Speaking at a roundtable of reporters and editors at business network Bloomberg November 1, Speaker Nancy Pelosi had a strong message for Bernie Sanders and other Presidential nomination hopefuls who endorse Medicare for All: “What are you thinking?!” The 79-year-old Californian characterized the idea as virtual political suicide, claiming that it may poll well in liberal circles but will fall flat in battleground states crucial to securing a 2020 victory against the incumbent Donald Trump. “As a left-wing San Francisco liberal,” she warned, “what works in San Francisco does not necessarily work in Michigan,” adding that many Americans would be sorry to lose their private health insurance plans.
There are fair grounds to treat this advice with suspicion. Two late 2018 polls from Reuters and Harris found that at least 70% of Americans supported universal healthcare (including a majority of Republican voters). Thus, Medicare for All could become a huge vote winner, attracting both non-voters and many in Trump’s base.
Gauging the lack of health coverage in the United States is not a simple task, but a recent Gallup poll suggests about one-seventh of the adult population has no health insurance whatsoever. Regardless, America spends around twice as much on health per capita as comparable countries, with inferior results. Medicare for All has been forced into public consciousness by the campaign of Bernie Sanders, although it has been embraced, with varying degrees of enthusiasm and authenticity by other candidates, including Tulsi Gabbard, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Andrew Yang. The plan would create a system not unlike those existing in most of the countries in Europe and the developed world.
During the interview, Pelosi also refused to endorse a wealth tax like that proposed by Sanders and Warren, instead, calling for a “bipartisan” solution to the issue. Given the Republicans’ record, this may essentially amount to calling for a tax cut. Pelosi may have her own reasons to oppose leftist policies like tax increases for the super-wealthy. She receives a yearly salary of over $223,000 for her position as Speaker of the House of Representatives, making her the third highest-paid elected official in the U.S., behind only the President and Vice-President. But this is dwarfed by the $120 million net worth of her and her business tycoon husband Paul, who owns enormous real estate ventures across California and large stakes in Facebook, Apple, Comcast, and Disney. Paul Pelosi is also a regular attendee of the shadowy, elitist Bohemian Grove Club, the subject of many lurid conspiracy theories. [?? seriously? like child trafficking? -rw]
Despite this, she continues to present herself as a left-winger concerned that certain Democrats are being too radical by proposing a system like Medicare for All. “Protect the Affordable Care Act — I think that’s the path to health care for all Americans. Medicare For All has its complications,” she said, claiming, “the Affordable Care Act is a better benefit than Medicare.” This, “I’m a liberal but” is a common trope in bad-mouthing left-wing proposals, with Pelosi expertly combining it with the “this is how Trump will win” tactic as well, where conservatives offer leftists supposedly good-faith advice on how to prevent another Trump victory. A tactic that always seems to include embracing conservative politics. Fox News particularly likes the “I’m a liberal but” trope when it comes to healthcare, allowing self-styled liberals to warn readers that Medicare for All is “not the answer” but a “pie-in-the-sky idea” and claim that it would “put the government in charge of making decisions about your health” and your body….
With obstetrical and vaccine quackery feeding into ever growing psychiatric quackery it appears such fears are not at all unfounded. Peoples’ lives are being ruined by “evidence based medicine”. It wasn’t that long ago that insurance companies refused to cover psychiatric interventions at the same level as more reality-based medicine, because they understood the history and enough of the science to know that it was a black hole of self-perpetuating munchausen by proxy abuse. What has happened since? Mutual back scratching. At the top levels of ownership, the pharmaceutical industry has merged with the insurance industry. Concentration of wealth is consolidating the entire economy into cross-networked hedge funds.
Medicare for all without addressing these issues will simply give more teeth to the medical industrial complex as it cultivates and grows into wider battlefields.