END OF 2018 OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD (42 states)

Time: D H M S

UPDATE x2: Apparently I'm now "part of the Establishment" too...

UPDATE 1/27/16: WELCOME NEW YORK TIMES READERS!

Two quick things:

First: While I'm incredibly flattered by Dr. Krugman's shout-out/support, I have to say that I'm really not comfortable with his referring to die-hard Bernie Sanders supporters as "Bernie Bros". I was a strong Howard Dean supporter back in 2003-2004 myself, and never cared for the term "Deaniac" which was thrown about...and "Bernie Bros" doesn't just suggest a level of dedication, but implies that only college-age men support Sen. Sanders, which obviously isn't the case.

I happen to like Sen. Sanders himself regardless of the words/actions of his more, shall we say, "devoted" supporters, and while I happen to have chosen to support Sec. Clinton, it is of paramount importance that the Democratic nominee win in November regardless of whether it's Sec. Clinton or Sen. Sanders.

Second: If you'd prefer to read the referred-to entries instead of the Daily Kos cross-post (where you'll have to wait for 900+ comments to load), here's the original versions:

UPDATE x2 1/28/16: The version of this which was cross-posted over at dKos includes the following addendum:

Since I obviously can’t expect everyone to have a clue who I am, let me set a few things straight:

  • I don’t work for the insurance industry.
  • I don’t work for the healthcare industry.
  • I don’t work for any political candidate or organization (aside from as a website developer for a few campaigns...some of whom supports Bernie Sanders).
  • Yes, I receive a few bucks from the banner ads.
  • No, the revenue from those ads doesn’t cover the amount of time and effort it takes to maintain the site.
  • Yes, I’ve made exactly one paid appearance before the Society of Actuaries annual convention last summer.
  • Yes, I support universal healthcare coverage (whether single payer or similar).
  • As I’ve noted, the ACA itself already includes a pathway towards SP at the state level (see Colorado’s ballot initiative), and has the potential for a Public Option (again, at the state level) baked in via the Co-Ops (a dozen of which are still around, I should note). While the Co-Ops would have to be seriously reworked to survive/thrive, I still see that as having better odds of getting through than Bernie’s plan.
  • Yes, I very much understand what it’s like to become overly infatuated with an insurgent Presidential campaign by an unconventionally charismatic candidate from Vermont who supports universal healthcare coverage: I got my start in politics as a huge Howard Dean fanatic. In fact, that’s what led me to join Daily Kos in the first place in 2003.
  • Oh, yeah, and Howard Dean, who originally campaigned on universal coverage himself (before his campaign changed focus to the whole “Iraqi invasion” thing), and who, if I recall correctly, opposed the ACA at the time it was being voted on, supports Hillary even as the organization he created, DFA, has endorsed Bernie. In other words, it’s not a simple matter of “X good, Y bad!”
  • No, I didn’t support Hillary Clinton in 2008 (I actually kinda liked Bill Richardson at first, then had a brief look at John Edwards before joining the Obama brigade)
  • Yes, if you seriously think that I, of all people, am “OK with millions of people suffering”, you’re an idiot.

Over the past 2 1/2 years, NY Times columnist, Princeton Economics Professor and Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman has cited my work a number of times, for which I am eternally flattered. However, I'm pretty sure I've never really cited his writing otherwise (perhaps I have and don't recall).

Today, however, I'm doing so in response to the trashing I received from a certain subset of commenters over at Daily Kos to my posts "On healthcare, I have to side with Hillary" and "OK, you asked for it, what about HILLARY's healthcare plans?"

The other day, Krugman wrote a short piece called "Wonks and Minions":

Right now I’m getting the kind of correspondence I usually get from Rush Limbaugh listeners, although this time it’s from the left — I’m a crook, I’m a Hillary crony, etc., etc.. OK, been there before — back in 2008 I was even the subject of tales about my son working for the Clintons, which was surprising because I don’t have a son.

...What’s really funny is that neither Mike nor I, nor, I think, any of the other wonks-turned-evil-minions have changed positions....I argued for an Obamacare-like strategy on health care, with perhaps a very gradual transition to single-payer via the public option, in my book The Conscience of a Liberal; and most of the progressive health care experts I can think of adopted pretty much the same position. So nobody should be surprised that a candidate who appears to be disregarding the analysis that led to these positions is coming in for some criticism.

When I cross-posted my honest opinion about Bernie Sanders's "Single Payer Now!!" healthcare plan overhaul vs. Hillary Clintion's "Improve the ACA but Stay the Course" incrementalism, I received praise from those who agreed with me, which was appreciated. I also received honest disagreement from some who brought up points I hadn't considered, or where we simply had to agree to disagree...respectfully.

And then there were these:

It’s pretty easy for him in his seat of comfort and privilege to ignore the millions of Americans without health care that need help yesterday. He’s got his, he can wait as long as he wants for changes that might get those people covered and he is specifically advocating that it should take a really long time, time that so so many DO NOT HAVE.

That’s why I simply don’t believe it when he claims to be or have been on the fence. I think he’s always been a Clinton supporter and is only saying that he’s on the fence as a way to try to gin up credibility with Sanders supporters so the concern trolling will be more effective. And make no mistake, that’s exactly what I see this diary as: a Clinton support concern trolling the Sanders campaign over healthcare.

What sucks is that I used to like reading the diarist’s work and he was credible to me. Now? Not so much.

I’m actually embarrassed that so many Democrats are just okie-dokie with so many millions suffering. Sickening.

