Cartoon: Medicare For All Is Idealistic But Unrealistic

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TRANSCRIPT

This cartoon has nine panels.

Panel 1
A woman in a business casual outfit – she’s a politician – is speaking directly to the viewer, looking cheerful. We’ll call her “Dem.”

DEM: “Medicare for all” is idealistic, but unrealistic. We Democrats need to compromise, because that’s how policy gets done.

Panel 2
The same woman, now looking serious, gestures towards a small table. On the table is a HUGE stack of paper.

DEM: Take the “Affordable Care Act.” It’s not everything Democrats wanted for health care.

Panel 3
The shot shows the woman, now partly hidden behind the huge stack of papers, continuing to speak.
DEM: We worked hard to get many players to the table. The ACA incorporates Republican ideas, insurance company ideas, doctors’ ideas…

Panel 4
The woman continues speaking cheerily.
DEM: And because the ACA has so many compromises, it’s something everyone can live with.

Panel 5
A balding man in a suit and tie, smiling and carrying a bomb with a lit fuse, walks into the panel. The woman gestures towards him without really looking at him, still looking cheery.
DEM: Because we compromised, in time our Republican colleagues will work with us to make the ACA better.

Panel 6
The man, still smiling, tosses the bomb at the huge stack of paper. The woman looks startled.

Panel 7
The panel shows a huge “BOOOM” sound effect.

Panel 8
The woman stands, eyes hugely wide, staring out at the viewer, while tiny bits of paper rain down around her. The balding man walks off the panel.

Panel 9
The woman talks directly to the viewer again. She looks messy, and there’s a hunk of paper in her hair, and her eyes are still huge, but she’s trying to smile again.
DEM: Um… As I was saying, “Medicare For All” is idealistic but not realistic.

Tiny Kicker Panel At Bottom Of Cartoon
Dem talks to a protester who is carrying a “Medicare For All” sign.
DEM: Why can’t you be realistic?
PROTESTOR: Look who’s talking!

This entry posted in Cartooning & comics, Elections and politics, Health Care and Related Issues. Bookmark the permalink. 

10 Responses to Cartoon: Medicare For All Is Idealistic But Unrealistic

  1. 1
    Jameson Quinn says:

    I think this is largely a straw man. The “idealistic, but unrealistic” argument isn’t that the ACA was somehow safe from right-wing sabotage, but that it was the best law that could get enough (center-right Democratic) votes to pass in the first place.

    Whether or not you buy that argument (either in 2009 or for 2021, which are very different questions), this comic doesn’t engage with it.

  2. 2
    Decnavda says:

    Jameson,
    You might have a point with regard to 2009, specifically because of Joe Lieberman. And today, you might have a point if we were talking about some other big leftist wishlist item, like a basic income or a jobs guarantee.

    But today, with Medicare for All, this is no strawman. Every other industrialized nation has universal healthcare and virtually all conservative parties in other countries support it. And everyone here knows it. There really are no significant number of moderate Democrats who oppose Medicare for All because they disagree with it on substantive policy grounds. The entire moderate Democratic opposition is based on what can realistically get passed and the need to work with moderate Republicans. And this cartoon is correct that this thinking is unrealistic.

  3. 3
    Jameson Quinn says:

    All your arguments are reasonable. Certainly what a Democratic majority in 2021 passes can and should be both better than and to the left of the ACA. But that’s not the argument being made by the cartoon. I don’t think the cartoon helps clarify the issue.

  4. 4
    Ampersand says:

    I think this is largely a straw man. The “idealistic, but unrealistic” argument isn’t that the ACA was somehow safe from right-wing sabotage, but that it was the best law that could get enough (center-right Democratic) votes to pass in the first place.

    That was ONE argument. But I think you’re misremembering if you think my cartoon is a straw man. (Or possibly I’m misremembering it.) There were a LOT of attempts to get Republican buy-in as the ACA was being written early on, including some Republican amendments being accepted (mostly technical amendments, but some were more than that).

    And plenty of people did argue that once the law was in place, centrist Republicans would come around, just as most centrist conservatives came around on Social Security and Medicare once upon a time. (I thought so myself.) And I don’t think anyone on the Democratic side foresaw the extent of the sabotage – for example, did any Democrat, when writing the legislation, even consider that the Supreme Court would rule that the Federal government could not made Federal Medicaid funds conditional on states accepting the Medicaid expansion?

    Of course, that’s all 20/20 hindsight. I think almost everything the Dems did to write an ACA that would get 60 votes was justifiable. But times change. (Insert Decnavda’s argument here. :-p )

  5. 5
    Tatterdemalion1983 says:

    I agree that it may well be possible for the Democrats to pass something better than the ACA in future, but I think that a major (probably the main) reason that will be true is that the ACA passed, mostly worked, was popular, and demonstrably didn’t cause the US to devolve into a communist hellscape.

    Incrementalism works.

  6. 6
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    Incrementalism works.

    This is my feeling too. I also think that evolutionary solutions to social problems are safer and lead to better results than revolutionary solutions.

  7. 7
    Decnavda says:

    Tatter & Jeffrey,
    Again, those are good arguments for the ACA in 2009. Now, Medicare for All *is* the next incremental step. The only possible serious incremental step I can think of from here to there would be to allow a Medicare buy-in on the exchanges, which is really just a back-door Medicare for All proposal.

  8. 8
    RonF says:

    So, it turns out it wasn’t something everyone could live with. Which the Democrats were in fact well aware of, but it seems to me they figured that they’d be a permanent majority and could ignore those other people while their political influence slowly faded away.

    virtually all conservative parties in other countries support it.

    How many times have I read on here that what passes for “conservative” in European countries would be “socialist” here in the U.S.?

    for example, did any Democrat, when writing the legislation, even consider that the Supreme Court would rule that the Federal government could not made Federal Medicaid funds conditional on states accepting the Medicaid expansion?

    Apparently not. But that doesn’t mean that the argument wasn’t made by competent people but was then ignored by the Democrats and their media because either it didn’t fit their narrative or because they could discredit the people who were making it instead of considering it on it’s own merits.

    Speaking of which, I’m seeing analyses (such as this) that since the individual mandate was eliminated by the new tax law, Obamacare is now unconstitutional. I’m no lawyer and don’t have time to research the legal points raised. But it seems to me that this means someone may raise a new suit against Obamacare on that basis. You are all assuming that the ACA is a baseline from which the U.S. will move to a single-payer system. But then, you all assumed that Hillary Clinton would be President right now instead of travelling the lecture circuit complaining about how everyone’s actions and biases but her own cost her the election. As did I, frankly.

  9. 9
    RonF says:

    Certainly what a Democratic majority in 2021 passes

    What do you think the Senate is going to look like after the 2018 election? After the 2020 election? In the 2020 election there are 20 Republican and 11 Democratic seats up for re-election, plus two that will be filled by special elections in the 2018 election. Wikipedia says that many of those will be non-competitive.

    My bet is that the GOP will take at least 3 or 4 seats in the 2018 election and maybe more. That would mean that the Democrats would have to defend all their seats in the 2020 election and take 5 or 6 GOP seats to flip the Senate in 2020. It’s a little too far out to weigh the actual chances of that…. Does anyone here think the Democrats have a chance to take the Senate in 2018?

  10. 10
    Ampersand says:

    Does anyone here think the Democrats have a chance to take the Senate in 2018?

    I think it’s VERY unlikely.

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