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  • Dave's Ruminations

Is Healthcare Reform the Democratic Litmus Test?

Updated: Jul 12, 2019


The political question of the day seems to be, who among the large pool of Democratic contenders is capable of defeating Donald Trump? With respect to healthcare reform, just tonight, on CNN, Anderson Cooper posed the question of whether the more extreme proposals put forth by Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and others of ending corporate sponsored health plans in favor of a national health plan would alienate voters in a general election.

While there are many issues that concern Americans, healthcare remains a top concern of most families and individuals. Although I pride myself on being liberal on most issues, the prospect of having to give up the current corporate-sponsored health plan that I now enjoy gives me pause for concern. As I grow older, the number of prescriptions that I rely on to maintain my health has increased exponentially. I am thankful for my private health plan each time that I check out at my neighborhood Walgreens. I save hundreds of dollars on each prescription, oftentimes paying only $3 for a medicine that otherwise would cost me $300.

While I’m in favor of raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour and forcing the 1% to pay their fair share of taxes, I have grave concerns when you start messing around with my health plan. Most candidates aren’t stating explicitly how we would move to a single payer system other than to say that we would phase it in over time. On this particular point, I side with Biden who says that his healthcare reform plan would afford Americans the choice of keeping their current plans or opting into the national health exchange.

All of the Democratic candidates seem to understand that the middle class has suffered enough as wages have failed to keep pace with the rising cost of living and as a result of Trump’s corporate welfare plan which was billed as tax reform. The devil is always in the details. Just how are you going to help me? We need specifics. Not everything that is billed as being helpful for the middle class actually winds up benefiting our pockets.

Despite the fact that Americans in the digital age have increasingly short attention spans, each of us needs to take the time and actually compare the different plans that the candidates are offering. We can't afford to choose a president based off of a 30-second sound bite.

I am all for a sweeping redistribution of wealth from the rich to the less well off, but I need facts, figures, evidence that a particular candidate’s plan will actually achieve what it sets out to do, that is, bring relief to the middle class. Caveat emptor, let the buyer beware. My hope is that American voters have learned from the fiasco that occurred in 2016. Not only can we not afford four more years of Donald Trump, as our rights and democratic institutions continue to be eroded, but we must inspect each presidential candidate with a fine tooth comb, distilling fact from fantasy.

Healthcare is certainly not the only issue by which we should judge the candidates, but it is certainly one in which policy will directly impact our pockets. As the security of our electoral system is called into question, I implore all Americans who care about preserving our freedoms and quality of life to come out in droves to vote, but, by all means, look twice and do your homework before you leap.

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