On the Democrats’ healthcare conundrum
“Progressives feel like they’ve already compromised and given up so much to get to where we are now. They started out by really wanting to move towards a “Medicare for all” style system. Then they reduced their requirements to simply lowering the Medicare age so more people could enroll. And then they narrowed it down to just having more Medicare benefits for people. And now even that is crumbling because you have leadership in the House, led by President Pelosi, saying, “We really need to focus on making the Affordable Care Act what we originally wanted. that it is, with the full expansion of Medicaid and having it to be solid in the face of possible future Republican attacks.
“I think it cannot be emphasized enough that many lawmakers on the Hill, including Pelosi, feel so connected to the Affordable Care Act. It’s their baby. They’ve almost seen him die and be reborn several times, and they feel so invested in making sure he can last into the future whether they’re in power or not. And they see attempts to redirect funding to other things as a threat to that. … Meanwhile, progressives have always viewed the Affordable Care Act as something they sort of accepted. It was not their preference.
“I think one of the big prevailing themes here is that when Democrats are in the minority, they are able to mask a lot of these differences by just saying, ‘We are united against Trump. Trump is trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act. We must unite to stop them. And now that it’s their turn in the majority, all of these divisions and ideological differences over what to do in health care are really on display. ” – Alice Miranda Ollstein
On Bernie against Nancy… and Nancy against everyone
“The conventional wisdom in Washington is, ‘Don’t bet against Nancy Pelosi.’ … I covered her for 10 years, and she’s been the party leader for so long. She’s so used to doing whatever she wants. And it’s really interesting to see her having to fight against a person who just a few years ago was considered a gadfly in the Senate. Obviously, Bernie Sanders has had this enormous power off the Hill, this enormous progressive across the country since his presidential run. Seeing these two people face off is not something you see often.
“At present, [Pelosi is] against Bernie. She’s against the White House. She is against [Senate Majority Leader Chuck] Schumer, who is typically his ally. And it’s really going to be a test of his power here. It is obviously in inheritance mode; she will be retiring in a few years and considers strengthening Obamacare one of the last things she wants to do before leaving Washington. And so she’s going to fight tooth and nail for it. -Rachael Baden
On health and midterms 2022
“There is a lot of pressure to at least extend Obamacare’s grants, if not make them permanent – which Pelosi and his allies want – as they are now due to expire around mid-term. And so if the Democrats aren’t in power after that, you could see millions of people losing these grants, having a harder time affording some of these plans. And so that’s a huge consideration there.
But it is also, what can they get across that would constitute a strong argument to present to the voters to say to them: “You must keep us in power because you have given us control of Washington,” [the] House, Senate and White House for the first time in a very long time ‘? And Democrats believe that if they can’t really show anything for it – anything concrete – if people don’t feel these policies, they won’t see any political benefit in them. So I think it’s both a consideration of “How do we make sure these programs don’t get messed up by a future Republican majority?” “But also:” What can we do so that there is no future Republican majority, so that we have a strong political argument to put forward? – Alice Miranda Ollstein