Tonight’s Democratic debate

I didn’t think I’d learn anything, and I really haven’t. The only change in my attitudes is that I like Elizabeth Warren less and Pete Buttigieg more, and everyone else pretty much the same as before. Even though “Mayor Pete” seems to have little chance to be the Democratic nominee, Warren’s evasion of questions grates on me. She dissimulates too much.

At least Bernie admits that “Medicare for All” will entail an increase in taxes for everyone, but says—and this is the way to couch it—that although taxes will go up, medical care costs for the poor and middle class will go down more. In net, he says, they’ll be paying less. I’m not sure that’s true, and I don’t favor “Medicare for all” (I favor a public option), but at least he’s honest. Warren can’t even admit that.

And Biden still looks befuddled.

I don’t think I can watch any more. Meet the new debate, same as the old debate. But if you want to watch it, click on the screenshot below. And weigh in in the comments.


  1. Blue
    Posted October 15, 2019 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    IF Senator Warren starts her next sentence with the
    NON – starter word, “So,” then I believe I will
    have to turn my already TIN – frickin’ EAR
    TO her for ever and ever and ever MORE !

    IF she is the nominee, then I ‘ll likely have
    to STAY the hell – home. From the polls.

    I want Mr Steyer. I want Ms Klobuchar.
    Have Senator Warren l o s e the word, “So … “.


    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted October 15, 2019 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

      At least she doesn’t say “uh” all the time like Justin Trudeau. I’ve counted his “uhs” and it makes me crazy and I yell at the TV for him to get a speech coach!

    • Historian
      Posted October 15, 2019 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

      Yes, Warren starting every answer with “so” is annoying as hell.

      • Jon Gallant
        Posted October 15, 2019 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

        So, what’s wrong with saying So?

        I agree that Senator Warren’s refusal to give straight answers was troubling. Biden’s fogginess is discouraging, and so is Bernie’s hysteria. Andrew Yang continues to impress me with answers that are coherent, concise, and to the point. Gov. Bullock impressed me in that respect too, but he has disappeared, it seems. I still favor Bill Maher for chief executive.

        • KD33
          Posted October 16, 2019 at 12:26 am | Permalink

          I second Bill Maher! With a cabinet of Dave Chappelle, Sarah Silverman, Stephen Colbert, and John Oliver. Seriously, they would be *lightyears* better than this administration.

          • Posted October 16, 2019 at 11:17 am | Permalink

            Let’s add Al Franken too!

            • Mark R.
              Posted October 16, 2019 at 11:56 am | Permalink

              Franken has a new show on Sirius XM…channel 127. He recently interviewed Harry Reid. He is funny as ever with interesting anecdotes of his time in Congress.

              • BJ
                Posted October 16, 2019 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

                I’m really glad to hear that! I’m still terribly sad he isn’t in Congress (he didn’t deserve what he got and he was one of the best people in that hellhole), but I’m happy he’s working his way back to a career and into public life again.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted October 16, 2019 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

                Oh I must find that one. I hope I can get it on demand.

              • Mark R.
                Posted October 16, 2019 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

                I’m with you BJ, so wish he was still a Senator.

                Diana, I think he has a podcast. You could probably get it by going to his website.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted October 16, 2019 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

                I see Sirius let’s you stream earlier ones. Looking forward to listening to the Chris Rock interview.

              • Mark R.
                Posted October 16, 2019 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

                Al can garner some good guests. He said he was trying to get Michelle Obama. We’ll see. I haven’t listened to the Chris Rock talk, but will.

  2. Eli Siegel
    Posted October 15, 2019 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    I agree completely about Warren.She is evasive on costs vs taxes.

  3. Blue
    Posted October 15, 2019 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    She DID. She frickin’ literally did start
    her next sentence in – frickin’ – coherently !
    She strikes me as a “UNIVERSAL” w h i n e r !

    Now I still want Mr Steyer, Mr O’Rourke,
    Mr Castro, Ms Harris, Ms Klobuchar,
    Mr Booker. Anyone BUT Ms Warren ! ( and not
    Mr Biden, not Mr Sanders. ) ONE chance ”
    to make Mr Trump a one – term president.”
    P l e a s e !


