Democrats and Progressives (distinct but overlapping groups) have been awash in schadenfreude since the Paul Ryan / Donald Trump Repeal and Replace legislation went down in glorious flames last Friday.
But don’t be fooled. We didn’t win Friday.
No one who didn’t have health insurance got it last Friday. No one’s premiums became more affordable last Friday. No Medicaid recipient got easier access to the too few physicians who accept Medicaid.
Which begs the question: what does winning look like? If it simply means beating Trump, Ryan and the Republican Congress, then it’s about power not progress.
But for those of us who call ourselves progressives, Friday was a big loss. We failed to improve the healthcare system. And we confirmed the worst suspicions of those voters who felt so locked out, so screwed by the system that they were willing to blow it up by electing a mentally unstable failed tycoon. Their lives won’t be getting any better, which means they’ve been screwed again.
Those of us who call ourselves progressives need to fight FOR something.
RESIST isn’t an agenda.
Here’s a glimmer of hope, from my home state whose motto is Hope.
Let’s start talking about the public option. Not single payer, but the public option right along side private insurance.
This from Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) — paraphrasing Benjamin Franklin, he said that a government-managed insurer would reveal what games private insurers had been playing. “The best way to show that a stick is crooked is to put a straight stick next to it. If you do that, the private sector can’t manipulate the market by withdrawing.”
We’ll need to fix what’s wrong with Medicare, like sweetheart deals that prevent the government from bargaining with pharmaceutical firms the way the private insurers do. But Medicare works – providing good care to seniors and fair reimbursement to doctors and hospitals.
Let’s do something real to improve the lives of those people who think the system has given up on them.
Let’s make progress. Let’s win.