June 27, 2019

Democrats Versus Democrats

“‘Boooooo!” That’s how California Democrats, gathered for their state party convention in San Francisco this weekend, received two of their 2020 presidential aspirants. Perhaps John Delaney and John Hickenlooper expected the jeering, given their remarks. Still, they deserve credit for telling their copartisans hard truths.

Mr. Delaney, a former Congressman from Maryland, is polling at 0.5% in the Real Clear Politics average. He told the convention that he supports universal health care, universal prekindergarten and free community college. But then he dismissed “slogans posing as policies.” A few minutes later: “Medicare for All may sound good. But it’s actually not good policy, nor is it good politics.”

Thus commenced two minutes of enthusiastic booing. As Mr. Delaney tried to explain over the din, millions of Americans have private insurance, which Medicare for All would abolish. “We should have universal health care,” he said. “But it shouldn’t be a kind of health care that kicks 150 million Americans off their health care. That’s not smart policy.”

Mr. Delaney expanded on this theme during an April visit to the Journal. He said Medicare for All is “based on a presumption that the government will pay enough for health care.” Yet both Medicaid and Medicare, he said, reimburse doctors at below cost: “We have ample evidence to suggest that if the government was the only payer in health care, it would never pay enough, and that would lead to a reduction in quality and access.” This is bitter medicine for San Francisco progressives, but it’s the unflinching reality.”

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