    • Rita Prangle
      Posted October 16, 2019 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      So, if you don’t get your way, you’re going to stay home in 2020?

  4. Posted October 15, 2019 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    The problem with having a public option is that only the healthy will be kept on the public insurance plan. As soon as they are diagnosed with an illness that would cost the insurers too much, they will be booted and forced onto Medicare For All. M4A will be bankrupted because all those with long term medical issues will drain the system. In order for a single payer healthcare system to work, everyone (healthy and ill) has to pay into it. We have to dismiss the public option.

    • rickflick
      Posted October 15, 2019 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

      I’ve heard that argument and it seems reasonable. We should probably look to foreign models to make a good case either way. I think these ideas have been tried elsewhere.

    • eric
      Posted October 15, 2019 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

      I’m unclear how that would happen under current law. I currently have the option of buying health care thorough the ACA or my employment-based health care. But my employment-based health provider can’t “boot me” for an expensive illness merely because I could buy a different plan through the ACA exchanges. So how could they boot me in the future when I could buy a different plan through Medicare?

      Secondly, IIRC from my discussions with HR and Benefits, it’s typical for 90+% of the costs of an employment-based healthcare to come from a small percentage (i.e. 1-5%) of the employee workforce. That’s just the way health care works: one employee gets a bad form of cancer, and that comparatively blows out of the water all the combined claims covered by 100+ other non-cancer-victim employees. Employers know this. The whole point of the collective bargaining done by employers is to enforce the ‘take all of us or none of us’ agreement by the providers. I don’t see that changing merely because medicare becomes another option like the ACA plans are an option now.

      • Rita Prangle
        Posted October 16, 2019 at 7:23 am | Permalink

        I think you may be assuming that your employer will continue to pay 100% of your health insurance premium? If the high-cost employees select a different plan, it will eventually affect your cost, or your employer’s cost, because all of the insurance companies will raise their rates in order to force out the high-cost insureds.

    • Posted October 16, 2019 at 2:47 am | Permalink

      I don’t understand what would be wrong with “Medicare for all”. Isn’t that the whole idea, to have government-sponsored (or paid) health insurance for everybody? I’m quite happy with that system here in France. We can choose our doctors, those who charge the standardized fees or those more expensive whom we have to pay partly out of our pockets. Or we can go to the really expensive ones we pay all for.

      The only problem is that this model is coming under fire all over Europe as Big Med Money is trying to take over. But that’s not what is under conssideration in the USA. It would be ironic if the US got public health care as Europe loses theirs. I don’t want to think about that.

      • Posted October 16, 2019 at 3:12 am | Permalink

        I had dinner with a French artist last night, and we talked about health care. The system in France is great for consumers, and prices of simple procedures are 1/10 that of some neighboring countries. But France is losing its doctors, who can make much more money anywhere else.

        • Posted October 16, 2019 at 4:39 am | Permalink

          I know there are not enough doctors, especially generalists, who work long hours for not much money. I didn’t know there were so many who were jumping ship, though.

          One problem is the number of doctors trained. Doctors here are calling on the government to accept more doctors into medical school, which is limited. This is one aspect of the french system which I either do not understand or find wrong (or both). It effectively turns access to the second year of medical school into a concours, or competition, a method of which the french are particularly fond.

          The bottom line is about money — same as everywhere. Everybody wants to make more, including those who run the private hospitals and clinics. Competition, especially free trade, is considered sacred in the EU, and not just since the Lisbon Treaty.

          My Swedish friends and family (on my wife’s side) tell me there are problems there, too. Scandinavian social democracy and health care are not what they used to be. The right/private sector are eating away at everything which used to be (and in my opinion, still ought to be) managed by the collectivity.

  5. BJ
    Posted October 15, 2019 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    All I learned was that I like Warren less, I like Klobuchar even more (hey, CNN actually let her talk for a little while! Wow!), and, since the media decided at the beginning not to promote Klobuchar, Biden is still the most electable of the media’s chosen ones.

  6. Kyler
    Posted October 15, 2019 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    “The only change in my attitudes is that I like Elizabeth Warren less and Pete Buttigieg more…”

    Hey, it’s me again. Just want to say it’s nice to see that Buttigieg is growing on you.

