Since when do Democrats attack one another on universal healthcare? The question was first asked by then Senator Hillary Clinton during a campaign stop in Cincinnati in 2008. Today, Bernie Sanders supporters are asking the same exact question.
In recent weeks, as her lead has slowly been chiseled away, Hillary Clinton has done just what she preached against in 2008. At a recent campaign stop in Iowa, Secretary Clinton said that Bernie Sanders’ single payer health care plan will “never, ever come to pass.” Her campaign has also spread a wealth of misinformation and fear amongst Democratic voters. They wish you to believe that under Senator Sanders’ plan: the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will be dismantled, Medicaid and Medicare will be destroyed and that your taxes will rise drastically. In reality, under Sanders’ plan the ACA will be replaced by a much more comprehensible and reliable plan, Medicaid and Medicare will be expanded and while a progressive tax will be implemented, the average American will save $5,000 a year on health care costs.
Why won’t she go further? Why doesn’t she support a single payer system (like Sanders’) as she did in the 1990s? Where has the strong support that she had as First Lady for universal healthcare gone? Do her ties to large pharmaceutical companies have anything to do with it? After all, during the first six months of her campaign she accepted $160,000 from them. That’s more than any other candidate, Republican or Democrat. Yet, she claims the industry is one of her biggest enemies. Perhaps that’s where her passion for universal health care went.
Her campaign’s knee jerk reactions to Senator Sanders’ successes in Iowa, New Hampshire and across the country are apparent. Is this surprising that her campaign has resorted to the use of such tactics? No, not really. You can say it’s establishment politics as usual. Can you blame them? Yes and no. Yes, because her campaign’s blatant distortion about Sanders’ plan is completely disingenuous and is deceptive to voters. No, because if you were the presumptive nominee for three years leading up to now and saw your lead slip away, you might react similarly.
Secretary Clinton, the moderate-centrist-liberal-progressive who gets things done, shamelessly seems to be doing exactly what she preached against in 2008, attack a fellow Democrat on health care. Debate is healthy; by all means she can elaborate on the distinctions between her and Sanders’ plan, and she should, but she shouldn’t go around distorting other plans and using cheap tactics to fear voters into believing things that simply are not true.