NewsMax Has an Interesting Health Care Plan For Us

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Ben Dreyfuss points me to something unexpected today. Christopher Ruddy is the CEO of NewsMax, which ranks right up with Drudge and Breitbart News in the ultra-right-wing website firmament. He’s also a longtime pal of Donald Trump.

Hearing this, you probably figure that Ruddy opposes Obamacare, and you’re right. But not quite for the reason you might think. Ruddy hates the private health insurance industry, which he calls a “racket,” and his big problem with Obamacare isn’t so much that it provides universal coverage, but that it does so by selling that coverage through private insurers. So Ruddy has an idea. He thinks Trump should ditch the Republican health care bill; pass a few minor tweaks that allow him to declare victory; and then pass his own plan:

  • Reject the phony private health insurance market as the panacea. Look to an upgraded Medicaid system to become the country’s blanket insurer for the uninsured.
  • Tie Medicaid funding to states with the requirement each pass legislation to allow for a truly nationwide healthcare market.

In other words, Medicaid For All. It’s not Medicare For All, but it’s pretty interesting coming from a stone conservative.

Now, Ruddy also wants some other stuff. That “truly nationwide” health care market is, I assume, code for allowing insurers to sell across state lines.1 He also wants “modest” tort reform and expansion of HSAs.

But those are minor things that could be negotiated. The interesting thing here is Ruddy’s belief that hatred of insurance companies is what really drives Trump supporters. Needless to say, plenty of liberals hate insurance companies too. I don’t especially share this hatred, but private health insurance companies are inefficient, confusing, and administratively costly. I’d be happy to see them go away.

That makes this an interesting proposal. I doubt that liberals (or the medical industry) would support it unless Medicaid were bolstered in some way, but it certainly has the virtues of being (a) really simple and (b) truly universal if done right.2 I wonder if something like this has any chance of passage?3

1This is a conservative hobbyhorse that I continue not to understand. What’s conservative about this, anyway?

2That is, free for anyone up to a fairly generous level, and with universal buy-in at reasonable cost for anyone else.

3It’s worth pointing out that it does have one fatal flaw: it would cost a lot of money. That’s the one thing conservatives are dead set against.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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