    The man has a way not only with words but ideas too. And entire sets of them as well. I’m always keen to listen to him.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 15, 2019 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      I really like Mayor Pete, too. He actually admitted tonight that his dad used to drive him around in Chevy Cavalier.

      That must’ve been more difficult than coming out of the closet as mayor of South Bend. 🙂

      • BJ
        Posted October 16, 2019 at 10:29 am | Permalink

        Hey, least the car’s murican. A Toyota or something else foreign would have been really bad.

  7. cbranch
    Posted October 15, 2019 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    Biden has not made it through a sentence without stumbling over his words. For better or for worse, public speaking is part of the president’s job.

    I’d be fine with Warren as president, but she’s getting way too much speaking time.

    Other than that, I hope the reporting on this debate is that no one would even be talking about UBI and automation taking jobs if it weren’t for Yang. Again I would say that if Yang doesn’t make it to the White House, let’s make sure whoever does has proposals that are as wide-ranging and even half as well-articulated as his.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 15, 2019 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

      Yang might make a good fit in the next Democratic president’s cabinet. Maybe Secretary of Commerce or Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

      Or, hell, given his answer just now about decriminalizing narcotics, maybe the new Drug Czar.

      • cbranch
        Posted October 15, 2019 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

        Sure, he would, but I have yet to see an argument that any of the others would be a better president, or that any of them has a better chance of beating Trump.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted October 15, 2019 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

          Mebbe so, but it ain’t gonna happen. The Dems — and the country — aren’t about to take a shot with another candidate who has zero experience in government.

          “President” isn’t an entry-level position.

          • Posted October 15, 2019 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

            Ha ha. Tell that to Trump. 😀

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted October 15, 2019 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

              Donald Trump is Exhibit A, Your Honor. 🙂

  8. Posted October 15, 2019 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    I saw an interview with Montana Governor Steve Bullock the other day. I was overwhelmed, and immediately donated to his campaign. Here is a candidate who will CRUSH Trump. Yeah, he is a white male moderate small state Western moderate. But do we want to defeat Trump, or do we want to go down with some PCC SJW candidate? Democrats wake up!

  9. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 15, 2019 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    The heart attack doesn’t seem to have taken any piss or vinegar outta Bernie.

    • Posted October 15, 2019 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

      The old man is sturm und drang, nothing more.

  10. dd
    Posted October 15, 2019 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    I take it that all of you have heard that Mike Bloomberg may reenter the race?

    • Posted October 15, 2019 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

      Love the guy, but too old. Sorry to be ageist.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 15, 2019 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

      Never go full Ross Perot, man. Never.

      • KD33
        Posted October 16, 2019 at 12:34 am | Permalink

        Bloomberg has said he’d run as a Democrat.

    • KD33
      Posted October 16, 2019 at 12:28 am | Permalink

      Serious? That would be *very* interesting.

  11. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 15, 2019 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Wait, wut? Yang said nobody’s using Bing anymore.

    Ain’t sayin’ I’m old, but when he said “Bing,” I thought “Crosby.” 🙂

  12. rickflick
    Posted October 15, 2019 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    I just saw Cory Booker’s little speech on the question, “What friendship have you had that would surprise us…”, a very good question. Most did well with the question, but Booker, I think, knocked it out of the park. He sounded more authentic than the others. I really like him, though I think his chances are remote.

    • eric
      Posted October 15, 2019 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

      Booker, Klobuchar, Buttigieg vs Warren, Biden, Sanders…why do I feel like the Democratic B team should be the A team, and the A team should be the B team?

      • rickflick
        Posted October 15, 2019 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

        A deep bench.

    • Filippo
      Posted October 16, 2019 at 4:44 am | Permalink

      ‘I just saw Cory Booker’s little speech on the question, “What friendship have you had that would surprise us…”’

      I find it difficult to know in advance what friendship would surprise some collective anonymous “us.” And to what degree of surprise? (If Booker were friends with Trump, now that would qualify as a surprise.) It’s a fatuous, piffle question. Why not also pose it about food, clothes fashion, reading preferences and most anything else?

