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Trumpcare Fiasco/Logic For The Left

Medicare For All advocate, Dr. John Geyman, rejoins us to discuss his latest book “Struggling and Dying Under Trumpcare: How We Can Fix This Fiasco.” And philosophy professor Ben Burgis explains how to “Give Them an Argument: Logic For The Left.” Plus, David Helvarg comes on in the Wrap Up to explain how he’s “Putting The Blue in the Green New Deal.”

John Geyman is an M.D. and professor emeritus of family medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. As a family physician with 21years in academic medicine, he has also practiced in rural communities for 13 years. Dr. Geyman has served as president of Physicians for a National Health Program and is a member of the National Academy of Medicine. His new book is entitled; Struggling and Dying Under Trumpcare: How We Can Fix This Fiasco. 

“In 1912, Teddy Roosevelt ran as a progressive for national health insurance. And it’s been shut down politically all these years since then. But, it’s not a fringe idea.” Dr. John Geyman, author of Struggling and Dying Under Trumpcare: How We Can Fix This Fiasco

 

Ben Burgis teaches philosophy at Rutgers. He is the author of a new book entitled Give Them an Argument: Logic for the Left. It’s published by Zero Books, which produces a YouTube channel that also features Professor Burgis. You can also see him every Tuesday evening on the Michael Brooks Show. 

“I would make a distinction between liberals and leftists. I think that in the kind of MSNBC liberal like Rachel Maddow you get this technocratic centrism: that political problems come from people being too ideological, not thinking hard enough about the sort of technocratic wonky solutions to them. That’s why Obama spent his whole first term trying to pursue a Grand Bargain with Republicans, because he thought that if everybody could just get over all this ideology then they could just reason together and figure out how to slash entitlements and allegedly save Social Security… And that’s very different than the left wing values I care about.” Professor Ben Burgis, author of Give Them an Argument: Logic For The Left

8 Comments

  1. Afdal Shahanshah says:

    Unfortunately, whether or not the government or private capitalists do stuff are neither how socialism, communism, anarchism, leftism, nor Marxism are defined by people actually on the Left. That Leftists want a state to simply come in and do everything is an old, tired canard from the Red Scare derived from misunderstandings over what the Soviet Union was or aspired to be. What people care about on the Left is principally how production and work are organized. Perhaps the reason Ralph was never “tempted” by Marxism is because he never bothered to get off his intellectually lazy high horse and actually READ Marx beyond the manifesto. You call yourself a progressive because you care about facts and empiricism? Okay Ralph, socialists can make that claim too. Karl Marx built upon a political economy theory from Adam Smith and David Ricardo called the labor theory of value. This theory makes a set of predictions about how capitalist economies work that can be confronted with empirical data, and it turns how to have been validated by over a century of data. The implications of this theory being right are profound and include that a) all work in capitalist businesses is inherently exploitative, b) capitalism in an inherently unsustainable system, and c) capitalism cannot be effectively regulated because the very act of working empowers a small class of employers.

    It never ceases to astound me how Ralph can devour all these books by contemporary policy wonks but never find the time to read some of the classic literature underpinning the core philosophy of his closest allies Left of him. You don’t get to claim a monopoly on factual, scientific righteousness if you can’t meet their arguments beyond a misinformed straw man.

    • Patrick Maley says:

      I don’t think anyone could accuse someone who has studied and written as much as Nader of being “intellectually lazy”. There are many roads to progressivism and socialism, including many much-neglected ones from American history (Thomas Paineite proto-socialists like Fanny Wright; Agrarian Populists like George Norris or the Non-Partisan League; single-tax followers of Henry George; left New Dealers, etc.). Marx, while obviously important, was a critic of a very different type of capitalism, before monopoly finance capitalism, before military Keynesianism, before the era of growth that followed WWII, before decolonization. While right about some things (the labor theory of value, falling rate of profit, the role of the credit system, fictitious capital) he was wrong about others (historic role of the working class, the place of people in the developing world, a teleological view of history). On the level of policy, you can support something like Medicare-for-all from a variety of different philosophical, political, or moral positions so I’m not sure the theory behind it matters all that much. The Levellers in England found their way to socialism 200 years before Marx even existed.

      • Afdal Shahanshah says:

        The reason I presume some degree of intellectual laziness is because literally every single time I have ever heard Ralph bring up the anti-capitalist Left or “socialism” he acts like he’s really knowledgeable but then proceeds to beat up on a totally misinformed straw man. It’s easy to not be “tempted” by a point of view when you refuse to even learn what that point of view is genuinely all about. He should bring on Richard Wolff sometime, maybe he could talk some sense into Ralph.

  2. Ben Leet says:

    Medicare for All not only saves everyone money, it provides better health outcomes for all. That is the primary argument.
    Even though a survey shows 70% favor Medicare 4 All (M4A), the problem is persuasion. As David said in the intro, we don’t know how to promote our arguments. I’ve been reading and watching, and I recommend PERI/umass.edu (PERI at Univ. of Mass/Amherst), and then find their line for “Economic Analysis of Medicare for All”. There is a short three pager outlining this bill. And there’s a link to about 20 articles in different media that summarize the bill, and then the report of 200 pages. And then watch a 40 minute video by Dr. Ed Weisbart – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkrVU5i26Ho — He is a Physician for National Health Care. He’s clear and detailed.

