Search Results : bernie sanders

Noem/TrumpCare to Increase Health Care Costs for South Dakotans

At least Congresswoman Kristi Noem and her fellow Trumpublicans are going big on their upward wealth distribution. Instead of nickel-and-diming us to death, they’re 1,700-dollaring us to death. Noem remains coy about the Republican border adjustment tax, which the Club for Growth says will cost middle-class families $1,700 a year. But Noem is full-throatedly in favor of the GOP health care plan, which will cost people currently covered by the ACA another $1,700 each year:

The House Republican health plan would give consumers in the health insurance marketplace nationally an average of $1,700 less help with premiums in 2020, compared to the ACA’s premium tax credits, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The losses would be larger for older and lower-income consumers, and lower-income consumers would also lose help with deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs. Consumers’ costs would probably increase even more than tax credits would fall, since the House plan would likely cause individual market premiums to rise [Aviva Aron-Dine and Tara Straw, “House Tax Credits Would Make Health Insurance Far Less Affordable in High-Cost States,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2017.03.09].

That’s $1,700 in increased out-of-pocket costs on average. According to the same source, South Dakota is one of eleven high-cost states where Kristi and the Trumpublicans will axe tax credits by more than $3,000.

CBPP TrumpCare tax credit cuts by state

Nineteen of the twenty states losing the most Affordable Care Act assistance in buying individual market insurance all voted for Trump.

And these losses are just the premium tax credits the GOP will cut and redistribute to richer policy buyers. Noem’s health care plan also eliminates the ACA cost-sharing subsidies that reduce out-of-pocket costs for folks earning 100% to 250% of the poverty level, eliminates small-business tax credits, and allows insurers to charge older folks two-thirds more than the ACA allows*. The Trumpublican plan also shifts $370 billion over ten years in Medicaid costs to the states. That’s $253 billion cut from Medicaid expansion, likely forcing most expansion states to drop that ACA benefit, and $116 billion in new per capita caps cutting funding for seniors, people with disabilities, and families with children in all states. The proceeds of these cuts would mostly fund tax cuts for the rich.

The per-capita caps are supposed to make already lean Medicaid more efficient… yet Noem and her Republican colleagues have no problem allowing private insurers to become more inefficient by allowing insurance companies to deduct more of their executive pay and benefits as business expenses. The ACA capped those executive-compensation deductions at $500,000, encouraging insurers to sink their money into more customer-oriented expenses.

I look forward to Congresswoman Noem’s town halls when she explains to real live South Dakotans the merits of paying more for insurance.

Related Reading: Douglas Wiken spotlights conservative commentator David Brooks’s critique of Noem/TrumpCare. Brooks writes in the New York Times that TrumpCare will kick ten million people off their health insurance, increasing “fear, isolation, social tension, chronic illness, suicide and bankruptcy.” Brooks suggests that the failure of the Noem/Trump plan may finally provoke voters to “destroy market mechanisms to get the security they crave.” Bernie Sanders 2020, anyone?

Update 08:46 CST: Charlie the Squirrel and AARP agree that the TrumpCare Age Tax deserves the ax:



Newquist: Trump Vile, Malicious

In his explanation of the difference between 2010’s Tea Party protests and today’s resistance to the dangerous and incompetent White House, Dr. David Newquist neatly summarizes why we should all object to the Presidency of Donald Trump:

Trump PinocchioThe resistance to Trump is also a rejection of a personality, but not a rejection based on race. There is a moral and intellectual imperative behind this rejection. Donald Trump is, plain and simple, a vile human being. He lies constantly. It has become a journalistic custom to list the falsehoods and abusive insults he delivers each day. His reputation as a “business leader” is in fact a record of fraud and failure. He has single-handedly transformed the Grand Old Party into the Grabbers Of Pussy. He refuses to reveal his tax records and other evidence of his conflicts of interest. He serves the one percent by loading his cabinet with the ultra-weathy and corporate managers for the purpose of dismantling those agencies which serve and protect the people. His executive orders are directed at oppressing and inflicting harm on people more than implementing any Constitutional protections….

Everything Trump has done since he took office is an extension of his campaign. And his campaign has been predicated on who he can oppress and hurt. What characterizes him and his supporters is the intensity of their malice and misanthropy. He and his kind expend all their energy in looking for some pretext for hatred. The pretexts are based upon dishonesty. The Trump world lives in a world fabricated out of malice [David Newquist, “This Ain’t No Tea Baggin’ Party, Mama,” Northern Valley Beacon, 2017.02.26].

This vile, malicious, misinforming and uninformed creature speaks to Congress tonight at 8 p.m. Central, 7 p.m. Mountain.

Related: Moral leader Senator Bernie Sanders laughs at the President’s ignorance and keeps pushing for better health care policy for all Americans:



Franken, Sanders, Warren Show DeVos Unfit for Education Secretary

Asked to respond to a basic question about proficiency versus growth as testing metrics, Betsy DeVos, Trump nominee for Secretary of Education, served word salad instead of a cogent answer.

Fortunately for us, she served that salad to intelligent and informed Senator Al Franken:

Senator Bernie Sanders takes his turn to ask DeVos is she thinks she’d be on the edge of Secretaryship if she weren’t a multimillionaire, then tries to get her to address whether his free tuition plan is as important as her boss’s tax-cuts-for-the-rich plan:

Senator Elizabeth Warren points out the lack of vetting for Trump’s Education nominee, asks if DeVos has any qualifications to deal with higher education lending and financing, and then neatly ties in the fake Trump University to the incoming Administration’s ability to protect taxpayer dollars from similar waste, fraud, and abuse:

Pay attention to that ending: offered an easy “you betcha” question, Secretary DeVos declines to not commit to enforcing existing rules that protect students from lying, cheating for-profit “colleges”.

