Friday, August 11, 2017

Medicare-For-All? Not All Democratic Candidates In Orange County Back It


The jumpy video above is from a CA-45 (Orange County) Democratic Forum hosted by the Laguna Woods Democratic Club. Notice Brian Forde, an "ex"-Republican using Republican talking points about "access." Access means anyone can buy health insurance-- if you're rich enough to afford it. Forde may have switched his party affiliation a few weeks or hours or months ago and may be trying to appeal to low-info Democrats but... he's still just a Republican. Right after he spoke, Kia Hamadanchy, a former staffer for Sherrod Brown, talked. He gave the answer all Democrats should give to the question about Medicare-For-All. Notice he was interrupted with applause when he stated unequivocably that he's for single-payer-- no, ifs, ands or buts.

Next up was Dave Min, a former Chuck Schumer staffer, and he knows how to frame his arguments well without committing for Medicare-For-All. He was followed by Katie Porter, the person who worked on banking issues with Elizabeth Warren. Like Min, she knows how to talk about healthcare to Democratic audiencess without just coming out and saying "I am for Medicare-For-All," although she confirmed to us in writing today that she does back Medicare-For-All. 

When we did reach out to Porter and she got back to us with this definitive 2-sentence statement: "Mimi Walters’ whole-hearted support for Donald Trump’s plan to rip health care away from 24 million people is unconscionable, and defending health care is one of the top reasons I’m running for Congress. I believe health care is a fundamental right, and I support Medicare-for-All."

Min had a longer explanation in an e-mail to us:
I've talked with over 10,000 people in my district, and I can tell you that almost everyone-- Democrats, Republicans, Independents-- all agree on the basic policy outcomes we want.  We all want universal coverage at affordable prices-- and by that I mean true coverage, including preexisting conditions, and true affordability, including prescription drug prices and copayments.

But there's not clear consensus on how we get to this goal. Obviously many countries have had great success with single payer, and that may ultimately be where we should go. What I'm proposing in the near term (assuming we can first stop the Republican attacks on Medicaid and Medicare) is three steps that will bring us close to our goal of universal and affordable coverage: 1) open up Medicare as a public option for everyone to help address some of the problems with ACA (sometimes referred to as the "Medicare for all public option"); 2) expand Medicare down to those 55 and older; and 3) expand the Children's Health Insurance Program to help more children of working poor households. These measures are ones I believe we can implement immediately with a Democratic Congress, and they also create a strong bridge to a potential single payer system, if that's where we want to go.

On H.R. 676 specifically, I am not opposed but I'd like to see more details and independent analysis, including to make sure that transition to the single payer system envisioned under HR676 does not dilute existing Medicare-funded health care.
And Kia Hamadanchy was the most plain-spoken of all. No one can read what he said and walk away without a very clear idea of his support for Medicare-For-All. This is what he told us today: "Healthcare is a universal right.  We have a responsibility as a society to make sure that there is not a man, woman, or child in America that lacks access to healthcare and that no person in this country ever goes bankrupt just because they get sick. There is a simple way of doing this and it is single payer. That is why I unequivocally support Medicare-For-All and why I won't stop just just at cosponsoring the bill.  What I'll do is go to Washington DC and fight to get the job done and to do it the right way. Because we spend more then any other country in the world on our healthcare system and get terrible value for all that spending. Its time we put an end to that, enact single payer, and guarantee healthcare for every single American."

Martin Wisckol is covering all the Orange County races this cycle and he did a story for the Orange County Register yesterday on the candidates' stands on healthcare, not just CA-45, but all the Republican held districts in the county. He started with CA-39, Ed Royce's district-- and the one Hillary won with the biggest margin.
Buena Park’s Julio Castaneda, a longtime Democrat, went all-in for Bernie Sanders last year, working as a “super volunteer” in central Orange County. When Hillary Clinton prevailed in the primary, the 33-year-old defected to the Green Party and ended up voting for that party’s nominee, Jill Stein.

But he became disillusioned with the Greens too, concluding that they were not a viable option and changing his registration to independent, officially known in California these days as “No Party Preference.”

Then, on May 4, he launched his own longshot challenge of Rep. Ed Royce, R-Fullerton.

“We need a real message,” said Castaneda, a business systems analyst working toward a degree in business administration at Fullerton College. “The Democrats’ message is only ‘Russia’ and ‘anti-Donald Trump.’ I want to have a very progressive message.”

When Castaneda got in the race, there was just one other challenger to Royce-- businessman and former chemistry professor Phil Janowicz, a Democrat who also supported Sanders. The field has since ballooned to seven, with millions of dollars already being bankrolled. Royce himself has $3.1 million in his campaign account. Democratic businessman Andy Thorburn has put $2 million of his own money behind his bid. Two other Democrats have raised a combined $400,000 and another, who won a $266 million lottery prize in 2010, displayed his willingness to spend money on campaigns in 2016 when he and his wife gave $150,000 to Hillary Clinton PACs.

