June 28, 2019

Here's a piece of advice for Democratic 2020 hopefuls: "No, we can't" is not a particularly helpful or effective campaign slogan. Nevertheless, 2020 non-starter John Delaney made the rounds on Thursday to spread his message of defeatism to all who would listen.

He led off with this declaration: "I've been to rural America quite a bit and we have a crisis in healthcare in rural America and there's not one rural hospital in this country that would stay open if we had Medicare for All based on the way it's described in that bill. Just they would all close. They are all just on the edge. Medicare rates as the gentleman just said are half of the rates of private insurance. About a third of their patients are private insurance. If you cut the reimbursement rates of a third of their patients by half and they're running barely breaking even they would close. It's just something that no one talks about."

I want everyone to think about what he just said and wonder aloud why it wouldn't be as simple as incentivizing rural hospitals to stay open, the same way the government now incentivizes insurers to keep rural hospitals open. I mean, just raise the rates. That isn't too difficult, not really.

Delaney declared that if we run on Medicare for All, as he framed it, Dems would lose the election by 10 points. Because this former Congressman has his finger on the pulse of America, folks! He knows that everyone loves their private insurance, especially fighting for claims payments and wading through piles of paperwork.

Ali Velshi was not having it, and he tried to overcome Delaney's bullheaded filibuster long enough to get some facts in to the discussion but it was tough. For her part, Stephanie Ruhle just offered some fine eyerolls.

The whole discussion is bonkers, but please stay for the moments where Delaney insists Bernie Sanders' plan makes private insurance "illegal" (It doesn't) and where he insists that it would "take away" healthcare from everyone (it won't).

I would also remind everyone that Medicare Advantage is a way of bundling all of the benefits together and contracting insurers to act as the...single payer. For all of Delaney's worry about single payer insurance, Medicare is single payer and contracts with insurers all over the country to bundle those benefits. And guess what? When it's done right, it works. I'll hold up Kaiser Permanente as a shining example of that here in California. Even though I am not on Medicare (though I'd GLADLY BUY IN) they've handled all the payments to network and out-of-network providers for me, and I haven't had to fill out one single claim form. Not one.

Here's just one example of Delaney's lying BS, along with Ali Velshi pushing back on it:

DELANEY: I just said [Warren] outsourced her plan to Senator Sanders. And that's a huge problem. He is not even a Democrat. When I first announced I was running for president everyone said you have to be on the Medicare for all -- that's a nonstarter--

VELSHI: I'm a Canadian and I believe that Senator Sanders' plan is the best one to bring our costs down because it's what most other developed countries have.

DELANEY: No, it's not --

VELSHI: It is.

DELANEY: No, it's not. Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden, they have mixed models.

VELSHI: They are universal healthcare models.

DELANEY: I'm calling for universal healthcare, too. Why do we also have to say you lose your option.

VELSHI: A French hospital and a Swiss hospital do not get different rates based on the way in which a person is insured. So your argument about rates is an interesting argument and Larry suggests its right, but the idea that you're pinning that on weirdness on Bernie Sanders, I'm just telling you 54 other countries have it. Every other country...has some form of universality in which everybody's rates are paid at the same level.

DELANEY: I'm sorry, but you are wrong about that. They have universal healthcare but they don't have a single-payer system. Medicare for all is a single-payer system.

I'm not sure why Delaney is so hung up on a single payer system. Would he be whining if it was United Health who was the single payer? Of all the things to complain about, this one strikes me as being the weirdest. So they went back and forth about it, and then the discussion turns to the UK system, where Delaney spews right-wing talking points like they were shot out of an AR-15.

DELANEY: Because [Medicare Advantage providers] have networks and they advantage the care.

VELSHI: Right. That's what a larger system, a universal system does.

DELANEY: But medicare doesn't do that right now.

VELSHI: Right. That's why Bernie Sanders is calling for medicare for all so that everything is networked.

DELANEY: What you just said about Medicare Advantage is not true. It is an option that our seniors get, they don't pay anything more for it.

VELSHI: I understand, John, but whether the senior pays for it, the insurance system pays for it, the government pays for it or your private insurance pays for it there are higher costs and lower costs. When I say something costs more and you say it doesn't cost the user more, it costs the system more. So the United States pays more than double what all industrialized countries pay for healthcare, that's a cost that might be borne for you, might be --

DELANEY: But there's a reason for it. If you need a specialist in the UK and it's not emergency care you've got to wait about nine months.

VELSHI: That's just not true.

DELANEY: It is, too, true. I just had a friend of mine who had a hip replacement in the UK that had to wait nine months.


DELANEY: Listen, my facts are 100% right. The gentleman from Kaiser [Foundation] just confirmed it. Medicare doesn't pay the cost of healthcare. That's a fact. Private insurance pays twice what Medicare does for hospitals. If every hospital were reimbursed at the Medicare rate they would close. So what's your answer to that? What's your answer to that?

My argument -- you're basically arguing that hospitals should close. This is economics, you are an economist. You have to understand -- that's fine. I'm not making that argument that millions of . Americans who are going to lose their healthcare.

VELSHI: Why would you lose your healthcare?

DELANEY: Because it makes it illegal.

It goes on. Watch it. But I will say again that every issue John Delaney raised can be addressed in a way that would work better for Americans than the private for-profit insurance system. There is absolutely no reason on this earth for ANY Democrat to be incorporating right-wing talking points into their campaign rhetoric and the sooner those Dems find themselves a cushy lobbying job and take themselves out of the running, the better.

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