October 24, 2017

Former Obama Official Slams Sanders’ Medicare-For-All Push

Former Obama Official Slams Sanders’ Medicare-For-All Push

Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) efforts to enforce his single-payer health care litmus test have grievously divided the Democratic Party. Additionally, because a significant number of 2020 contenders have embraced single-payer, it’s pushed the Democratic Party further left than the Party has been in decades.

Now some prominent Democrats are fighting back. One such Democrat is Steven Rattner, a senior Treasury official in the Obama Administration. In a new op-ed in the New York Times, he panned Senator Sanders’ single-payer litmus test, and compared Sanders to infamous left-wing radicals like George McGovern:

“As a centrist Democrat, I’m scared to see my party pulled into positions that are both bad politics and dubious policy. And I’m disappointed that few of our party’s moderates are willing to resist the freight train coming at us from the left. I understand why Mr. Sanders and his acolytes believe that sweeping progressive ideas — however unrealistic they may be — might capture the public imagination better than the more carefully constructed proposals of centrists, policies that are harder to articulate and can come across as mushy. But the Sanders approach didn’t work for George McGovern in 1972 or Michael Dukakis in 1988, and I don’t believe it will work for Democrats in 2018 or 2020.”

Critically, Rattner points out that when single-payer has been tried in individual states, it’s been a complete disaster:

“Spellbound Democrats should also consider the fate of past single payer proposals. In Sanders’s home state of Vermont, a single payer plan was abandoned after an analysis found that it would require a near doubling of the state budget (and increasing taxes similarly). In Colorado last November, a whopping 80 percent of voters rejected a universal plan, again over taxes and costs. And for similar reasons, California recently shelved a single-payer proposal.”

Also noteworthy is Rattner’s claim that Democratic Senators have told him privately who worried Sanders’ single-payer litmus test makes them:

“Privately, many moderate Democratic senators are harshly critical of Sanders’s tactics. ‘It’s radioactive for me,’ one Democrat facing re-election in 2018 told me. But publicly, even Democratic senators who have declined to endorse Medicare for All have done so in measured terms to avoid antagonizing the progressives.”

Senator Sanders isn’t a Democrat, but he’s shaping the future of the Party. While some Democrats like Rattner might speak out, the fact is that most Democrats are more than happy to go along with Sanders’ transformation of the Democratic Party into a safe space for even the most extreme leftists.