By Alex Kotch
Thirty-seven-year-old South Bend, Indiana mayor and presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has undergone a dramatic shift in health care policy in less than two years.
Responding to criticism of his vague health care policies in early 2018, Buttigieg “declared” on Twitter that, “Most affirmatively and indubitably, unto the ages…I do favor Medicare for All.”
Later, as he entered the Democratic presidential primary, he landed on a kind of compromise: a single-player option he likes to call “Medicare for All Who Want It” that lets him show support for those frustrated by the high costs and substandard results of the American health care system while preserving the profit-driven forces that have contributed to that system.
Now, as he continues to promote his plan, which critics call “Medicare for Some,” he’s taken an antagonistic approach to true Medicare for All, as proposed in the Medicare for All Act, and to his opponents who support it: Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), who “wrote the damn bill,” and frontrunner Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who is cosponsoring and continues to support it.
In a new digital video ad from Buttigieg’s campaign, corporate consultant and former Facebook executive Joe Lockhart says, “Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren believe that we have to force ourselves into Medicare for All, where private insurance is abolished.” Lockhart cofounded Glover Park Group, a corporate consulting and lobbying firm with current and recent clients in the health sector including Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Horizon Therapeutics, Intuitive Surgical, and Sanofi U.S.
Medical industrial complex LOVES Mayor Pete
Pharmaceutical, health insurance, and hospital industry donors have flocked to Mayor Pete all year. As of mid-2019, he was second only to Donald Trump in overall campaign cash from donors in the health sector. Among Democratic candidates, he was second to former Vice President Joe Biden in terms of pharmaceutical and health insurance donations.
A Sludge review of Buttigieg’s recent third-quarter campaign finance report shows that as he rails against Medicare for All, executives and other managers in the health sector have kept the money flowing.
Over 100 individuals in leadership, legal, consulting, or financing roles in health sector donated $200 or more to Pete for America between July and September. These donors include pharmaceutical industry leaders such as the chief corporate affairs officer at drugmaker Pfizer, the president of Astex Pharmaceuticals, a state lobbyist for Biogen, a vice president of public policy at Novartis, and the deputy vice president at the nation’s largest pharmaceutical trade association, PhRMA, as well as attorneys for AbbVie, Johnson & Johnson, and Merck.
The donors identified by Sludge gave a total of close to $97,000 to the Buttigieg campaign in the third quarter of 2019. …
Pete Buttigieg’s Disingenuous Attacks On Medicare-for-all
I, for one, have had quite enough of Buttigieg’s glib turbo-wonk shtick. He simply is not being straight with the American people.
By Ryan Cooper
The Week (10/15/19)
In the Democratic presidential debate Tuesday night, once again Medicare-for-all was a major focus of discussion. Once again, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren defended the plan against all comers — most especially Pete Buttigieg, who had a number of slick arguments about how universal Medicare would be a disaster.
There’s just one problem: None of Mayor Pete’s arguments are true.
Buttigieg leveled two main attacks. First, along with the moderators, he pressed Warren to admit that she would raise taxes on the middle class to pay for her Medicare-for-all plan. After the New York Times‘ Mark Lacey asked her if she should “acknowledge” she would raise taxes, she partly dodged the question, saying: “So the way I see this, it is about what kinds of costs middle-class families are going to face. So let me be clear on this. Costs will go up for the wealthy. They will go up for big corporations. And for middle-class families, they will go down.”
What really matters here is that, while Medicare-for-all would require some additional taxes on the middle class, those increases would be more than compensated for by zeroing out premiums, co-pays, and deductibles.
Buttigieg pounced: “Well, we heard it tonight, a yes or no question that didn’t get a yes or no answer. Look, this is why people here in the Midwest are so frustrated with Washington in general and Capitol Hill in particular.”
It’s very obvious why Warren refuses to say this outright, and it is arguably more accurate for her to do so. In the hegemonic neoliberal framework of American political rhetoric, taxes are always a net cost by definition — something that is taken from the American citizenry and spent on government boondoggles or welfare for poor people. Warren doesn’t want to hand Donald Trump any attack lines about how she will raise taxes by focusing on what matters — namely, net costs for average people.
And as HuffPost‘s Arthur Delaney notes, Medicare-for-all critics are leveraging this framework.
“The tax question is a trap, premised on the idea that raising taxes is always bad politics. The moderator already knows the candidate’s position. Both the moderator and the candidate believe that answering with a simple “yes” would launch a thousand Republican attack ads. Not answering doesn’t work either. After the September debate, TV analysts and the Republican National Committee bashed Warren for not disavowing taxes and not embracing them. [HuffPost]”
What really matters here is that, while Medicare-for-all would require some additional taxes on the middle class, those increases would be more than compensated for by zeroing out premiums, co-pays, and deductibles. As economist Gabriel Zucman explains …
- Pete Buttigieg Facing Possible Subpoena — An attorney for the South Bend Common Council told The Young Turks he may subpoena witnesses — possibly including Mayor Pete Buttigieg — starting as early as next week, to testify about police issues including Buttigieg’s demotion of Darryl Boykins, the city’s first black police chief. … Read The Rest And 16-Minute Video