Certain M4All advocates are dooming M4All, example #8,343,981

Shoot Foot

I don't normally post blog entries about the occasional Twitter flare-ups I get into with die-hard Medicare for All supporters, but this one strikes me as being especially noteworthy for several reasons.

David Klion is the News Editor at JewishCurrents and a writer for The Nation and The New Republic. As you can imagine, he's a pretty left-wing/progressive kind of guy, and a devout Bernie Sanders supporter. He has a verified account (as I do) and has about 55,000 Twitter followers (compared to my 35,000, FWIW). In other words, both of us have small but respectable followings on social media and are what the powers that be would likely consider "low-level" (?) Twitter influencers.

He and I have followed each other on Twitter for several years. We don't directly talk to each other very often, however.

Anyway, about an hour ago, Klion posted a thread with an admittedly depressing and all-too-common Consumer Hell story about his health insurance woes. I'm reposting the whole thing here; it is indeed an indictment of our current system. I've cleaned up the formatting for readability:

Here’s a fun, true story about how you have to support Medicare For All or else you’re a bad person. It begins with my going to the pharmacy today to pick up some routine prescriptions, only to discover they cost 3x what they normally would...

The pharmacist suggested they might need to input my insurance because it’s a new year. When we tried that we discovered my insurance has been terminated. No one told me. So I called my insurance and waited through many menus to talk to a human being...

I was then told I’ve been uninsured since 12/1/2019, even though I was supposed to be covered through July 2020. My insurance was under no obligation to tell me this, I further learned. The state of New York should have told me but if they ever did I missed it...

My now-former insurer has no idea why my insurance was terminated. But the person I spoke to (who, remember, *works for an insurance company*) says this happened to her recently too. She went two months without coverage without the state of Virginia telling her...

In her case, this was because she started making a little bit more money. That’s also my best guess... I started making a little bit more money (by no means a lot) in 2019, and I guess bc I pay quarterlies NY knows that...

So as punishment for making slightly more money as a freelancer, I’m now uninsured (but had no idea for over a month) and would be utterly bankrupted if anything bad happened to me. None of this would happen under M4A and if you want to protect any part of this you’re a sociopath

And remember, this is in one of the bluest states in the country. This is what Obamacare looks like in a state whose government isn’t actively sabotaging it. This is, incredibly, the best we can do.

Now, I have no idea what his specific situation is. Based on what he says above, he lives in New York and is a freelancer, so I presume he's insured via an ACA individual market on-exchange (?) policy, and that he enrolled via the NY State of Health ACA exchange. I don't know who his carrier is. I don't know if he ever received or paid his December premium invoice.

I also don't know why he's "supposed to be covered through July," since ACA exchange plans run from January to December. His reference to "making a bit more money" sounds like a reference to the ACA's subsidy cliff, but that wouldn't get him kicked off his policy; it would just mean he'd have to pay full price for his premium if he lost his subsidies.

None of that is why I'm writing this, however.

Instead, however, I'd like to focus on his very first tweet:

Here’s a fun, true story about how you have to support Medicare For All or else you’re a bad person.

Wow. That's quite a bold, sweeping, declarative and unequivocal statement.

I decided to inquire further. After all, maybe he's not talking about Bernie Sanders' specific S.1129 "Medicare for All Act of 2019". Maybe he's referring to the House version, H.R. 1384, the Medicare for All Act of 2019. Or perhaps he means the Medicare for All Act introduced by then-Senator Ted Kennedy and Congressman John Dingell in 2007. Perhaps he means Kamala Harris' variant, which would have kept an expanded Medicare Advantage around (probably not). Or perhaps he was simply using the phrase "Medicare for All" to refer to "Universal Healthcare Coverage", which most other economically developed nations have, although most of those do not involve "pure" 100% comprehensive, 100% single payer, $0 out of pocket healthcare systems.

So I decided to ask, and I was careful how I worded it:

So I’m a bad person if I don’t support Bernie’s specific bill? Good to know.

