More Against Mandates

The debate over health insurance mandates has intensified in recent weeks. In my view, Ezra Klein and other influential pundits are inaccurately framing the debate over mandates as a disagreement between Clinton/Edwards progressives and Obama-leaning centrists. In reality, this dispute is between liberal policy wonks (who tend to gush over the Edwards plan) and an older guard of universal health care advocates that remains cool to both proposals.

It is true that for any plan which preserves private health insurance for some time in the future, mandates will help ensure that more people are covered and that costs will go down for everybody. The Edwards plan would be much weaker if the mandates were removed and, in this sense, critics of the Obama plan are correct. That being said, why should private insurance companies be part of any progressive plan at all? While the Edwards plan is designed to result in a gradual shift to toward single payer system, advocates of health care reform fear it will actually result in a catastrophic compromise in which for-profit insurers are preserved and massively subsidized with public money. Such a system would fail to address the problems inherent to for-profit insurance. It would also be expensive, unpopular and liable to re-privatization and deregulation the next time a wave of Thatcherism rolls over Washington D.C.

Below is a digest of some recent good stuff on the web:

A Times op-ed, by PNHP's David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler on the dubious history of mandates.

Matthew Yglesias, on why "massive socialism" and not mandates should be the answer to our health care crisis.

Daily Kossak, DrSteveB, on single payer why Clinton and Obama are "both right and wrong on health care mandates."

A PNHP press release on the collapse of the California's health care reform.

Another PNHP release on the Massachusetts mandates-based reforms.


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Revolution at the Crossroads: Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump

February 17, 2017 · $20.00 USD

Location: MayDay Space
Where: 176 St Nicholas Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237
When: Friday, February 17th at 6 PM to Sunday, February 19th to 4 PM

Political Context

This Presidents’ Day weekend, the Young Democratic Socialists will gather for our annual winter conference in New York City titled Revolution at the Crossroads: Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump. We did not choose the name lightly. In doing so, we call for leftists to collectively confront Trump and Trumpism at every possible opportunity. When a Trump administration attempts mass deportations of undocumented workers, when it attempts to register Muslims or roll back worker protections, when it attempts to take away reproductive, LGTBQ, civil, or any other rights, then we must militantly resist to prevent such measures.

To succeed, this must be explicitly socialist resistance. With liberalism having repeatedly shown itself incapable of combating the far right, it is now the time for socialists to openly declare our place in building the mass, multi-racial, and working class movement necessary for defeating the Trump administration. In this struggle, millennials will play an outsized role. That is why this conference comes at such a critical time—together we must create spaces for democratic and strategic discussion, spaces to gain organizing skills, and most importantly, spaces to form networks of young radicals for the future struggles ahead. These spaces will only come together if socialists come together. Join us this Presidents Weekend and help ignite the movement to defeat the Trump administration, continue the political revolution, and build the socialist alternative.

Key Deadlines

  • January 8th: Travel Scholarship for Air Travel (for application see below)
  • January 15th: Travel Scholarship for Non-Air Travel (ex: bus, car, train, etc.)
  • February 3rd: Early Bird Registration Ends - Tickets prices go up from $5 to $10
  • February 10th: Free Housing - We have limited free housing. You need to first register, then you will be sent an application for free housing.

Apply for a travel scholarship here! (First Deadline January 8, 2017)

Check out the working program (subject to change)