal" to the "disaffected." Historically, the disaffected tend to be independents and reluctant party members. Consider for example, those who supported Perot.

    • I may be wrong, but I think that George H. W. Bush was influenced by the 8 years that he was in Reagan's administration. He wasn't ever a "hard right" candidate, but I think that he was less of a centrist after being VP than he had been in 1980.

      As for Romneycare, some GOP people think that States should be "big government" but that the national should be "small government." Since Romneycare was a state program, there would be some GOP's that would like that. (An apostrophe is allowed when pluralizing an acronym or an initialism.)