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The Dangerous Ideology That Threatens the Future of the Democratic Party

February 12, 2018 in Blogs

By Paul Blest, AlterNet

A new nonprofit devoted to healthcare solutions exposes a glaring lack of vision.

Earlier this week, Andy Slavitt, a former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President Barack Obama, launched the “nonpartisan, non-profit” United States of Care. According to its website, the organization seeks to “build and mobilize a movement to achieve long-lasting solutions that make health care better for everyone.” How are we going to get there? By putting “healthcare over politics.”

It's a little surprising, then, that the organization's board of directors includes so many prominent politicians. In addition to Slavitt, there are former governors Steve Bashear (D-KY) and Jim Douglas of Vermont (R-VT), along with erstwhile United States senators Dave Durenberger (R-MN) and Bill Frist (R-TN). During his four years as Senate majority leader, one of Frist's major initiatives was the privatization of Medicare.

It should go without saying that “healthcare over politics” is a platitude, one reminiscent of the now-irrelevant and soon-to-be-forgotten “No Labels” movement. These groups are not nonpartisan but bipartisan, and their goals and solutions are driven as much by ideology as those who push for single-player on the left. As the last 10 years have made abundantly clear, health care is politics, and pretending otherwise is its own form of political choice.

The United States of Care website doesn’t mention any of this. Instead it promises to provide “affordable care” rather than free care, “protection from financial devastation” and “political and economic viability.” By this, it means that health care must be “fiscally responsible and win the political support needed to ensure long-term stability.”

Because of the fact that the language is vague in pretty much every way except on these last two points—that healthcare solutions must be politically feasible, an oft-heard criticism of single-payer from the center, and that they can’t be fiscally “irresponsible,” the usual charge against Medicare for All from the right—the assumption of many on the left is that the group’s intent is to head off the growing popularity of universal healthcare in favor of less radical, more consensus-driven solutions. 

In addition, the participation of healthcare executives, as …read more


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