Truth No. 1: You can improve and expand health-insurance coverage without going to a Medicare for All plan that bans private insurance. ObamaCare was a big initial step down that road, and we can easily go further—for example, by adding a public option. The U.S. may eventually get to single payer, but progressives need to understand the politics of trying to sell more than 150 million skeptical Americans on the idea that the government can replace their current health insurance with something better, fund it with higher taxes and save them money on net.
The current system is so larded with inefficiency that the Democrats’ dream may be possible, but will Americans believe it? Democrats who embrace Medicare for All are playing into the hands of Republicans—even as the GOP continues trying to repeal ObamaCare.
Truth No. 2: You can make great strides toward mitigating climate change without embracing the Green New Deal. I’ve been writing about the perils of climate change since Al Gore educated me during the Clinton administration. I’m also a huge admirer of the New Deal. So I think the name is terrific. But look inside H.Res. 109, the Green New Deal, and you’ll find a wish list that invites ridicule from the right. No, the bill wouldn’t ban cows or airplanes. But if progressives want to appeal to independents, Republicans who can’t stomach Donald Trump, or even centrist Democrats, the Green New Deal should be pared to items germane to climate change. I have a hard time understanding how “guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States”—all wonderful things—will reduce CO2 emissions. […]