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Belvyland: February 13

Today I made my debut in the British publication The Independent. My article is on the coming conflic
Belvyland: February 13
By Berny Belvedere • Issue #26 • View online
Today I made my debut in the British publication The Independent. My article is on the coming conflict between the 2020 Democratic candidates who have publicly backed Medicare-for-all and a health industry which won’t want to give up its place, should that legislative vision threaten to become a reality. Yahoo! UK also picked it up.
Here’s how the piece opens:
For the second consecutive presidential election cycle, the question of whether to retain the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) or scrap it in favor of something else entirely threatens to take center stage.
Unlike in 2016, however, which pitted Hillary Clinton’s pro-Obamacare stance against Donald Trump’s “repeal and replace” campaign pledge, and prior to that saw Hillary and Bernie Sanders engage in heated debate over what a progressive vision for healthcare in America should look like in the future, the 2020 version of this debate will bring on insurers, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and other healthcare professionals as main participants.
In other words, on the horizon is not so much an ideological scrap between candidates looking to steer a political party in a particular direction but a battle between politicians and industry, between presidential hopefuls and the insurance and drug lobbies.
In September, Sanders introduced a Medicare-for-all bill in the Senate, pulling in a number of Democratic presidential aspirants as co-sponsors, including Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Kamala Harris. The House, now under Democratic control, is re-engineering an existing Medicare-for-all bill to be sponsored by Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Pramila Jayapal. These are by no means the only versions put out there—the term “Medicare-for-all,” like “Green New Deal,” evokes a legislative aspiration more than it does a single, concrete proposal—yet they are likely to be the packages the healthcare industry will most worry about.
The Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, an organization comprising “the nation’s leading doctors, clinicians, community hospitals, health insurance providers, and biopharmaceutical companies,” formed last summer to combat rising openness to expanding Medicare. Sensing an existential threat to America’s current healthcare superstructure, the group has sought to countermessage the very proposals that most of the major 2020 hopefuls on the Democratic side have now embraced. A leaked strategy memo from last year revealed one of the group’s key interests is keeping Medicare-for-all from officially becoming a plank in the Democratic Party’s 2020 platform.
(I go on to explain why Medicare-for-all scares the powerful pharmaceutical, hospital, and health insurance lobbies so much. Read the whole thing here.)

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