      • rickflick
        Posted October 16, 2019 at 5:37 am | Permalink

        I thought the question was a good one for revealing character. It took the candidates out of their set speeches and made them think creatively. Booker was able to build a really passionate story out of it. He has a clear and focused mind when he gets wound up. Good question, even if piffle.

  13. KD33
    Posted October 16, 2019 at 12:31 am | Permalink

    I get the issues with this debate, but Warren is still in the lead for me. Too many good ideas, and good responses to and commentary on Trump blunders. I’m confident she’ll adjust proposals like single payer to be more practical.

  14. Posted October 16, 2019 at 12:45 am | Permalink

    AOC, Omar and Tlaib will endorse Sanders.

    Figuratively, if not literally, the kiss of death.

    • Mark R.
      Posted October 16, 2019 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I read that this morning. I don’t think that’s an endorsement worth relishing.

    • Posted October 16, 2019 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      Yes, it seems crazy. However, it may ultimately benefit the Dems. Eventually Bernie will drop out of the presidential race which will hurt Trump’s efforts to establish The Squad as the face of the Democratic Party and to stick the “socialism” label to it. That’s my hope at least.

      • Mark R.
        Posted October 16, 2019 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, that’s an interesting angle; hope you’re right as well.

  15. Posted October 16, 2019 at 1:08 am | Permalink

    My wife fell asleep during Poldark, so I tuned in on the debate rather than having to catch her up on Ross and Demelza’s adventures. Except for Warren, Bernie, and Biden, I had never seen any of these candidates before and know virtually nothing about them, though gathered pretty fast that Pete B. is the mayor of somewhere. In short, my opinion is uninformed in the extreme and counts for nothing.

    That said, I liked the way Tulsi Gabbard handled herself, though I got the impression the others didn’t consider her a real threat (and notice that she’s not mentioned in this thread). Beto O’Rourke impressed me at first, but wore thinner as the night dragged on. Castro and Yang could have been jettisoned at the get-go without being missed. Biden’s stumbling didn’t bother me—at least not to the point of not voting for him; heck, I voted for Dubya. Warren seemed evasive in the extreme, even when Biden directly asked her to be less so on her health care plan, and gave off an unattractive vibe of being entitled in some way. Bernie—I love Bernie—held his own, but probably doesn’t have a chance; mostly, I was just glad to see him up there. Booker, Klobuchar, and Mayor Pete all seemed like good folks. Kamala Harris’ plan to take away Trump’s Twitter account struck me as downright laughable, and she spent far too much time smirking conspiratorially at other people’s answers.

    That’s about it for first impressions. I remain curious, however, about Gabbard. Is there something about her I should know that renders her toxic?

    • ladyatheist
      Posted October 16, 2019 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      Not toxic. Just not generating enthusiasm.

    • BJ
      Posted October 16, 2019 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      “Except for Warren, Bernie, and Biden, I had never seen any of these candidates before and know virtually nothing about them, though gathered pretty fast that Pete B. is the mayor of somewhere.”

      That’s because the media chose who we would and wouldn’t get to hear about at the very start. They chose the Democratic establishment and that’s the choice the public gets.

      • darrelle
        Posted October 16, 2019 at 10:19 am | Permalink

        I agree completely that the media has chosen which candidates we hear from and that’s really messed up. But I don’t think I agree with your 2nd point. Biden is absolutely of “the Democratic establishment.” But Warren? Maybe she has some support from the establishment now simply because they have few to choose from at this point, but she doesn’t seem to have ever been a part of it. She’s been too disruptive and too far left for years to have been of the establishment. Meanwhile, Bernie is very much not of the Democratic establishment.

        • BJ
          Posted October 16, 2019 at 10:28 am | Permalink

          I think Warren is the new Democratic establishment, but I agree about Bernie. I feel like he’s the wildcard they threw in there because they felt like they didn’t have a choice considering his fanbase (if he’s completely ignored, we know how his fans can get, and they might sit out when he doesn’t win the nomination), and they figured there’s no chance he’d win anyway.

