20 June 2017

I am Polyanna, but . . .

I just emailed this to Sen. Schumer: 

Dear Sen. Schumer: 

I believe that we Democrats have a historic opportunity in 2018 and 2020 to reverse course in a major way, but that a bold, clearly articulated agenda is needed. Democrats should call a CONVENTION, next year, not to nominate a candidate but to forge a platform, a broadly agreed upon Progressive "contract with America" (need another name). Democrats will then run on this, as a unified party that stands for something that is clearly what the American people want, in contrast to tax cuts for the rich and huge cuts in programs that benefit everyone else. And I think the fact that in broad outlines Democrats win by turning their backs on neoliberalism and supporting a "Bernie Sanders agenda," in the main, is now established fact. 

But the immediate plank in the platform that should be put forward as soon as possible, even if the horrible Senate Republican tax cut masquerading as a health care bill is rammed through, is a DEMOCRATIC health care alternative. Even if it can't gain any legislative traction, it can be out there. Promoted and published, written about, summarized, even touted in TV commercials as what we will do when we get the chance, so give us the chance. And what it should be is the "fix not repeal," but really more than that. It should include smart ideas about how to make the exchanges work, but what its real core should be are two things:  an immediate, real, sustainable and adequate public option, and an opt-out phase in of Medicare for All, with enhancements to make Medicare eventually function as a single payer system of good quality and efficient health care, with some kind of Medicare Advantage system for those who want to pay more for private, enhanced coverage. I think such a plan is already a compromise from pure national health service type coverage that would be all but impossible to pass. Sure, even this kind of plan is a long way from where we are, but our party NEEDS TO STAND FOR SOMETHING, and that something should include real universal health care. 

Democrats across the country are champing at the bit to unify around a boldly progressive party agenda, which recognizes that we have to get there from here, but also recognizes that the challenges on the environment, health care, economic inequality and skewed tax system that favors the rich, all need to be addressed with strong, sweeping, and INSPIRING policy initiatives. Wall Street will be fine; they will adapt. It's Main Street we need to worry about. 

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