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Single-Payer, the Progressive Caucus and the Cuban Revolution

Photo by Juhan Sonin | CC BY 2.0

Photo by Juhan Sonin | CC BY 2.0

Democrats have 201 members in the House of Representatives.

Of those, 71 are members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus has endorsed HR 676, the single payer bill in the House.

As of this writing, HR 676 has 70 sponsors and co-sponsors.

But fully 25 House members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus are not signed onto the bill.

(They are — Ruben Gallego (Arizona), Maxine Waters (California), Nanette Barragan (California), Jared Polis (Colorado), Rosa DeLauro (Connecticut), Lisa Blunt Rochester (Delaware), Val Demings (Florida), Lois Frankel (Florida), Frederica Wilson (Florida), Andre Carson (Indiana), Dave Loebsack (Iowa), Anthony Brown (Maryland), Joseph Kennedy (Massachusetts), Debbie Dingell (Michigan), Ruben Kihuen (Nevada), Carol Shea Porter (New Hampshire), Frank Pallone (New Jersey), Nydia Velazquez (New York), Carolyn Maloney (New York), Adriana Espaillat (New York), Peter DeFazio (Oregon), David Cicilline (Rhode Island), Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas), Lloyd Doggett (Texas) and Don Beyer (Virginia).)

And the only Senate member of the Progressive Caucus — Bernie Sanders — is dragging his feet on introducing a companion single payer bill in the Senate.

Recalcitrant Democrats say they are too busy defending Obamneycare to get behind single payer.

Typical is Progressive Caucus member Don Beyer who said that while he has voiced support for single payer in the past, his immediate priority is “protecting the health care achievements of President Obama.”

There is a history here, of course.

Back in 2009, a young single payer activist, Nick Skala, ran into the same kind of stonewall from the Progressive Caucus, when he presented the case for single payer.

He was told that his presentation in favor of single payer and against the public option was seen as an attack on the Progressive Caucus.

Democrats are in danger of being sucked into the Obamneycare death spiral.

What could emerge is a new political movement that will sweep away the Democratic Party and sweep single payer into law.

Some Bernie Sanders supporters, like Nick Brana (draftbernie.org) see this coming and are urging Sanders to bolt the Democratic Party and start a new people’s party.

But Sanders has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President and is now beholden to Chuck Schumer and the Senate Democratic leadership.

Texas billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has been signaling recently that if he runs for President in 2020, it might be outside the Democratic Party and single payer might be his issue.

Cuban told reporters recently that the U.S. Constitution should be amended to make healthcare a right.

A reporter from PJ Media asked Cuban last week why he supports single payer.

“Everybody who has that uncertainty of not knowing if something goes really wrong in their family – what they are going to do – that goes away so, I think that makes people a lot more productive and a lot more self-sufficient,” Cuban said.

Some in the press are calling it “The Cuban Revolution.”

Tim Miller, Jeb Bush’s former spokesman, who is now a partner at a Washington, D.C., public affairs firm, told the Texas Monthly recently that if Trump does not crash and burn over the next four years, there is little chance that a traditional status-quo Democrat, such as a senator or governor, will be able to beat him in 2020.

“The only people who I think could go toe-to-toe with Trump are Michelle Obama or Mark Cuban,” Miller said.

And Mark McKinnon, the former political adviser who co-created and co-hosts Showtime’s The Circus, told the Texas Monthly that if the Democrats don’t want Cuban because of his more-conservative positions on economic policy, he would have a shot at winning as a third-party candidate.

“You need thirty million dollars to get on the ballot in every state, which wouldn’t be a problem for him,” McKinnon said. “And then he would be wide open to go mano a mano against Trump, making the case that he’s essentially a far better version of Trump, someone who’s a better businessman and who’s also got a much better, more thoughtful grasp on the issues. If the question for 2020 becomes who can out-Trump Trump, the clear and perhaps only answer is Cuban.”

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Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter..

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