Since it was a keynote speech and they provided transportation, I can only presume that it was a paid performance. Then you assure us that you have learned the entire alphabet and several three and four letter combinations. Congratulations on your achievement. Evidently that confirms to me that you are a literate shill of the insurance companies.

Oh, and there's more:

You’re not a shill, but you are an industry insider whose own personal and professional identity is wedded to incremental reform to such an extent that your pronouncements in favor of it are neither surprising nor illuminating.

He’s a self-made (and accredited) ACA expert who analyzes ACA in great detail, runs a for-profit website promoting ACA’s operation and benefits and makes paid appearances to explain and promote ACA.

He is a paid ACA expert and advocate. He’s intimately familiar with its intricacies and gains professionally from detailing them. And now he states he wants that system to continue as is, or maybe get more intricate and expand slowly and profitably? That is not surprising.

...and so forth. Apparently there are those who honestly think that I'd rather see 30 million people suffer and die rather than give up the "gravy train" I'm supposedly riding with this cash cow.

I should reiterate that Daily Kos where I started the ACA Signups project in the first place, and where I've been an active member for over 12 years now.

Throughout the dark days of the 2013-2014 Open Enrollment Period, I was given high praise for my work with the ACA data...so much so that when Markos Moulitsas, founder of dKos, held a fundraiser to thank me for my efforts, the response was overwhelming. I will always be incredibly grateful for the dKos membership's support. For two years, I was considered a trusted voice of reason and accuracy about Obamacare and related healthcare/health insurance matters in the middle of a sea of bullshit spewed by the likes of FOX News, Breitbart, the Daily Caller, the Daily Signal, Avik Roy, Scott Gottlieb, NewsMax and so forth.

Then, last week, I stated that after having given the matter much thought and consideration, I've come to the reluctant decision that in spite of my ideal preference for single payer, given the political climate and the realities of how the healthcare industry works in the United States, along with genuine concerns about Sanders's plan and Hillary Clinton's prior attempts to push for universal healthcare in different ways, I've decided that her less-sexy, incremental approach to improving healthcare coverage and quality, as clunky and piecemeal as it may be, is the better way to go at this time than Sanders's "revolutionary" proposals...but also pointed out that the ACA itself paves the way for single payer (at least at the state level) IF the voters really do feel strongly enough about it.

...and suddenly I'm being called a "shill of the insurance companies", a "concern troll", "sitting in my seat of comfort and privilege" while being "okie-dokie with so many millions suffering." In fact, I'm apparently "sickening."

Now, it's entirely possible that I'm simply wrong in my evaluation of Sen. Sanders's plans, of Sec. Clinton's plans, or both. I don't think so, but it's possible. I've also made it absolutely clear that IF Sen. Sanders happens to win the nomination, I'll support him 100%. Hell, if he pulls it off I'll donate as much money and time as I can possibly afford to get him elected...and not simply as the "lesser of two evils" etiher.

However, at no time have I ever questioned his commitment to improving the quality, affordability and scope of healthcare coverage to the American people. I've never called him a "shill" or a "troll". I've never claimed that he's "sickening" or that he's "OK with millions suffering."

Perhaps being treated like this simply comes with the territory now that I've developed a bit of a name for myself. Perhaps the mistake was mine for diving into the Hillary/Bernie healthcare battle in the first place. I'll have to re-evaulate myself in this regard. But what I won't put up with is ANYONE trying to claim that I'm "okie-dokie with so many millions suffering."

However, there's another reason why I've decided to support Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders...and this one is in no way a failing on Sanders's part.

I'm well aware that Bernie Sanders has an excellent voting record when it comes to women's rights. He's strongly pro-choice, he voted to reauthorize the Violence against Women Act and is a strong advocate for pay equality. I have no beef with him on any of these, and he should be proud of his record.

Hillary Clinton's record on women's rights is, of course, at least as long, in addition to her work to promote women's (and girls's) rights globally. As a result you might think that the "women's rights" arena would be a wash between the two, and normally I'd agree.

However...Planned Parenthood has endorsed Hillary Clinton. Planned Parenthood has never endorsed a Presidential primary candidate in their 100=plus years of existence. After the year that they've had--being horribly smeared by a series of videos which were edited so dishonestly that they border on the criminal, having their name dragged through the mud in front of Congress, followed by a shooting by an anti-choice actist at a Planned Parenthood clinic in which 3 people were killed and 9 others injured, I have to ask myself, why?

Why would Planned Parenthood, which has never endorsed a primary candidate in it's history, decide to jump into the fray now?

Perhaps it's because they've finally had enough of the misogynistic attacks on women's rights, on women's bodies, on women's intelligence by the Republican Party.

Would President Bernie Sanders be just as staunch a defender of women's rights as President Hillary Clinton? Perhaps. Would misogyny become even worse for American women due the backlash of Hillary being elected, just as rascism against the black community became worse as a result of the backlash against President Obama? Perhaps. (Of course, as a fellow Jew, it could also just as easily be argued that anti-semitism would increase exponentially under a President Sanders as well, but I digress).

But sometimes enough is enough. I have serious issues with some of Hillary Clinton's positions and background, but she's also whip smart, highly capable, and dedicated to advancing women's rights internationally. More to the point, she's been the victim of as many misogynistic attacks as just about anyone in politics for 25 years now, and she's still standing. She was badgered and mansplained for 11 hours straight by the Benghazi committee and not only held her own but blew the smoke right back in their faces.

She's a tough cookie, and that counts for a lot in my book.