Among the many truisms about America that we learn growing up is the concept that elections are usually fought on the plain of ideas. That is that the candidate or party with the better ideas for making citizen’s lives better will be the candidate that will carry the day. The coming presidential election will be a real test of the truth of that little saying.
An article on dailykos.com caught my eye on the night of the fourth. The story was of yet another Democratic presidential candidate proposing yet another solid and workable solution to yet another looming problem.
In this case the problem is the coming long term care that will be needed for the aging population that currently has no good solutions. The state of Washington, under the governorship of Democratic presidential candidate Jay Inslee, is implementing a plan that will begin covering folks in in a couple years. The plan looks like one that could be implemented nationwide:
“The slowly ticking time bomb all health care wonks have been thinking about for decades is inextricably speeding up as the population ages: long-term care and the utter lack of humane solutions we’ve been able to come up with as a society. One state, however, is figuring out how to do it. Absent inclusion of long-term care in an eventual top-to-bottom healthcare system reform, Washington state is providing the model.
There are essentially three ways that care for sick, elderly, and fundamentally disabled people is covered: personal wealth (which runs out fast); private insurance; and Medicaid. Private long-term coverage plans are often prohibitively expensive, with people paying for coverage they may never use. Unlike standard health insurance, which some people seem to have a hard enough time grasping as essential, no one can be certain they’ll use that long-term care insurance, so it has a limited market. That means premiums have to be set high. The Medicaid alternative is the most common, forcing families to deliberately impoverish themselves to meet the income limits.
What Washington has done under Gov. Jay Inslee (a Democratic candidate for president), is to create the Long-Term Care Trust Act. Christopher F. Koller, president of the Milbank Memorial Fund and Terry Fulmer, president of the John A. Hartford Foundation, describe it: “It is old-fashioned social insurance, collecting funds from a broad population to pay for the future needs of those who need assistance. Workers will pay a mandatory payroll tax, but a small one: 58 cents per month for every $100 income starting in 2022. That works out to $18 a year for the average wage earner. These contributions will be banked in a trust fund.
A very sensible plan for a looming problem that will be hitting nearly every family at some time.
This is yet another in the string of policy proposals from Democrats to address many of this country’s problems large and small. Many of the proposals have come from current Democratic presidential candidates. Other ideas have come from members of congress.
Proposals that have been offered by Democratic candidates include among others:
- Climate solutions for what will be an existential threat for the planet. Perhaps the first proposal offered was by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but pretty much every presidential candidate has offered some solution.
- Solutions to get access to health care for every American
- Solutions to address the student debt crisis and to stop it from happening again.
- Solutions to immigration questions. The Trump created problems on the border are as inhuman as America has ever had.
- Strengthening and extending Social Security. Medicare and Medicaid would be strengthened through universal health care coverage.
- Addressing environmental problems that are beyond climate change problems.
- Addressing wealth inequality which leads to a huge discrepancy in political power.
- Addressing near monopolistic corporations.
- Addressing racial divisions and other divisions ( eg gender) in our society
- Make elections more transparent and open to all citizens.
We have major problems. The Democratic Party through its members and candidates have at least proposed solutions. Something simply must be done. If ignored, many of these problems will become (some already are) disastrous situations for our country.
The right in this country is generally devoid of ideas beyond letting those chosen by some God (as evidenced by their wealth) run things. Trump is the essence of that philosophy. What are their proposals for the above problems?
- Continue on the path we are. Ignore warning signs and deny humanity’s role in climate change.
- Privatize health care. End the ACA, Medicare and Medicaid. The invisible hand of the market will create solutions.
- Leave student debt as it is. Do nothing to make college more available to lower and middle class students.
- Basically shut down immigration from all but a few countries.
- The current administration is working on a plan to gut Social Security. Known as chained CPI, their plan will choke the value of SS payments.
- Let industry do what they want to the environment.
- Make wealth inequality greater, end minimum wage, bust unions.
- Once again, allow the market to do what it wants.
- Use societal divisions as a tool to whip up and control their base.
- Suppress voters and use gerrymandering to maintain control of elections.
Stated simply. One side has ideas and the other side simply wants to make society worse to maintain their control. Now – will you choose those who have solutions to the problems?