FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Krugman v. Sanders on Medicare-for-All

Last week Krugman devoted a column to dismissing the Democrats septuagenarians (Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders) as not being prepared to deal with the presidency in today’s political environment. Part of his indictment of Sanders was an unwillingness to compromise, most notably on health care reform.

As Krugman put it:

“For Sanders, then, it seems to be single-payer or bust. And what that would mean, with very high likelihood, is … bust.”

To back up this position, Krugman notes Sanders’ unwillingness to support a bill that would improve the Affordable Care Act.

Actually, it is wrong to claim that Sanders has seen single-payer as an all or nothing proposition. He voted for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, when his vote was essential for the bill’s passage.

Sanders was also a supporter of Bill Clinton’s health care reform bill that never even made it to the floor in Congress. He has often told a story of apologizing to Clinton for his conduct on the bill.

According to Sanders, Clinton said, “what do you mean Bernie, you were with me all the way.”

To which Sanders replied, “That’s exactly it. I should have been burning you in effigy on the steps of the capital.”  [These are my memory, not necessarily verbatim.]

Sanders’ point was that he should have insisted on a more drastic reform, which would have made Clinton’s plans seem moderate in comparison. In this context, it is entirely reasonable for Sanders to push for a more extensive reform, like universal Medicare, even if he is prepared to sign on to a more moderate package involving reforms to the ACA if the time comes for that.

Given Sanders history on health care, it is wrong to say that he has adopted an all or nothing approach. He has repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to compromise to extend and improve coverage.

Krugman also questioned whether Sanders could work across party lines. He has made common cause with Republicans on occasion in the past, with important results. A noteworthy example was in 2010, when he became the lead Senate proponent of a proposal originally advanced by Ron Paul in the House, to audit the Fed. The result of this effort was an amendment to the Dodd-Frank financial reform act which required the Fed to disclose the beneficiaries and the terms of the more than $10 trillion in emergency loans it made during the financial crisis. The amendment was approved by the Senate on a vote of 96-0.

This article first appeared on Dean Baker’s blog.

More articles by:

Dean Baker is the senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC. 

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

June 18, 2019
John McMurtry
Koch-Oil Big Lies and Ecocide Writ Large in Canada
Robert Fisk
Trump’s Evidence About Iran is “Dodgy” at Best
Yoav Litvin
Catch 2020 – Trump’s Authoritarian Endgame
Thomas Knapp
Opposition Research: It’s Not Trump’s Fault That Politics is a “Dirty” Game
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
U.S. Sanctions: Economic Sabotage that is Deadly, Illegal and Ineffective
Gary Leupp
Marx and Walking Zen
Thomas Hon Wing Polin
Color Revolution In Hong Kong: USA Vs. China
Howard Lisnoff
The False Prophets Cometh
Michael T. Klare
Bolton Wants to Fight Iran, But the Pentagon Has Its Sights on China
Steve Early
The Global Movement Against Gentrification
Dean Baker
The Wall Street Journal Doesn’t Like Rent Control
Tom Engelhardt
If Trump’s the Symptom, Then What’s the Disease?
June 17, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
The Dark Side of Brexit: Britain’s Ethnic Minorities Are Facing More and More Violence
Linn Washington Jr.
Remember the Vincennes? The US’s Long History of Provoking Iran
Geoff Dutton
Where the Wild Things Were: Abbey’s Road Revisited
Nick Licata
Did a Coverup of Who Caused Flint Michigan’s Contaminated Water Continue During Its Investigation? 
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange and the Scales of Justice: Exceptions, Extraditions and Politics
John Feffer
Democracy Faces a Global Crisis
Louisa Willcox
Revamping Grizzly Bear Recovery
Stephen Cooper
“Wheel! Of! Fortune!” (A Vegas Story)
Daniel Warner
Let Us Laugh Together, On Principle
Brian Cloughley
Trump Washington Detests the Belt and Road Initiative
Weekend Edition
June 14, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump’s Trade Threats are Really Cold War 2.0
Bruce E. Levine
Tom Paine, Christianity, and Modern Psychiatry
Jason Hirthler
Mainstream 101: Supporting Imperialism, Suppressing Socialism
T.J. Coles
How Much Do Humans Pollute? A Breakdown of Industrial, Vehicular and Household C02 Emissions
Andrew Levine
Whither The Trump Paradox?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of 10,000 Talkers, All With Broken Tongues
Pete Dolack
Look to U.S. Executive Suites, Not Beijing, For Why Production is Moved
Paul Street
It Can’t Happen Here: From Buzz Windrip and Doremus Jessup to Donald Trump and MSNBC
Rob Urie
Capitalism Versus Democracy
Richard Moser
The Climate Counter-Offensive: Secrecy, Deception and Disarming the Green New Deal
Naman Habtom-Desta
Up in the Air: the Fallacy of Aerial Campaigns
Ramzy Baroud
Kushner as a Colonial Administrator: Let’s Talk About the ‘Israeli Model’
Mark Hand
Residents of Toxic W.Va. Town Keep Hope Alive
John Kendall Hawkins
Alias Anything You Please: a Lifetime of Dylan
Linn Washington Jr.
Bigots in Blue: Philadelphia Police Department is a Home For Hate
David Macaray
UAW Faces Its Moment of Truth
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Washington Detests the Belt and Road Initiative
Horace G. Campbell
Edward Seaga and the Institutionalization of Thuggery, Violence and Dehumanization in Jamaica
Graham Peebles
Zero Waste: The Global Plastics Crisis
Michael Schwalbe
Oppose Inequality, Not Cops
Ron Jacobs
Scott Noble’s History of Resistance
Olivia Alperstein
The Climate Crisis is Also a Health Emergency
David Rosen
Time to Break Up the 21st Century Tech Trusts
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail