Presidential hopeful Amy Klobuchar took some time out of her busy aide-berating schedule on Monday night to hold a CNN town hall in Manchester, NH. There, an attendee asked her to clarify her views on Medicare for All.
“I’ve heard all the excuses about why we can’t have it in our country, while all the industrialized countries have it and it seems to work,” the voter said. “What makes us the exception?”
The question gave Klobuchar some time to advocate for the importance of “universal” healthcare, Medicaid expansion, and the public option, even sharing a story about a little kid with a pre-existing condition who can now get coverage through the Affordable Care Act. (All presidential town halls must have a bare minimum of at least three of these stories. I don’t make the rules.) She also called for demanding pharmaceutical companies lower prescription drug prices—certainly a necessity in free market drug pricing.
But what about Medicare for All?
“I think it’s something that we can look to for the future, but I want to get action now,” Klobuchar said.
“So no Medicare for All?” moderator Don Lemon asked.
“It could be a possibility in the future, I’m just looking at something that will work now,” she said.
Klobuchar’s big push is for the public option, which Tim Faust has helpfully described as “what happens when politicians understand the need for a massive change but lack the moral imagination to do anything but genuflect to existing structures.” The public option was vaguely radical back when Barack Obama was first trying to push through the Affordable Care Act, but it is now 2019, and vaguely radical is not enough. Even with minor advancements, the ACA will permit private insurance companies to rob Americans of their life savings and/or health.
We could waste time building on something that is feeble and imperfect, OR we could put our efforts toward constructing a federal single-payer health system that has worked in industrialized countries all over the world, just as the town hall attendee who kicked off this whole thing so helpfully pointed out. So what, then, makes us the exception? We are overrun with politicians like Amy Klobuchar who won’t fight for it.