Many Progressives are concerned about Congressman & Senate Candidate Beto O'Rourke (D-TX)'s position on Medicare for all. In fact, in an earlier interview, I did with Beto, he also left his stance a bit unclear. He clarified it directly when a potential constituent forced him to narrow his position.
Congressman & Senate Candidate Beto O'Rourke clarifies position on Medicare for all
Beto O'Rourke did an excellent job in explaining his stance on Medicare for All which Progressives should entertain not as dubious but necessarily pragmatic.
"My questions is in regards to health care," the potential constituent said. "What do you specifically mean by universal health care. Do you mean single-payer or do you mean everyone is getting affordable health care through the exchange?"
The potential constituent explained that while she can afford her insurance, the exchanges have crappy insurance that few doctors in her area take. Additionally, she said she takes care of patients who have no problems seeing the doctors, but diagnostic imaging centers won't accept their insurance.
Beto started his answer detailing many of the problems still afflicting our system. But then he said the following.
"I think we need to go, need to get to yes," Beto O'Rourke said. "It has to be universal. "The only way I know to do this -- and I'm not an expert, but I've been listening to the experts -- is through a single-payer system. Okay? If there's a better way to get there, I'm hoping for that as well. And I've been listening to our Republican colleagues and saying, 'if you've got a better way to do it that uses the market, tell me what it is and I'm open to it. Because I just want to get there. I'm not going to allow the perfect to become the enemy of the good. But along that path to getting universal here's the things we can do now. One is to try to stabilize the exchanges."
Beto would later acknowledge in his response that Medicare's overhead is 2% while private insurance overhead is 17+%. In other words, private insurance uses your premiums to unnecessarily pay executives, shareholders, advertising and other capital costs just for the sake of not being 'government.' That is the giveaway of your money, dollars not going into healthcare but someone else's pocket. It makes no fiscal sense.
Beto O'Rourke understands our healthcare. Even as he says he is not an expert, he understands the numbers well. His intent seems to let America settle into a Medicare for All single-payer system instead of going in full force and making it an ideological battle. There is some merit to that tactic. Progressives should not discount candidates who use this narrative as long as they say they will support Medicare for All single-payer if given the option.
Also published on Medium.