So Mano Singham has a post up celebrating Bernie Sanders’ recent interview answer on Medicare for All. I agree it’s good, and I agree folks should head over to Mano’s blog and watch it.
But I can’t help wishing it was even better. I want a politics that stirs my soul. There are reasons why The West Wing included only short snippets of fictional president Bartlett’s political speeches. It’s because there must be information communicated. There must be exposition. It cannot all be rousing climax. We need Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, my two favorite candidates, and the others running for the Democratic nomination to talk about Lancet studies and age limits, coverage categories and copays, bills and billions. But we also desperately need leaders to raise our hopes, to show us that they cherish our dreams as much as we do ourselves.
Sanders was asked a question about an actor’s guild member. I have some small idea of how tough it is to qualify for the union, to qualify for guild membership because I actually acquired a couple equity points decades ago. I worked hard on a number of shows, and I was never close to joining the union. So I’m no actor, but I can sympathize with the person who asked the question recognizing that M4A is good for the uninsured but wanting some recognition that some people had fought hard to get their coverage and wanting to know what M4A would do for them.
Watching Sanders give his answer, I wish he would have said something about the Actor’s journey to get health insurance.
I wish he would have asked the actor, “Do you know anyone who had to take a non-acting job for the health benefits?” The answer would certainly be yes. Then Sanders could have said,
Everyone recognizes that our scattershot, private insurance system costs a lot of dollars, but have you factored in the cost of giving up your dreams? What if you had gotten sick shortly before gaining enough equity points to join your union? How many people can’t afford to try to reach the heights to which they’re capable of climbing if only they were free to do so? I can tell you how many dollars our current system costs and how many dollars we will save with Medicare For All – and I’ll get to those numbers in a minute – but what is the cost in dreams abandoned? You think we’re a great country now? You just wait until we free the people of the united states to pursue their happiness, to pursue their dreams. The value we will create cannot be counted.