          But it makes me so angry that the media seems to choose, in congress with one another, who we hear from and who we don’t.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 16, 2019 at 10:25 am | Permalink

        I don’t think it’s some conspiracy between the Democratic establishment and the media, BJ. I think it’s to be expected that the media, and the public, would pay most attention to the candidates with the highest name recognition. (After all, early presidential polling is essentially just a test of name recognition.) And the people with the highest name recognition going in were a former vice-president, the runner-up for the last Democratic nomination, and a senator whom many party regulars had urged to get into the 2016 race (as opposed, say, to low-profile congresspersons, businessmen with no political experience, or the two-term mayor of a small-market city).

        I am surprised that a couple of relatively high-profile senators like Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker haven’t gotten more attention. (Before the race started, the two were my pick for the ideal balanced ticket — you know, one black, one white; one male, one female; one from the coast, one from the interior; one slightly more moderate and one slightly more progressive than the center-left Democratic Party sweet spot.)

        • BJ
          Posted October 16, 2019 at 10:32 am | Permalink

          “I am surprised that a couple of relatively high-profile senators like Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker haven’t gotten more attention.”

          That’s what I mean: they’ve stuck with those three. They haven’t let anyone else far enough into the door to make headway.

          My mom watches MSNBC 24 hours a day, but we had this conversation last night and even she agreed that, just as Fox News is the media arm of the Republican Party, MSNBC (and, to a slightly lesser extent, CNN) is the media are of the Democratic Party. I don’t think they sit down with the Democrats and ask what to do; I think it’s more akin to the relationship between SuperPACs and the campaigns with which they don’t coordinate.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted October 16, 2019 at 11:31 am | Permalink

            MSNBC and (to only a slightly lesser extent) CNN are relentless in their coverage of Trump, and only too happy to cast everything he does in the most negative light. But they are not comparable to the dishonest propaganda put out by Fox.

            The prime-time line-up on MSNBC of Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow, and Lawrence O’Donnell are vehemently anti-Trump, but they are meticulous in their reporting of facts (and where they get facts wrong, they scrupulously correct them). The same cannot be said about the Fox line-up of Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham. If you have any doubt, ask the family of Seth Rich.

            • BJ
              Posted October 16, 2019 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

              “but they are meticulous in their reporting of facts (and where they get facts wrong, they scrupulously correct them)”

              I can’t disagree with this more. They might not be as dishonest as Fox, but that’s a hell of a low bar. I have seen them repeatedly misrepresent stories, leave out key facts, and engage in conspiracy theories (Maddow is especially good at that), and they are never “corrected” because they were confected in the first place to fit a certain narrative. And when one of the carefully curated pundits they regularly bring on says something wrong but within the narrative, I rarely hear it corrected, which is, to me, perhaps an even more insidious form of lying, as it leaves plausible deniability despite the questions being asked leading the pundit’s directly to the answer wanted.

              • Posted October 16, 2019 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

                Your comment would carry more weight (or any at all) if you had given at least one instance where MSNBC “misrepresent stories, leave out key facts, and engage in conspiracy theories”. I would truly like to know what you’re talking about. I don’t watch MSNBC very often but I don’t remember them doing any of this.

              • BJ
                Posted October 16, 2019 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

                Since I don’t watch and only see it in passing when visiting my parents, the most recent example I can think of with Maddow was when she said that Trump, Jr. called his dad before and after Jr.’s meeting in Russia. She based this on the fact that the call was listed as “blocked” and just assumed it must have been Trump. She had Adam Schiff on multiple times to talk about the significance of this. When it turned out it wasn’t Trump he called, she, as far as I’m aware, did not correct the record.

                I remember watching her a couple of years ago take twenty minutes to somehow connect the Russian Olympics doping scandal to Trump. I don’t remember how she did it, but she did.

                MSNBC’s uncorrected lies are just the regular, run-of-the-mill stuff we see on this site and others that criticize the left, from the Covington School MAGA hat kid supposedly assaulting the kind Native American man with his smile, to the idea that it’s a fact that Trump is in kahootz with Putin, to having pundits on to talk about debunked science (like implicit bias).

                I also hate how they willingly ignore things that don’t fit their narratives. Can you imagine the exposés they’d be running if it was Republican representatives saying and doing the things Rep. Omar has said and done? Oh, and they reported on Omar and Tlaib’s trip to Israel in an incredibly dishonest manner.

