Pete Buttigieg Isn’t Wrong About Insurance Companies

Pete ButtigiegI don’t like Pete Buttigieg. He’s vague while young. And that means that he is almost certain to become more conservative. And his political inexperience means he will almost certainly be controlled by others once in the White House. So I don’t support him. But Ana Kasparian (see video below) is wrong when she claims that he doesn’t believe in Medicare for All because he thinks insurance companies will still exist.

Buttigieg spoke to George Stephanopoulos who asked, “Isn’t Kamala Harris… right when she says, ‘That means doing away with private insurance’?” Buttigieg responded, “I don’t see why it requires that. After all, if the framework we’re using is Medicare, a lot of people who have Medicare also have Medicare supplements.” Kasparian claims this means that Buttigieg is for a public option.

My position is that we shouldn’t have private healthcare. It is morally unacceptable that some people would live and others die due only to their ability to pay for better healthcare. But then, I’m a socialist; I don’t believe that economics should allow Dick Cheney to live to be an old man while ordinary children die while waiting for a heart transplant.

Medicare for All and Insurance Companies

But the argument against Buttigieg, in this case, smacks of Purity Politics — as if Medicare for All is the only thing we will ever need in order to healthcare justice. Just as I support Obamacare, I support Medicare for All — even though it is just one more step.[1]

What’s more, even Sanders’ plan allows for private insurance. It just forbids private insurance from competing against Medicare for All. And this is exactly what Buttigieg was saying.

Pete Buttigieg Is a Man for Another Time

But as I said: I’m no supporter of Pete Buttigieg. But of it is a matter of character. Nathan J Robinson did a good overview of why Buttigieg wasn’t trustworthy. But I could look past that. On the issues, there isn’t a whole lot to like. Actually: there isn’t a whole lot at all.

On most issues, Buttigieg has never said anything publicly. Most of his positions are pretty standard liberal ideas. But there are cracks. He’s in favor of charter schools, for example. But what’s most troubling is that he has contradicted himself a couple of times on Medicare for all. Despite what he told George Stephanopoulos, he’s generally been in favor of a public option.

That’s fine. But as we know through long, painful experience with President Obama, we aren’t likely to get the public option if that is our ask. Pre-compromising is not a good negotiating standpoint.

So it’s fine to criticize Pete Buttigieg. (Can’t we just call him “The Kid”?) But let’s not confuse what Medicare for All is just in the name of going after a man that has more than enough vulnerabilities.

Update

Sanders’ Medicare for All plan does not explicitly state that undocumented residents aren’t included. So of course Fox News and Washington Examiner are going crazy saying that it covers “illegal immigrants.” It will never fly and I’m sure the Sanders campaign will clarify. But it’s interesting just how bigotted conservatives are. There must be something very wrong with our kindergartens because half the nation is not learning the most basic concepts of social existence.


[1] I’m not just looking toward healthcare equality. There is no way that at this time Medicare for All (or any other “universal” program) will include undocumented people. I don’t know of a major candidate who is suggesting this. And even if one did and then became president, there’s no way it would stay in the legislation until passage. I hate to be a pessimist about this stuff, but we live in an exceptionally xenophobic country.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

4 thoughts on “Pete Buttigieg Isn’t Wrong About Insurance Companies

  1. I liked his interview with Mehdi Hasan. Unimpressed by his record as a mayor of an Indiana town most famous for its college football team and staggering prejudice-based income inequality rates. When it comes to American cities with the worst records on systemic racism, South Bend is right up there. Buttigieg was mayor for years and didn’t put a dent in it.

    I’ve been meaning to write more. The Republican attacks on Ilhan Omar have paralyzed my typing fingers. It’s just so dark, how do you even type a lead sentence? Well, I know how The Hon. Representative Omar would type it. She’d flat out type it. I am not made of such stuff.

    I’m glad a representative of my state is made of such stuff and far better.

    • We will all feel bad about ourselves if we compare ourselves to Omar. She’s great. Jonathan Chait (who I really need to stop reading) wrote an article about how these recent attacks on her are just Islamophobia. But in the article, he attacks her specifically for things she never said. And he calls for her to be primaried. He gets to attack the Republicans and a leftist! And that’s what it is all about. For liberals like Chait, Islamophobia is terrible when conservatives do it. But it’s great when liberals do it in the name of attacking leftists.

      • Omar’s daughter helped organize a climate strike, where high schoolers skipped class in protest of global warming. Makes sense; we adults will be dead by the time today’s kids are facing what we didn’t change fast enough.

        Here’s the article: https://grist.org/article/ilhan-omars-16-year-old-daughter-is-co-leading-the-youth-climate-strike/

        Note, the young lady is not wearing a headscarf. So it would seem that the congresswoman is not particularly interested in imposing “sharia law” on America after all.

        • It’s just part of her cunning plan!

          The youth also have the advantage of more energy. I’m exhausted all the time. I’m trying to work my way up to running again so I can get more energy. And then I’ll save the world!

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