    It’s probably best to be sure of a few points, and here are the few that I find important. Here’s a quote from the short PERI summary: “Researchers find that the net costs of health care for middle-income families would fall by between 2.6 and 14 percent of income.” Everyone saves except for households with incomes above $221,000. I went to the PERI long report (page 87) and found that depending on income families all save up to the top-earning 20%. For instance an income of $221,000 will pay $8,210 yearly, about 4% of family income. And corporations would see an 8% reduction in their present insurance expenses, as they would still be required to pay for 60% in the M4A that is not presently covered by public spending. The program M4A would elimate about $7 trillion in waste (insurance companies), and add $4 trillion in new costs treating the uninsured (28 million) and under-insured (78 million). That’s a net reduction of $3 trillion, about 10% of total spending on health care presently. We save. Everyone saves. Most importantly, we get better care for all. Health care for all, not for those who can pay the outrageous costs. Insurance inflation has sucked wage growth out of the economy — average weekly income of “nonsupervisory workers” was higher in 1965 than in 2019, 54 years of no wage growth. See “bls data” for proof. It’s time for a fight over this. I had a hip replacement surgery. I researched the cost of the surgery in other countries. England at the time charged $11,000. The U.S. charged $67,000 where I live. You know similar stories. It’s a monster. It’s like buying a 20 year-old Chevy that you can’t get smogged and it has a raspy sound in the transmission, and you have to pay double it value.

  3. Trudy Hess says:

    Thank you for this excellent information. Ralph talked about what our current system costs us in dollars, death, and suffering. One cost not mentioned is how much of our personal time the current system costs us in reconciling statements, keeping track of deductibles, dealing with the insurance company when they refuse coverage, etc. My husband & I are in our 70’s and in excellent health. Our medical needs consist of routine physicals, preventative screenings, and an occasional doctor visit for minor illness. And still we spend many hours every year on the complexity of managing the financial end. This should not be. The system is robbing us of precious time. A person who has complicated health issues is least equipped to deal with all this, yet must spend many more hours than we do. This is unacceptable, and must be remedied.

  4. Ben Leet says:

    A mistake — I added a zero. Here’s the accurate version:

    Medicare for All not only saves everyone money, it provides better health outcomes for all. That is the primary argument.
    Even though a survey shows 70% favor Medicare 4 All (M4A), the problem is persuasion. As David said in the intro, we don’t know how to promote our arguments. I’ve been reading and watching, and I recommend PERI/umass.edu (PERI at Univ. of Mass/Amherst), and then find their line for “Economic Analysis of Medicare for All”. There is a short three pager outlining this bill. And there’s a link to about 20 articles in different media that summarize the bill, and then the report of 200 pages. And then watch a 40 minute video by Dr. Ed Weisbart – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkrVU5i26Ho — He is a Physician for National Health Care. He’s clear and detailed.

    It’s probably best to be sure of a few points, and here are the few that I find important. Here’s a quote from the short PERI summary: “Researchers find that the net costs of health care for middle-income families would fall by between 2.6 and 14 percent of income.” Everyone saves except for households with incomes in “the top 20 percent income group,” which is today income over $127,144. I went to the PERI long report (page 87) and found that depending on income families all save up to the top-earning 20%. For instance an income of $221,000 will pay $8,210 yearly, about 4% of family income. And corporations would see an 8% reduction in their present insurance expenses, as they would still be required to pay for 60% in the M4A that is not presently covered by public spending. But they would pay less than today’s insurance costs.
    The program M4A would elimate about $700 billion in waste (insurance companies), and add $400 billion in new costs treating the uninsured (28 million) and under-insured (78 million). That’s a net reduction of $300 billion, about 10% of total spending on health care presently. ($310 billion precisely.) We save. Everyone saves. Most importantly, we get better care for all. Health care for all, not for those who can pay the outrageous costs. Insurance inflation has sucked wage growth out of the economy — average weekly income of “nonsupervisory workers” was higher in 1965 than in 2019, 54 years of no wage growth. See “bls data” for proof. It’s time for a fight over this. I had a hip replacement surgery. I researched the cost of the surgery in other countries. England at the time charged $11,000. The U.S. charged $67,000 where I live. You know similar stories. It’s a monster. It’s like buying a 20 year-old Chevy that you can’t get smogged and it has a raspy sound in the transmission, and you have to pay double it value. One last thing: the poverty rate will go down because medical expenses that drive families into bankruptcy will be eliminated. The Supplemental Poverty Measure, 2018, shows that without “out-of-pocket” medical expenses the poverty rate drops from 13.9 to 10.5 (Table A-6). What’s not to like?

  5. joe marcinkowski says:

    John, What did you do to “piss off” Amazon so badly? They list your Kindle at $415 and paperback for $16xx ?
    Wow! This must be a powerful book.

    https://www.amazon.in/Struggling-Dying-Under-Trumpcare-Fiasco-ebook/dp/B07S86FNTY

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