What do you do when the doctors oppose Medicare for All? | Tuesday Morning Coffee

March 5, 2019 7:05 am

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Good Tuesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
So here’s the good news: The debate over Medicare for All is officially a thing on Capitol Hill. That happened last week when U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.formally rolled out her bill.

Then there was the utterly predictable bad news.

Republicans, including The PenceBot, hastened to declare the bill was a socialist assault on every American’s God-given right to get fleeced on their benefits. And investors, now terrified that insurers might only make a ton of money, rather than a truly offensive amount of money, saw their stocks take a tumble on Monday.

So it was into this breach that U.S. Rep. John Joyce, a freshman Republican from Pennsylvania’s 13th District, promptly jumped.

Joyce, who was a physician before he became the elected representative from ShusterLandpenned an op-Ed for The HIll, where he pleaded for a “bipartisan” solution that, yes, lower costs, but don’t appear to address expanding coverage — which, after all, is the point of Medicare for All.

“As a physician, I always stress to my patients that only the treatment options that have a realistic chance at succeeding should be used. Democrats should heed that same advice in this case, and I look forward to partnering with them if they change their minds and get serious about curing our broken health care system,” Joyce wrote, apparently unaware (or unwilling to acknowledge) that Republicans had years and years to come up with a cure and never did.

Joyce’s op-Ed includes the long-sought elimination of the medical device tax; a call to consider “bipartisan proposals that will allow the doctor-patient relationship to be at the center of patient care,” but doesn’t specify what those are; and some “pre-authorization” reform – which sounds like it’s more focused on making life easier on insurance companies than patients. There’s also a call to fix drug formularies – which is actually needed.

Bringing costs down is a laudable goal. And there’s certainly a debate to be had on the merits and risks of a Medicare for All system, and in the days and weeks to come, we’re certainly going to have it.

But for Joyce to declare, as he does in The Hill, that Democrats are unwilling to countenance alternatives, even as his op-Ed glances over any discussion of expanding coverage — which should be the end goal for policymakers — defeats his own argument.

Our Stuff:
A leading education group wants the state Charter School Appeals Board to stop making rulings until Gov. Tom Wolf and the state Senate get a deal on filling six vacant seatsElizabeth Hardison reports.
Pennsylvania celebrates Charter Day on Sunday. Sarah Anne Hughes has a map of all the free celebrations. And there ain’t no party like a charter day party … er … or something.
Speaking of maps — and who doesn’t love maps? — here’s a map of the most and least prosperous places to live in Pennsylvania.

On the Opinion side of the house, Sean P. Quinlan has a thing or two to say about that alleged national emergency at the border; the president of Misericordia Universitypleads for improving a federal student loan program, and state Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanonenjoys a bit of budgetary Groundhog Day.

U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean’s 
husband has gotten out of the bicycle business. Chinese creditors for his  company, Advance Sports, helped save Philly jobs, The Inquirerreports.
Today is Fastnacht Day. PennLive has your guide on where to buy these sugar bombs.
Residents in Morgantown, Pa. aren’t really thrilled about a proposed casinoPennLivealso reports.
The Post-Gazette looks at how the cost of living in Pittsburgh stacks up against the rest of the country.
BillyPenn predicts what will happen to Bryce Harper’s sartorial sense if he actually spends 13 years in Philadelphia.

Here’s your #Philadelphia Instagram of the Day:

The Morning Call looks back on that time Luke Perry filmed a movie in the Lehigh Valley. Perry, 52, died Monday after suffering a massive stroke last week.
Pittsburgh now has rules for testing self-driving vehicles in the cityThe Incline reports.
Here’s WHYY-FM on the ‘bipartisan skepticism’ in the Pa. House over Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan to raise base pay for teachers.
The Dept. of Environmental Protection has slapped a natural gas pipeline company with a $1.5 million fine over safety concerns in Greene County, StateImpact Pennsylvania reports.
‘Free College’ is a popular (and complicated) thing for reports.
Politico explains how the Democratic prezzy contenders learned to stop worrying and love ethanol.
New U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr isn’t recusing himself from the Mueller probeRoll Call reports.

What Goes On.
Budget hearings roll on in the House and Senate Appropriations committees.
The Depts. of Education and Aging do their thing before the Senate, starting at 10 a.m. In the House, the Department of Environmental ProtectionSERS/PSERS and the Dept. of Agriculture all get their turn. Things also get rolling there at 10 a.m.

Gov. Tom Wolf 
chats with the audience of KDKA-AM at 8:07 a.m. this morning.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s one from The Darker the Shade, the Brighter the Light, a project of Streetsmainman Mike Skinner. It’s “In My Head.”

Tuesday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
got past Buffalo 4-3 on Monday in one of two games.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.