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Jim Hightower knocks fraidy-cat Democrats

December 20, 2019

Topics: Quote of the Day

Not ordinary Democrats or independents — just insurance companies, lobbyists, and old-line politicians.

By Jim Hightower
Other Words, December 11, 2019

We might expect that corporate billionaires and Koch-funded Republican right-wingers would be howl-at-the-moon opponents of a wealth tax, Medicare-for-All, and other big progressive ideas to help improve the circumstances of America’s workaday majority.

But Democrats, too? Unfortunately, yes. Not grassroots activists, but a gaggle of don’t-rock-the-corporate-boat, fraidy-cat elected Democrats.

These naysayers are the party’s old-line politicians, lobbyists, and other insider elites who are now screeching that Democratic candidates must back off those big proposals.

Why? Because, they squawk, being so bold, so progressive, so — well, so Democratic — will scare voters. As one meekly put it: “When you say Medicare for All, it’s a risk. It makes people afraid.”

Excuse me, but in my speeches and writings I say “Medicare for All” a lot — and far from cowering, people stand up and cheer.

In fact, the New York Times just reported that 81 percent of Democrats (and two-thirds of independents) support Medicare for All. Even apple pie doesn’t score that high! It’s simply a lie that the people are “afraid” of the idea of everyone getting public-financed health care.

So who really fears it? Three special-interest groups: Insurance company profiteers, Big Pharma price gougers, and the political insiders hooked on funding from those corporations.

Not only is it a pusillanimous fabrication to claim that the people oppose any changes stronger than corporate minimalism, it’s also political folly. If the Democratic Party won’t stand up for the transformative structural changes that America’s middle and low-income majority clearly wants and needs, why would those people stand up for Democrats?

As the 2016 presidential election taught us so painfully, a whole lot of the working class Democrats the Party counts on won’t.

https://otherwords.org…


Comment:

By Don McCanne, M.D.

Many would-be political pundits are now saying that if we support single payer Medicare for All, then Trump will be reelected president. Talk about a non sequitur. Yet the media is promulgating this concept, causing some to react by saying that we need to preserve choice of private health plans – as if plans that take away health care choices through restricted provider networks and cost sharing financial barriers would be preferred over a Medicare for All program that really does provide free choice by eliminating networks and cost sharing barriers.

Jim Hightower has it right. We need to stand up and start shouting, lest these pundits drown out our message.

Stay informed! Visit www.pnhp.org/qotd to sign up for daily email updates.

About the Commentator, Don McCanne

Don McCanne is a retired family practitioner who dedicated the 2nd phase of his career to speaking and writing extensively on single payer and related issues. He served as Physicians for a National Health Program president in 2002 and 2003, then as Senior Health Policy Fellow. For two decades, Don wrote "Quote of the Day", a daily health policy update which inspired HJM.

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