Health reform is the signature achievement of the Obama presidency. It was the biggest expansion of the social safety net since Medicare was established in the 1960s. It more or less achieves a goal access to health insurance for all Americans that progressives have been trying to reach for three generations. And it is already producing dramatic results, with the percentage of uninsured Americans falling to record lows.
Obamacare is, however, what engineers would call a kludge: a somewhat awkward, clumsy device with lots of moving parts. This makes it more expensive than it should be, and will probably always cause a significant number of people to fall through the cracks.
The question for progressives a question that is now central to the Democratic primary is whether these failings mean that they should re-litigate their own biggest political success in almost half a century, and try for something better.
My answer, as you might guess, is that they shouldnt, that they should seek incremental change on health care (Bring back the public option!) and focus their main efforts on other issues that is, that Bernie Sanders is wrong about this and Hillary Clinton is right. But the main point is that we should think clearly about why health reform looks the way it does.
As for this debate, as I noted a few times, even when they're fighting, I find myself liking Clinton and Sanders even more than I already do. (As you could probably see in my running commentary I have little and diminishing patience for Martin O'Malley's continued presence in these debates.) One of my big questions going into tonight was whether Clinton would really bring her recent kind of hard-charging, aggressive, almost cartoonish attacks on Sanders into the debate hall. Mostly she didn't. She hit hard at a few points at the beginning. But her critiques, especially on health care were more subtle and refined and sounded less desperate than recent headlines generated by her campaign.
On the other side of the equation, I think she's somewhat defused by Sanders himself. He simply doesn't have that kind of brass knuckle politics in him. Even when he gets his hackles up a bit, every response from him is inherently defusing. There's less charge in the air, less animus after he speaks than before. And I mean all this in both the good and bad senses in which you might understand what I'm saying. At a very basic level, just temperamentally, he doesn't seem to have time for this stuff.
As I mentioned in my wrap up of the Republican debate, debates lead to elections and elections are only zero-sum exercises. So everybody can't do well. If everyone does great it's a wash and meaningless - a win for the frontrunner. I thought Hillary Clinton did very well in this debate. She was quick on her feet, deeply knowledgable. She shows herself as unflappable. Several times I heard her answering questions in ways that were subtle, knowledgable and showed a tendency not to go for the political answer but to highlight complexities in highly politicized questions which are often ignored. I was impressed.
But Sanders did well too. His words and his very manner communicate a fundamental decency and impatience with bullshit which is deeply appealing. If you believe the country needs deep and even radical reform, particularly on economic policy, he is your guy. I think one of the things that makes him such a good messenger for this message is that while his message is radical and he speaks about "revolutionary" change there's little in the man that seems impulsive or trigger happy. There's a certain temperamental caution which balances that deep-seated belief that only thorough-going change can address the nation problems.
So who won? Who helped themselves more? On that front, candidly, I'm not sure. There's clearly something organic taking shape in Iowa and New Hampshire which is very pro-Sanders. Folks in those states are already saturated by the campaign. I don't know how much the debate will affect them. On that front I'm just not sure. For those just watching this debate somewhat in isolation, for the national audience, I think Clinton helped herself more than Sanders, but only in relative terms (i.e., I don't think he did badly at all. I just think she helped herself somewhat more than he did.) And that's not terribly surprising because she seems to have helped herself in each of the debates so far.
Im not quite sure what to think about that debate. I keep looking for signs that Sanders is interested in expanding his coalition between his predominantly white, liberal base, and Im not really seeing them. At the same time, Sanders got a lot of screen time tonight and tonights debate is likely to get much better ratings than the previous two editions held on Saturdays and greater exposure is usually a good thing for the trailing candidate.
Another thing Im unsure about: Sanders was feistier and angrier than weve seen him in the past. How will that play to the home audience? Do voters like Angry Bernie or the more lovable, absent-minded-professor, Larry David version of him? That too could be a question that divides Sanderss base voters from the broader audience hell need to be competitive in states like South Carolina.
A Democratic audience is not in the mood for personal atacks against Hillary.
how Bernie wanted a primary challenger to Obama in 2012.
He was not anxious to talk about what happened with the State of Vermon'ts health care and simply said "I'm not the governor". Maybe he wasn't paying attention?
At the heart of the debate between Clinton and Sanders over taxes is the question of what programs the federal government should be willing to pay for. Sanders has long supported a single-payer healthcare system in the style of European countries and Canada that he calls Medicare for all, saying the program would guarantee healthcare for all Americans and greatly reduce healthcare bills.
But Sanders has never firmly answered how as president he would pay for the proposal, which many have estimated to cost upwards of $15 trillion over 10 years. Legislation he has repeatedly introduced in the past has indicated he would raise taxes on the middle class, including a 2.2% income tax and a 6.7% tax on employers.
Since then, Sanders has walked back his earlier proposals, saying that he would only be willing to raise taxes on the middle class to pay for paid family leave. Sanders policy advisor, Warren Gunnels, told TIME last month that the government could pay for single-payer healthcare without raising taxes on the middle class.
A Facebook post by Sanders supporter and former President Bill Clinton advisor Robert Reich indicated Sanders was planning to release his healthcare plan today.
Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz have the greatest chances of winning the Iowa caucuses two weeks from Monday, new polling-based forecasts from FiveThirtyEight show.
Cruz has a 51 percent chance of winning Iowa when national and state polls as well as endorsements are taken into account. In that forecast, Donald Trump trails Cruz with a 29 percent chance of winning Feb. 1.
A look at just state polls shows a much closer race between Trump and Cruz, giving the business magnate a better chance of winning by 2 percentage points, 44 percent to Cruzs 42 percent.
All around, Hillary Clinton is believed to have an all-but-certain victory over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in Iowa.
Hillary Clinton leads rival Bernie Sanders by 25 points nationally ahead of Sunday's final Democratic debate and the all-important Iowa caucuses, according to the latest results from the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
Clinton is the first choice of 59 percent of Democratic primary voters, while Sanders gets the support of 34 percent. Martin O'Malley gets 2 percent.
Those numbers don't differ greatly from December, when the poll showed Clinton with a 19-point national advantage over Sanders, 56 percent to 37 percent.
But Clinton's current 25-point lead contrasts with other recent national polling, including a New York Times/CBS survey, which found Clinton with just a seven-point advantage.
During the TCA Winter Press Tour, Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos confirmed that Marvel's Jessica Jones has been renewed for a second season. Additionally, the streaming service has confirmed that showrunner Melissa Rosenberg will also be returning for the second season of the fan-favorite Marvel series. However, there's no official premiere date yet.
The first season of Jessica Jones premiered on November 20 of last year, but the second season will most likely arrive sometime in 2017, after the The Defenders, which is also expected to premiere that year. The 13-part series stars Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter, Rachael Taylor, Wil Traval, David Tennant, Carrie-Anne Moss and more.
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About RandySFPartner, father and liberal Democrat. I am a native Michigander living in San Francisco who is a citizen of the world.
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