Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York has committed a gaffe. To be sure, this bit of news could be seen as the dog bites man variety, something that happens every day. However, AOC has made the kind of gaffe that is a uniquely Washington kind, that is to say, a perfectly true statement that is politically inconvenient to utter.
The Huffington Post explains:
“Ocasio-Cortez ― one of the most outspoken advocates for Medicare for All ― said she thought voters understood there was an “inherent check” on the president’s ability to actually change things like our health care system. And she argued that the realities of governing were actually an argument for someone like Sanders, as he’d be able to push Democrats and resulting changes further left.”
Translated that means that we should not worry about elected Bernie Sanders president since he will not be able to pass Medicare for All anyway. The best (or worse depending on one’s point of view) that President Bernie Sanders will be able to do is to enact some sort of “public option” along the lines that Pete Buttigieg is advocating. More likely, Bernie in the White House will be able to restore Obamacare to its former glory, whatever that is.
To be sure, AOC thinks that given a public option for health insurance, the private insurance industry will wither away, just like the state in Marxist theory. However, she seems to realize that it is not smart politics to suggest that people will lose their private health insurance under a Bernie regime, either quickly under the Medicare for All system or more gradually under the Medicare for Some system that she seems to favor.
An analysis by the Washington Free Beacon suggests that Medicare for All does not play very well among two important Democratic constituencies, suburban liberals and union members. Both groups tend to have private health insurance and are loath to give it up just because Bernie rants that healthcare is a human right and not a privilege.
The Free Beacon suggests that if Bernie were to become the nominee, his Medicare for All proposal would not only serve as a millstone around his campaign but also those of down-ballot Democrats. How many current House members will be willing to advocate the abolishment of private healthcare and the huge tax increases that Medicare for All would entail?
The problem with AOC’s sudden and remarkable insight is, as Hot Air notes, Bernie Sanders does not share it.
“For someone who’s selling The Revolution on the stump for Sanders, this sounds like a mighty big retreat by AOC on the central plank in his platform, and almost certainly an unauthorized walk back. Sanders has other issues in his platform, but Medicare for All is central to his agenda. His economic policies don’t work without it — well, they don’t work at all actually, but especially not without a complete switch to socialized medicine. Furthermore, Sanders has had plenty of opportunities to offer compromises, such as Pete Buttigieg’s idea (also promoted by others) of optional Medicare buy-ins. Sanders has steadfastly refused to water down his vision by a single inch”
AOC’s walk-back of socialized medicine seems to have not been authorized by the People’s Revolution, also known as the Bernie Sanders for President Campaign. When Bernie advocates Medicare for all, he really means it. It is not an opening bid to achieve a more doable, politically palatable healthcare reform system down the road. Bernie Sanders is the purest form of a true believer that has ever existed in American politics.
Ocasio-Cortez has already been called on the carpet by the Bernie Sanders campaign for her behavior at an Iowa rally. While Bernie was trapped in Washington during the Senate impeachment trial, AOC was busy being his surrogate in the runup to the Iowa Caucuses. According to Fox News, Team Bernie was irritated at her for not only failing to mention Bernie Sanders’ name during her stump speech but also going a little too far in advocating noncooperation with immigration laws.
The tensions caused by Ocasio-Cortez’s performance are said to have been eased to a certain extent. But now AOC has broken with her elderly fellow socialist on a key component of his agenda. The consequences and repercussions can only be imagined as of this writing.