On Wednesday night’s Democratic debate, the candidates held a spirited discussion of universal health care — and while some candidates differed on the way to bring it about, everyone broadly accepted the principle that health care should be a fundamental right.
“I studied why families go broke,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). “One of the number one reasons is the cost of health care and medical bills … Look at the business model of an insurance company. It’s to bring in as many dollars as they can with premiums and pay out as few as possible for your health care. That leaves families with rising premiums, rising copays and fighting with insurance companies to try get the health care that their doctors say they and their children need. Medicare for all solves that problem. I understand, there are a lot of politicians who say it’s not just possible, we can’t do it, we have a lot of political reasons for this. They are really telling you they won’t fight for it. Health care is a basic human right and I will fight for basic human rights.”
“My goal is to ensure that every American is well enough to live to their full potential because they have health care,” said former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), telling the story of a man from Laredo who went to the doctor only once in his life, and was told he’d be dead before 40. “In Texas, the single largest provider of mental health care is the county jail. Health care has to mean every woman can make decisions about her own body and has access to the care that makes that possible. Our plan said if you are uninsured, we enroll you in Medicare. If you can’t afford premiums or are a member of a union who enrolled in a plan because it works, you are able to keep it. We preserve choice.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio promptly criticized O’Rourke for not wanting to abolish private insurance, saying “How can you defend a system that is not working?” But former Rep. John Delaney (D-MD) agreed with O’Rourke’s approach.
“We should give everyone in this country health care as a basic human right for free. Full stop,” said Delaney. “We should also give the option to buy private insurance. Why do we have to stand for taking away something. If you go to every hospital in this country and ask one question, which is how would it have been for you last year if every one of your bills were paid at the Medicare rate? Every report administrator said they would close … My dad was a union electrician and grew up in a working class family. He loved the health care they gave him. I think about my dad in anything I do from a policy perspective.”
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) then weighed in.
“We are talking about the objective of making sure every sick American is able to get the health care they need,” said Gabbard. “I believe Medicare for All is the way to do that. I also think that employers will recognize how much money will be saved by supporting a Medicare for All program. A program that will reduce the administrative cost and reduce the bureaucratic costs and make sure everyone gets that quality health care that they need. I also think if you look at other countries in the world who have universal health care, every one of them has a form of a role of private insurance. That’s what we have to look at, taking the best of these ideas and making sure that no sick American goes without getting the care they need regardless of how much or little money they have in their pocket.”
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) highlighted the cost to communities of rising health care costs.
“We are talking about this as a health care issue, but in communities like mine, low income communities, it’s an education issue because kids who don’t have health care won’t succeed in schools and it’s an issue for jobs and employment. You won’t succeed at work,” said Booker. “In in my community, African-Americans have a lower life expectancy. It’s not just a human right, but an American right and the best way to get there is Medicare for All, but I have an urgency about this. When I am president of the United States, I am not going to wait … Too many people are profiting off of the pain of people in America from pharmaceutical companies to insurers.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) spoke of the importance of protecting women’s abortion rights in any health care policy — and outlined how she would seek to get America to universal coverage, based on her political experiences.
“I want to say there are three women up here who fought pretty hard for a woman’s right to choose. I will start with that,” she said. “I want to make very clear. We share the goal of universal health care and the idea I put out there, the public option … this idea is that you use Medicare or Medicaid without any insurance companies involved, you can do it either way. The estimates are, 13 million people see a reduction in their premiums. 12 more million people get covered. I think it’s a beginning and the way you start and the way you move to universal health care.”
‘Kiss Florida goodbye’: Voto Latino head warns Democrats of coming 2020 debacle
Appearing on MSNBC's "AM Joy," Voto Latino CEO María Teresa Kumar said Democrats should not count on taking Florida's 29 electoral votes in the upcoming 2020 presidential election if Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is the at the top of the ticket.
During a fairly contentious panel discussion on the viability of Sanders as a candidate due to self-identifying as a democratic socialist, Kumar claimed that would not play well Florida's Latino community.
"All I can think about when David [Corn] was unpacking it for us, we can all agree is you can kiss Florida goodbye," she explained. "I say that, Floridians -- Latinos that have fled socialism, they have fled and they are in Florida and they have sensibilities that are different from the rest of the Latino community."
CNN’s Bakari Sellers schools Rick Santorum over claim Trump is not part of the ‘extreme hard right’
During a panel discussion on CNN's State of the Union, contributor Bakari Sellers set fellow panelist Rick Santorum straight after he tried to claim that Donald Trump doesn't take far-right positions.
Following a discussion on Sen. Bernie Sanders' Nevada caucus win, Santorum tried to note the major differences between Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Responding to conservative commentator Linda Chavez who called both Sanders and Trump "two angry people," Santorum remarked, "I wanted to take issue with what Linda said: two angry folks representing the extremes, and I would agree with that, with Bernie Sanders, and he is representing, no question, the extreme of the Democratic Party and he says that he is a socialist and he is angry, I agree."
‘Jesus was not a socialist!’ Fox News panel explodes over Jesus Christ’s political views
Conservative religious pundits on Fox News recoiled in outrage on Sunday after a left-leaning guest suggested that Jesus Christ was "more of a socialist" than a capitalist.
During a Fox & Friends segment designed to cast doubt on the faith or Democratic presidential candidates, evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress argued that socialism is "antithetical to Christianity."
But St. Paul Reverend Dee Dawkins-Haigler reminded the other panelists that scriptures seemed to point to what people now call socialism.
"We believe in things like, what did you do to the least of them?" Dawkins-Haigler explained. "You fed the hungry, you clothed the naked, you went to see those who are in prison."