                Then there’s the formation of narratives based on stories that they form from the clay of the facts. Stories like the black woman who had the cops called on her because she was at her neighborhood’s swiiming pool. Could it have been because of racism? Sure, but nobody came up with evidence for this, yet this was presented as a fact. Occam’s Razor says it wasn’t racism as, if you look at the police reports for any suburban area within a given month, you’ll see even the whitest of white suburbs having people call the cops on one another because they looked suspicious, they were standing by a tree, their dog was unleashed, a daycare read a book a parent didn’t like, a man was sitting in his car near a school, etc.

              • Posted October 16, 2019 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

                So nothing then.

              • rickflick
                Posted October 16, 2019 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

                I watch Maddow every few days, and I’ve seen her on occasion admit an error and make a correction. Generally, though she may be a liberal and a progressive, a fact she readily admits, she seems to stick to the facts. She is guilty of describing events with too much hype, but I think that can be forgiven given the nature of TV economics. I have never suspected her of deliberately lying or fabricating. She will push sinister innuendo a little too much, but not in the way Fox does. Nearly everything on Fox and Friends is complete hooey.

              • BJ
                Posted October 16, 2019 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

                How was that stuff off the top of my head “nothing”? I pointed out examples of each thing you asked for, and then you got mad and said nothing.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 16, 2019 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      Tulsi Gabbard has this weird affinity for the vicious Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

      Plus, she wears white after Labor Day, which simply isn’t the done thing (although she’s from Hawaii, where perhaps different standards of decorum obtain, but still). 🙂

      • Filippo
        Posted October 16, 2019 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        “Plus, she wears white after Labor Day, which simply isn’t the done thing.”

        Who gets to decide these things?

  16. Posted October 16, 2019 at 4:32 am | Permalink

    In net, he says, they’ll be paying less.

    I think that’s true. Here in the UK, healthcare is much cheaper per person than in the USA and yet we seem to get better outcomes, everybody is covered and your illness won’t bankrupt you.

    You are free to top up your healthcare with private insurance if you like, but almost nobody bothers with that unless it is part of their remuneration package from their employer.

    • BJ
      Posted October 16, 2019 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      The reason our costs are so high won’t be solved by Medicare-for-all. Lowering costs involved rules regulating hospital fees, regulating and negotiating with the drug companies, lawsuits, doctors’ and other medical professionals’ insurance, and many, many other issues are the problems. The insurance company costs are simply a reflection of the market in which they work. It is the market of healthcare that needs to be regulated. We won’t be able to pay for Medicare-for-all because it doesn’t address the issues with our system.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted October 16, 2019 at 8:44 am | Permalink

        The power to regulate cost in the U.S. is all in the hands of the insurance companies and pharma. This is why our costs are much higher than most of the rest of the world. If you look at any statement from an insurance company it will show what is charged and then what they will pay. And the Insurance companies really have no incentive to reduce costs, it is easier to raise premiums. Ours is basically an unregulated charge whatever you want system. It is easily the worst system available.

      • Posted October 16, 2019 at 8:56 am | Permalink

        And do you know why all those things are cheaper in the UK? It’s because the government, as the biggest healthcare provider, has enormous leverage.

        • BJ
          Posted October 16, 2019 at 9:28 am | Permalink

          And yet, our government won’t have that leverage even with Medicare-for-all because these things need to be fixed by acts of Congress. Unlike what Randall says, the insurance companies do not make the decisions regarding, say, what hospitals are allowed to charge for a roll of toilet paper.

          The government will just be paying the same continuously rising costs that the insurance companies are paying, and those costs will have to be passed on through taxes instead of through premiums.

          Your governments have leverage because they regulated these things long ago and because the lobbying groups for them aren’t nearly as strong and act under far stricter rules than here in the US.

          Things aren’t as simple as we’d like them to be.

          • Posted October 16, 2019 at 11:05 am | Permalink

            Right fine. Clearly America does not deserve a decent healthcare system. Let’s give up.

            Or instead of complaining that it’s too hard, you (America, not just you personally) could actually do something. If the government is the biggest customer of the hospitals and drug companies, the government has a huge negotiating advantage over prices.

            The biggest problem you have with respect to costs is that the insurance companies don’t care what the hospitals charge, they just pass on the costs to their customers.