— Charles #GetCovered-ba (@charles_gaba) January 4, 2020

I was expecting him to either clarify that he's referring to either the current Senate or House bills, or to effectively roll his eyes at my being "too pedantic".

Instead, I got this:

When Bernie wins the primaries I hope you cry about it and when you’re forced to vote for him I hope you cry more

— David Klion (@DavidKlion) January 4, 2020

Update: He deleted this tweet along with most of the thread at some point, but several people have screenshots:

Wow. That's just...wow.

However, things got even more surreal after that:


— wolfgang (@_woIfgang) January 4, 2020

That's right

— Smarter than every economist (@HandleOfRy) January 4, 2020


— millennial agitator (@ResistScaryBear) January 4, 2020

Huh. OK, that's interesting. I decided to explore this a bit more:

WOW. That's...quite something.

The House "Medicare for All" bill is very similar to the Senate version introduced by Bernie Sanders, but there are a couple of important differences:

the transition to the new Medicare-for-all system would take place over two years, which would be a fast turnaround for a substantial task. Sanders’ bill suggested a four-year transition.

...The House bill also would take a swipe at high prices for prescription drugs by empowering the government to negotiate prices directly with manufacturers and to take away and reissue drug patents if such efforts faltered. This idea, known as “compulsory licensing,” has appeared in drug-pricing bills, but not in other Medicare-for-all legislation.

This analysis was done last February; at the time there was another major difference--the House version also covered Long Term Support & Services, which the Senate version didn't. Since then, Bernie Sanders has released a revised version of his M4A bill which does include LTSS, which is why I didn't include that part in the quote above.

The larger point is that the House version would actually be more progressive than the Senate version! Two year transition instead of four! Compulsory licensing!

Yet according to at least one die-hard M4All advocate, House members who support the House version of Medicare for All are BAD PEOPLE...because they don't support the LESS PROGRESSIVE Senate version introduced by Bernie Sanders.

Of course that's just one person. Here's a second response which is slightly more forgiving:

Let me repeat that: This person feels that 114 House Democrats (including most of the 40 who flipped GOP-held seats in 2018) are BAD PEOPLE. He didn't say he disagrees with them, or that they're wrong about this particular issue...he said they're inherently bad people, period.

Of course, those are random accounts with few followers; for all I know they're bots, trolls or Republicans just stirring stuff up. Let's get back to the verified, 55,000-follower, published writer David Klion.

I pointed out that his attitude is probably not the best way to win support or sympathy for your cause, here was his response:

You’re giving people who think this is a normal and acceptable system a lot of credit by claiming they have either hearts or minds

— David Klion (@DavidKlion) January 4, 2020

Of course, that's nonsense. I never said that the current system was "acceptable" (though it is by definition "normal" in the United States, anyway). Howver, he just reiterated that anyone who doesn't support Medicare for All (presumably Bernie's specific bill, though he never clarified that point) "doesn't have a heart or a mind."

OK, then.

I decided to give logic one more shot:

Most other advanced nations with universal coverage don’t have a system like Bernie’s M4All Bill. Are they all bad people?

— Charles #GetCovered-ba (@charles_gaba) January 4, 2020

Mr. Klion has yet to respond to me on this one.

Unless and until Mr. Klion clarifies exactly what he means with these statements, I have to take him at his word: In addition to anyone who doesn't support Bernie Sanders' specific Medicare for All Bill of 2019 in the United States (which, again, in addition to around half the population also includes over half the Senate Democrats and a good portion of the House Democrats), he's also just stated that those living in Switzerland, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands, among others, are inherently "bad people".

Obviously Mr. Klion is understandably frustrated with our current system, especially given the personal story he just told. Yet he's chosen to specifically accuse anyone who doesn't subscribe to his particular solution ot the problem as being a "bad person" "without a heart or mind". ANYONE.

And he isn't a random schnook just spouting off...he's a reasonably respected writer with a decent-sized following and a pretty big platform to amplify his statements.

I'll say it again: The biggest liabilities for the single payer "Medicare for All" movement are some of its loudest voices.