Saturday, September 14, 2019

It's O.K. if You're America

Yesterday I argued that it doesn't matter a whole lot that the Joe Biden at Thursday's presidential debate demonstrated little knowledge about criminal justice- which puts him only a little behind his Democratic rivals and still far ahead of Donald Trump.

However, it is very much relevant that he's fairly regressive- or confused (difficult to tell these days about Biden)-  on health care policy. A great Philadelphia-based journalist picked up on what even Bloomberg News didn't even notice (see video at end):

Fact check: mostly true. The front-runner said nothing in the exchange about the absence of good, universal health care.  That was, instead, included in Sanders' response to Biden's "this is America." However, it is clear below that Biden was rationalizing the USA's exorbitant costs for health care. The exchange:

SANDERS: Let us be clear, Joe, in the United States of America, we are spending twice as much per capita on health care as the Canadians or any other major country on earth.

BIDEN: This is America.

SANDERS: Yes, but Americans don't want to pay twice as much as other countries. And they guarantee health care to all people. Under my Medicare-for-all proposal, when you don't pay out-of-pocket and you don't pay premiums, maybe you've run into people who love their premiums, I haven't.

What people want is cost-effective health care, Medicare-for-all will save the average American substantial sums of money on his or her health care bill.

Being nothing if not always on message, Bernie Sanders was not diverted by Biden's three-word comment, responding only "yes" and reminding us of the cost of health care. His was a crucial point which debate hosts and most of the Democratic aspirants- most notably Biden- refuse to acknowledge. Individuals need help to pay for health care because it is grotesquely expensive

To the guy leading the pack, however, the spiraling cost of health care is acceptable because "this is America." If pundits and the other candidates are ignoring it, at least one journalist did not, and we don't have to.

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