            • BJ
              Posted October 16, 2019 at 11:11 am | Permalink

              “Right fine. Clearly America does not deserve a decent healthcare system. Let’s give up.”

              You’re right, that’s what I said. And I, as an American who takes seven different medications and sees four different doctors and pays over $1,000 a month for my healthcare plan totally don’t want to see my system reformed.

              Or maybe my point was that it’s not as easy as you think.

          • Adam M.
            Posted October 16, 2019 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

            Yeah, we’ve even have a law prohibiting Medicare administrators from using their leverage to negotiate lower drug prices. Pure political corruption. Given the money in politics, Congress is often opposed to improvement, not merely negligent.

            • rickflick
              Posted October 16, 2019 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

              And, by “Congress” who is it specifically? Republican? Democrat? Or a mixture of both who are on the take?

        • BJ
          Posted October 16, 2019 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

          Oh, by the way, you left out another really important point: The UK owns a hell of a lot of its hospitals, pays a lot of its doctors, etc. Are we also going to socialize that in America? Are we going to write and pass sweeping legislation making hospitals owned by the federal government, hiring doctors, etc.?

          • Posted October 17, 2019 at 5:17 am | Permalink

            There was a time in the UK when all the hospitals were private. We managed to create the NHS in just a few years and in the wake of a war that practically bankrupted us.

            The US health system is inhuman and it costs more per person than our system. You might be happy with your healthcare that costs you $12,000 per year but there are plenty of people who can’t afford that sort of money. Your system needs to be changed and you’re not going to do it by wailing about how hard it is.

            • rickflick
              Posted October 17, 2019 at 10:17 am | Permalink

              Hear, hear!

  17. Filippo
    Posted October 16, 2019 at 4:35 am | Permalink

    I didn’t watch. Before the debate in TX I watched the pre-“debate” circus. In a country refulgent with booster-ism, the Houston Mayor and other Texas politicos set the bar of bloviation pretty high. I’d wondered if their confreres in Ohio would be able to meet that standard.

  18. Randall Schenck
    Posted October 16, 2019 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    I find it interesting how so many people here and in America seem to think health care for everyone is a bad idea. Most other countries of any standing have had it for years. Are we really that poor and stupid? Also, notice that most who are against Medicare for all probably do not even understand what that means. They also are likely already on medicare or have what they think is a good private insurance. You have to know that Obama care never came close to covering everyone. But it was great for someone, right?

  19. ladyatheist
    Posted October 16, 2019 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Mayor Pete seemed more passionate than in the past. His biggest drawback for me had been his academic style. I think he’s starting to go with his emotions more, which is more effective.

    Kamala Harris southernized her style a bit too much. I suspect she’s given up on Iowa & New Hampshire and is going after South Carolina voters.

    Klobuchar impresses me at each one of these, and I think a Midwesterner should be the nominee, but she doesn’t seem to be gaining on the others.

    Not attacking Biden was a good move, coming after this Ukraine business. I disagree with the pundits about this being due to Warren’s surge. I think they just don’t want to give ammunition to Trump.

    Having all these people throw out a bunch of ideas is good for 2020, I hope. Whoever gets the nomination will know which ones are toxic and which are winners.

    But then if both Trump & Pence get impeached and removed from office, Pelosi would be running as an incumbent so it would all be moot.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted October 16, 2019 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      That’s pretty good, Pelosi running as an incumbent. I think she might be laughing at that one.

  20. Historian
    Posted October 16, 2019 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    I found no Democratic candidate repugnant in terms of policy. I will support with enthusiasm whomever is the ultimate nominee. There cannot be positive change until Trump is out of office. The differences between them are relatively minor. I would have liked to hear more about their foreign policy views. Instead, we had another absurd debate about health care. As I noted in detail in my previous comments on earlier debates, any proposal by a president will be changed by Congress and the president will sign whatever bill is presented to him/her and declare victory. This will be the case for any bill, on any subject, that the president proposes. Thus, in evaluating the candidates, I ask myself two questions, both difficult to answer.

