If Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren or anyone else wanted to make a splash at this week’s debate, they should have raised a more important issue than a national health plan.
A national diet is more like it.
And I don’t mean the Trumpian diet of Big Macs and Whoppers.
Sanders just had a heart attack and some stents put in.
On Tuesday night, when asked about his health, he should have simply said, “Pass the steamed bok choy and brown rice, folks. I’m on a no-oil, totally vegan diet to reverse the cardiovascular disease I’ve developed. And if you want to live longer and feel healthy, I’d suggest you follow my lead.”
My go-to nutritionists are Dr. Michael Greger and Dr. Neal Barnard. Google them. They know the keys to the kingdom are at the bottom of the salad bowl.
That would be cheaper than overhauling a health care system with something everyone has a hard time understanding even after they realize such a plan isn’t socialism.
Just common sense.
Leave it to Andrew Yang (or was it SNL’s Bowen Yang) to supply a mantra.
Yang (Andrew, not Bowen) was clever showing up at the debate without a tie as usual, but wearing on his lapel a MATH button, as in “Make America Think Harder.”
One problem. Why aren’t we thinking about eating better instead of thinking so hard about Medicare for All?
The latter concept isn’t hard.
“All” means “all,” with low to zero premiums, costs in check, profit motive out. What isn’t discussed is if it’s like Medicare for Seniors, there is still a way insurance companies participate too. Regular Medicare covers only 80 percent of your costs, and people go to private insurers to get the “gap” coverage to pick up the slack. There’s even the so-called “Medicare Advantage” plans with zero premiums that are all run by insurance companies. Still, the greed factor for insurers is limited, and people are generally happy with Medicare.
Expanding it to everyone the right way boils down to how much we allow the insurers to participate.
It should be limited, if at all.
But these are details to be worked out at the 11th hour, not a year before anyone casts a ballot for the presidency.
Think big picture.
That’s why it’s more important to align with attacking corporate greed and profiteering as Sanders does.
Or talking about values, as Warren does.
But attacking Warren because she won’t say how much your taxes will go up? That’s a bogus debate ploy to cast doubt on the big picture.
Mayor Pete and others insist on a “Medicare for All” for those who want it. But that’s a weak compromise that will hurt real health care reform. Everyone must play in the same pool to keep costs down. Private for some, but not for others, won’t work. People will lose out. If you’re worried about keeping your doctor in the new “for all” plan, don’t. He or she will be in whatever new system because it will be required. And if they want to be elite private doctors to protect their profits, they may not be the doctors for you.
Biden’s public option is a similar compromise, a false choice.
But the compromise puts a limit on the vast potential pool of the covered. You need that for things to work. Costs go down the larger that pool is. Costs go up when it’s smaller.
There’s a reason why seniors love Medicare now. It works. Everyone’s in. And it can work for everyone across generational lines in the entire country.
But we won’t get there without a full embrace of the big picture.
Remember. Everyone is covered; costs will be lowered.
And insurers will be prevented from making your healing into their cash cow.
The healing arts shouldn’t be about massive corporate profits and your financial bankruptcy.
But that’s where health care is today. That needs to change.
Warren may be playing a bit by not saying taxes will go up. But if they do, she knows it won’t be that much compared to how high health care costs would be if the system doesn’t go full on Medicare For All.
As for the others, they’re thinking too much about what has become the lifeblood of politics. Money. It’s hard to condemn corporate profiteering when your fundraising depends on it outside of healthcare.
Remember the corporate food folks have GMO’ed everything and made you eat cheese (fat) and sugar (sweet death) all these years.
Think of your immigrant relatives who arrived to America on an Asian veggie and rice diet. Ten to fifteen years later, I bet they’ve climbed the fast food ladder and busted up the BMI charts.
It’s the new American profile.
Hello high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
NOT BERNIE’S HEALTH CARE PLAN, BERNIE’S DIET
So I’m surprised Bernie was not more forthright after his recent heart attack.
If we all eat healthy, we won’t get sick. And we’ll live longer. (Calorie restriction leads to longevity.)
The facts are in.
The number one cause of death in America isn’t smoking. Not anymore.
Here’s a video from Nutritionfacts.org:
Veganism was mentioned once on Tuesday, by Cory Booker, who joked about having a meal with meat-eating Ted Cruz. (There are some people I wouldn’t mind eat meat to their heart’s discontent. But my compassionate side would definitely suggest a tofu intervention for Ted Cruz.) Booker has talked about veganism in a previous debate but stayed clear of alienating meat-eating voters. Yang has also mentioned vegan diets.
But Bernie had a built-in reason to link health and diet in this debate. It would have been so cool to see Bernie say, “For my next big rally, I’m going to Queens where you can get the best steamed veggies in New York!”
Added benefit: Go vegan and ward off not just heart disease and diabetes, but climate change with one bite.
The methane for cows contributes more to global warming than you think. More than the methane from politicians.
These debates are performances, but they are actually useful. Done on a regular basis, they can work to keep campaign costs lower. A series of debates makes the politicians seem like the characters on “Friends.”
This week could have been the episode where Bernie has his heart attack and goes vegan, while his buddies needle Warren about health care taxes. And Klobuchar talks about her AA dad (not Asian American, but Alcoholics Anonymous.)
We learn something personal about all of the candidates. And that’s why you vote for someone. Not because they have a specific “plan.” We find a way to really care about them.
OTHER DEBATE THOUGHTS
Funny how that last debate question from AC360 on based on Ellen DeGeneres and George W. Bush–essentially a “name your strange bedfellow” question–was probably more revealing than other questions. And it may have been more useful in figuring out why people vote for someone.
Tulsi Gabbard, from Hawaii, was busy masking her eagerness to please and trying to impress with a thin aloha. It’s fairly transparent. “Regime change war”? Does that make her odd friendship with Assad better? But that’s not the strange bedfellow answer to the question. It was former Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy, who just joined Trump’s strategy team. Does that endear her to Democrats?
And then there’s stealth Asian American, Kamala Harris. You know her as the prosecutor, the leader of the largest justice department of all the 50 states. But she mentioned her mom from India for the first time during the debate. It was a switch to the all encompassing “New America” diversity model. Did she not poll well in 90 percent white Iowa as the child of forced busing? It was a revealing bit when she talked about her mother and then recalled her black father, who left the family when she was five years old. She never mentioned that detail before. Harris should talk more about her mom. It may help her win in her own state.
I don’t think the debate changed anything. Warren is the punching bag. Biden was ignored. Bernie was spared. Klobuchar is trying so hard, she is wearing purple. Like Warren? Or like Minnesota favorite son, the late Prince? Mayor Pete is coming up, but after the top three, everyone else seems to be aiming for veep? Yang is like the provocateur thinker. Booker wants everyone to speak nice. Castro gets left out. There may not be another episode for him.
Just think, when the Republicans went through this in 2015 and 2016, we saw the real Trump: rude, crude, cursing, and stalking. And he still won.
It says there’s a segment out there who just don’t care. Outside media folks and politicos, there are people who are simply overlooked and ignore the process.
Asian Americans know how that feels.
And what of our issues? Did the debate cover immigration? DACA? Or with three AAPIs on stage, do we remain the genericized 21 million?
Only Pete Buttigieg kept coming back on Tuesday to talk about those left out, the non-political class. He knows the political class is one audience. The voters who will ultimately drop in and make the choice between a tier one and a tier two candidate are another species of animal.
Those folks don’t seem to know or care yet, if they ever will at all. They may even stay away. They’re the ones that count in the end.
The first one to relate to us gets my attention. Maybe they even say, “Pass the Bok Choy”?