Last updated on 2012.05.28
Yeah, yeah, U.S. House candidate Jeff Barth can make a good campaign video. But here's a signal to us Wellstone-Kucinich-McGovern Democrats that Barth can make good policy on health care. On SDPB's South Dakota Focus last Thursday, Jeff Barth and his Dem primary opponent, Matt Varilek, fielded a question about what we do if the Supreme Court overturns the individual mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Varilek said we need to get serious and, unlike Kristi Noem, propose concrete plans for expanding coverage and decreasing cost.
At 31:12, Jeff Barth said this:
When Presdient Truman was elected in 1948, national health care was his top priority. It took 60 years for us to pass anything. If the Supreme Court throws this out, it would be an opportunity ... to fix some of the drawbacks of the current bill.
I love most of the parts of this bill, but there's an old saying, too many cooks spoil the stew.... Clearly the insurance companies, the pharmaceutical companies, the equipment manufacturers all had some part in making this stew [Jeff Barth, interview, SDPB-TV, South Dakota Focus, 2012.05.24].
Barth dings the privateers... but he's just winding up. Here comes the fastball:
And we see some of the problems now where some groups are not wanting to provide the coverage because they claim it's against their moral beliefs. If we had a single-payer system for the entire country, we could take care of that problem [Barth, 2012.05.24].
Single-payer. Single-payer! Be still my liberal heart! While Matt Varilek espouses the weak GOP idea of letting insurance companies compete across state lines (four words: race to the bottom), Jeff Barth expresses support for single-payer, which we know saves money and saves lives.
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin's opposition to President Obama's Affordable Care Act tipped me into calling for a primary challenge against her last time out. Jeff Barth's recognition that single-payer could solve some of our health coverage problems could be the single-issue tipping point that helps me decide which Dem to vote for next Tuesday.
But be forewarned, fellow Dems: Kristi Noem would be just as happy to make single-payer the only issue we talk about this fall. Consider her campaign manager Tom Erickson's response to Barth's popular campaign video:
It's disappointing that Jeff Barth spent more time talking about chess than his support for a single payer, government-run healthcare system. No amount cheesy special effects can hide the fact that Barth is nothing but a dyed-in-the-wool Obama Democrat [Tom Erickson, in Kristen Tripodi, "The Race for South Dakota's Lone Congressional Seat Heats Up," KOTA-TV, 2012.05.24].
Jeff, fellow Dems, are you ready to have that fight?
Related: Barth has an ally in Rep. Jim McDermott. The Washington Democrat plans to introduce legislation that would allow states to use Medicare and Medicaid allotments to set up their own single-payer systems. Jeff! Grab that plan and run it as a states-rights argument against Kristi!