    The first is who has the best chance of beating Trump? The polls seem to indicate that at least among the current front runners, they all can. I think among the second tier candidates, Amy Kobuchar, Mayor Pete, and Cory Booker can as well. These people will retain the support of the Democratic base while winning over those undecided. They can across as people Mid-Westerners will support because they come across as non-radicals.

    The second question is who can best lead the country out of the morass created by Trump into a sane world where government actually helps people, conducts a foreign policy that doesn’t alienate allies, and makes an all-out effort to combat climate change? Bernie and Biden are too old. At their age, anything can happen at any time. If either of them win the presidency, they would be in their mid-eighties during their second term. Of course, I would still vote for either one of them with the hope that their vice-president would be a person I can lead the country. Warren comes across as shrill. I think she would have difficulty working with Congress. I think Amy Klobuchar and Mayor Pete have the personalities to lead the country and work with Congress. I would be happy to see either of these two gain the nomination. But, again, nothing is more important that defeating Trump.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 16, 2019 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      In the early head-to-head polling (which is notoriously unreliable as a rule, but which I believe there is reason to think is less so here) Trump draws 40% support, give or take a point or two, no matter which Democratic opponent he’s matched up against (although the numbers in favor of his proposed opponents varies somewhat more, according to that opponent’s own name recognition).

      Trump’s numbers are consistent with his unprecedentedly consistent low approval rating over the course of his 33 months in office (which is one reason I think the polling may be more reliable than usual). Hell, I doubt Trump/Pence could win more than 40% of the vote against any Democratic ticket, including one comprised of Leopold/Loeb. 🙂

      The only path to reelection for Trump is to continue to go so relentlessly negative that he can drive his eventual Democratic opponent’s approval so low as to get (as Mayor Pete puts it) “within cheating distance.”

    • rickflick
      Posted October 16, 2019 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      “with the hope that their vice-president would be a person I can lead the country”. I’m thinking this will be crucial for any of the older candidates. They will certainly have to nominate someone from the younger group. Biden should not chose Warren. Biden and Booker would make a great team. Booker would naturally in an emergency and take over for the second term.
      As far as the congress goes, I don’t see much hope of any progressive legislation passing the Senate. Unless Democrats win the congress, I think Moscow Mitch will stonewall until a republican president is elected. He’s that kind of guy. The best a Democratic president can hope for is to rule by executive order until McConnell is pushing up daisies.

      • Posted October 16, 2019 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        If anyone plants daisies over McConnell’s grave, they’ll likely go up in smoke and flames.

        • rickflick
          Posted October 16, 2019 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

          I’ll plant them myself if no one else will!

  21. Posted October 16, 2019 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Here is how Trump will win in 2020:

    Socialists will take away your healthcare choice
    Socialists will confiscate your guns
    Socialists will raise your taxes

    Cas closed. It’s the old Democrat circular firing squad.

    • Historian
      Posted October 16, 2019 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      It is not difficult to search the internet to find people who speak with absolute certainty that Trump or the Democrat will win. Many of these people will be wrong, but that will not stop them from prognosticating, notwithstanding that they were dead wrong about the previous election. One of those people could be you or you could turn out to be a seer. Let’s see what happens.

  22. Lorna Salzman
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    I’m surprised that none of you recognized that the question to Warren (will your health plan raise taees?) was intended as a “gotcha” question? And that her response (in the end we will pay less) is the honest response to a dishonest question. And Beto’s accusing warren of being “punitive” for wanting to tax billionaires (and only at the margin) was dumb and mean? As for Klobuchar, I like her less and less. She’s just another centrist Democrat. And Gabbard? If she isn’t a Russian front, she sure sounds like one and her repeated refrain about a “regime change war” was completely pointless and meaningless. I love Bernie but in the end I hope he will withdraw and endorse Warren, the most informed, honest and experienced candidate…and her increasing support across the country proves it. I changed my registration from Independent to Democrat just so I can vote for her.

    • Posted October 19, 2019 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      Why is the question a “gotcha” one? I’m not sure how it was actually phrased in the debate but I took it as “Explain how your plan is going to be funded.” I’m all for a plan that removes health care from employers’ responsibility as it eliminates complexity involved with difference in employers’ health plans, and people between jobs or without jobs. However, the proposer still has to explain their balance sheet.

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