Today, I want to talk about the rumors flying around about Tulsi Gabbard and Medicare For All. There’s a lot of talk out there about Tulsi not supporting Medicare For All anymore, which has caused some people to feel very disappointed in her. Of course, a flip-flop of such proportions, if true, would be disappointing. But is it true? Did Tulsi drop her previous Medicare For All policy?
I don’t think so. The fact is, all this speculation has come from some people who heard Tulsi talk about how she doesn’t think it’s good to take away people’s choices, so that in her health care policy, people would be able to keep their existing private plan if they want to. I agree that this would present a difference compared with Bernie’s version of Medicare For All. But then, I think Bernie doesn’t own the phrase ‘Medicare For All’, I think there are different ways to do it. Of course, you can’t call Obamacare with a public option Medicare For All, because I think what ‘Medicare For All’ implies is that every citizen is enrolled in Medicare, so everyone is covered by it. But there are still different ways to do it. For example, both Canada and Australia have Medicare For All. In fact, some Tulsi supporters are suspecting that her version may be similar to the Australian version. And that wouldn’t be bad, because if you went to Australia, you would find that people are generally satisfied with what they have. What Australians have is miles ahead of what Americans have, in any case. And it’s still Medicare For All, in that literally every Australian has a Medicare Card!
Another thing is, for all those who want to accuse Tulsi of flip-flopping, this is clearly not the case. Whenever asked about whether her Medicare For All plan would abolish private insurance, she always answered in the negative. Also, during the June debates, when candidates were asked whether they would abolish private insurance, Warren put up her hand, but Tulsi didn’t. It is clear that she has always had a consistent stance on this matter. As to whether Tulsi’s policy is better, or Bernie’s, or Warren’s, I guess it would have to be a matter of further debate. But the polls I’ve seen generally suggest that most Americans want Medicare For All, but also that most Americans want to be able to keep their current plan, so Tulsi’s version is most in line with those polls.
My other concern is, the recent Medicare For All smears is situated in a context where some parts of the left have become very negative about Tulsi lately. You would think those on the left would have good things to say about a candidate who is anti-war, and supports many of Bernie’s policies, even if she has a different version of Medicare For All. But I have lost count of the number of times I’ve heard some leftist say that Tulsi is right-wing. Like what part of her platform is right-wing? As I’ve said before, I strongly suspect that Tulsi’s refusal to get into the narrative of us-vs-them political polarization is what is frustrating these people, whose worldview is fundamentally based upon the narratives of polarized conflict found in various critical theories. These people probably can’t stand that Tulsi doesn’t define her politics as being opposed to the right as a whole in her worldview, so they instead rationalize it by putting Tulsi herself in the right. In my experience, these people even react negatively to the common sense suggestion that political polarization is bad for society. It’s why these people often prefer candidates who are more divisive in their language. But then, history shows us that Tulsi is right, and the conflict theory people are wrong. We achieve positive change when we bring people together, and we end up in an angry mess when we divide and polarize. In a time when the cultural elites are keen to polarize people, we desperately need people and voices who will bring people together to solve problems, so that the social fabric of civilization doesn’t get torn apart. That’s why I like Tulsi.
Originally published at http://taraellastylia.blogspot.com on October 2, 2019.
TaraElla is a singer-songwriter, independent journalist and author, who is passionate about free speech, liberty and equality. She is the author of the Moral Libertarian Horizon books, which focus on developing a moral case for freedom-based politics in the 21st century.