Castaneda, meanwhile, has yet to meet the $5,000 fundraising threshold that triggers the federal financial filing requirement. He has largely adopted Sanders’ platform, emphasizing the need for single-payer “Medicare for all” healthcare, free public college tuition, a $15 per hour federal minimum wage, more incentives for renewable energy and stronger programs to address homelessness. He said he’s organizing a network of Sanders volunteers to work on his race.

“I know my odds of winning are astronomical. But I’m very motivated because I know the progressive movement needs a real voice for what the people want,” Castaneda said.

Voters look like they’ll have a broad range of alternatives to Royce, who remains favored to be reelected but is considered vulnerable because Republicans have less than a 2-percentage point advantage in the district, which reaches from Fullerton into Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties, and because Clinton outpaced Donald Trump there last November.

Castaneda and Janowicz aren’t the only ones who backed Sanders. Navy vet Gil Cisneros, the lottery winner [and an "ex"-Republican and compulsive liar on a Trumpian level], says he did too, though he is listed by the Federal Elections Commission as giving $50,000 to the Hillary Victory Fund in the primary and none to Sanders. Another $100,000 went to Clinton PACs for the general election cycle.

Cisneros’ campaign says the primary money actually was spent by Cisneros’ wife, Jacki, although she doesn’t show up on the FEC site as a donor.

“It came from a joint bank account and perhaps the committee listed Gilbert Cisneros because of past political donations from them to other campaigns being generally listed under his name,” said campaign spokesman Andrew Childs. “Jacki supported Hillary Clinton in the primary. Gil had not made a decision on which candidate to support at that point, and he later decided to vote for Bernie Sanders in the primary.”

"Ex"-Republican lottery winner is exactly what Pelosi's DCCC is all about

...Castaneda is hardly the only candidate in that race to support Medicare for all. Janowicz, Cisneros, Jammal and Thorburn back that approach, although all note that it will take time to make such a transition.

The only Royce challenger who doesn’t stake out unambiguous support is also the only medical doctor in the race, Tran.

“We need someone representing this district that will find the best ways to expand coverage, whether it’s Medicare for all or another solution,” she said in an email that went on to condemn Royce’s vote to repeal and replace Obamacare.

All of Orange County’s GOP House members voted for the replacement, which then died in the Senate. All oppose a Medicare-for-all plan, as do the two non-Democrats running against Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Costa Mesa-- Libertarian Brandon Reiser and Republican Stelian Onufrei.

Of Rohrabacher’s seven Democratic challengers, Boyd Roberts, Harley Rouda, Laura Oatman, Tony Zarkades and Omar Siddiqui back a move to Medicare for all. Hans Keirstead, a pioneering stem-cell researcher, and Nestle executive Michael Kotick didn’t take firm positions on Medicare for all, instead emphasizing a more immediate need to improve Obamacare.

In the race against Rep. Mimi Walters, R-Laguna Beach, three of the six Democrats emailed unambiguous support for single-payer, Medicare for all: Kia Hamdanchy, Ron Varasteh and Eric Rywalski. Katie Porter initially emailed that she supported “the idea of making Medicare available to every American whether that’s through a public option or Medicare-for-all.” Asked to clarify whether that was support for “a single-payer, ‘Medicare for all’ type healthcare system,” the campaign responded, “Yes.”

Dave Min favors expanding Medicare to those 55 or older, and  allowing everyone to “have the option to buy into Medicare or some other public option at an affordable price,” according to campaign manager Paige Hutchinson. Min believes his position and Porter’s are similar, while Porter’s campaign says she’s more supportive of Medicare-for-all. If that’s left you scratching your head, try Brian Forde‘s statement:

“I believe health care is a human right and every American deserves equal access to high quality, affordable health care and I support the interests of those who advocate for ‘single-payer,'” emailed the technology entrepreneur.

All three Democrats challenging Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, favor Medicare for all.

We asked Sam Jammal to expand on Wisckol's assertion that he supports Medicare-For-All. He told us that "Medicare for All is the way forward. For starters, find me a senior who doesn't want or like their Medicare. That person does not exist. In business, you invest in what works and then scale it. Republicans like to say we should run government like a business, so why not actually act like someone in business would-- invest in what works and scale it.  his is what I learned as an executive. Somehow that gets lost when it comes to health care. As Democrats, we are the party of bold ideas and moving the country forward. We shouldn't shy away from solutions that work. It may take time to build towards Medicare for All, but we must be unequivocal about investing in what works and fight today to guarantee universal health care."

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At 5:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

MFA isn't the end point. It's just the starting point. All the holes and gaps must be filled and the taxation must be worked out. But a lot of what's needed is already there -- care, reimbursement, low overhead AND making bloodthirsty insurance corporations go away forever, basic taxation, etc.

Part D must be fixed to leverage bulk buying and foreign reimportation to get costs down. Based on foreign pricing, one would think costs for meds could be halved.
Eliminating the insurance profit layer could bring costs down more than 15%.

Start there and fill in the holes.

Any democrat who is not adamant about supporting this is a democrap and you can just ignore those.

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