DeVos is not up for Education Secretary because she understands real education issues or wants to help all Americans get an education. DeVos is up for this job because she is rich, and because she will fight to protect her fellow rich people.

Democrats, take note: Franken, Sanders, and Warren show us how to deal with Trumpists: by asking them direct questions that they can’t answer. Franken/Warren 2020.



Michael Moore: Call Your Congresspeople, Protest, and Run for Office

An eager reader shares filmmaker Michael Moore’s latest post on how to resist tyranny. Moore recommends five specific actions:

  1. “Make your presence known” by telling your Representative and Senators to block all the damage Trump is going to do or expect to lose their seat in 2018 at the hands of a Tea Party 2010-style revolt. This recommendation fits with “Indivisible,” a resistance guide compiled by former congressional staffers recommending an application of 2010 Tea Party strategy to today’s anti-Trumpism.
  2. “Write to the DNC tonight” and tell them to elect Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison as their chair. Ellison is Bernie Sanders’s pick for leading the Democratic Party. Whether the DNC pick makes any difference to rejuvenating the South Dakota Democratic Party remains to be seen; for what it’s worth, Rep. Ellison says “Howard Dean was right to say we need a 50-state strategy, but we got to go beyond that now. We need a 3,141-county strategy.”
  3. “Form your own Rapid Response Team” of five to ten neighbors “to email elected reps, make calls, post on social media, go to protests and/or organize others at work, school or in the neighborhood” in response to each new bad plan from the Trump White House and Congress.
  4. “Make plans now to be at the Inauguration Weekend protests“—Inauguration is a Friday; the Women’s March on Washington is that Saturday. I check Expedia for flights from Aberdeen to D.C., arriving Thursday, January 19, flying out Sunday, January 22, and find prices starting at $1,004.70 for the three-hopper via Minneapolis and (really?) Raleigh-Durham. The Trump Hotel website says all of its rooms a mile from the White House are booked during that period, but rooms from January 23 start at $552 a night.
  5. “Run for office…. It’s time to stop carping about politicians and become one.” Do it yourself—that’s the best advice I’ve heard.


Democrats Should Form a Shadow Cabinet

I recently suggested that, in response to the passel of unqualified deplorables the President-Elect wants to seat in his Cabinet, Democrats should convene a Shadow Cabinet. The United Kingdom has a Shadow Cabinet consisting of members of Parliament from the opposition party (usually the party with the second-largest number of seats) presenting themselves as an alternative government-in-waiting. In the United States, such an association of Democratic policy experts could lead public opposition to the Trump Administration’s ignorance, greed, and antipathy to public service.

The Green Party supportsGreen Shadow Cabinet, but it doesn’t seem to get much press. Democrats, whom could we offer to talk facts and good sense on national policy?

We could just ask members of the Obama Cabinet to continue serving the public as spokespeople for how their former Departments ought to work. But if those good public servants need a break, we can bring on some Democratic all-stars:

  • State: Samantha Power (promote her from U.N. Secretary!)
  • Treasury and Commerce: Bernie Sanders (he’s good enough and right enough on economic policy to do both)
  • Defense: Colin Powell (they don’t have to be Democrats; they just have to know their stuff!)
  • Justice: Eric Holder
  • Labor: Robert Reich
  • Environmental Protection Agency: Al Gore
  • Interior: Bill McKibben
  • Agriculture: Wendell Berry (he probably wouldn’t take the job, but he deserves the first pitch!)
  • Education: Bill Nye

There are more spots to fill, and I welcome your suggestions. They key is to pick intelligent, well-known people who can step up to a microphone at a moment’s notice and lay out clear principles and policies. They should all be able to expose Trump’s Cabinet members as the chumps, stooges, and saboteurs that they are.

I’d also be curious to see if we could create a state Shadow Cabinet for South Dakota. That’s a little trickier (trick #1: Google “South Dakota Cabinet,” and most of the first two screens that pop up are for cabinetmakers). Our state executive branch includes elected offices other than Governor’s cabinet appointees, so South Dakota Democrats forming a Shadow Cabinet would want to include the newsmaking offices of Secretary of State and Attorney General. My suggestions:

  • Attorney General: Brookings County State’s Attorney Abigail A. Howard
  • Secretary of State: me! (who else can you think of who gets as excited about election law?)
  • Economic Development: Scott Parsley
  • Agriculture: Jason Frerichs
  • Environment and Natural Resources: Red Dawn Foster (remember, she was at the Dakota Access protests!)
  • Education: Kathy Tyler
  • Health and Social Services: Michael Saba

Again, I welcome your suggestions. But we Democrats, at the state level and at the national level, need a corps of smart, eager go-to spokespeople for the media. At both levels, those Shadow Secretaries can be plowing the road for the Democrats who will run for executive positions, testing messages and getting people thinking about how government ought to work.



Guest Column: Democrat Recognizes Need for Bernie’s “Revolution” But Will Give Trump a Chance

Spink County Democrat Gordon Richard offered some solid comments following the state Democratic Party’s discussion in Aberdeen last month. Now the Dolander* expands on his state of mind, a vigilant, tentative patience with the President-Elect in tension with a recognition that Bernie Sanders may be right:

I feel as if I need to apologize to my liberal and progressive friends and acquaintances. I am sorry. I was a Bernie Sanders supporter and gave him more money than I have ever given to any politician (two $27 donations; along with over 8 million other Americans with that particular amount). I had some trouble with Bernie’s insistence of the need for a “revolution”, but have come to pretty much agree with him. We are going in the “wrong direction as a nation” and Bernie and others have articulated that feeling and, I believe, most Americans agree.

So, who and what is the answer? The American people have not really “spoken” because we have the Electoral College that skews a Presidential race, and we have the loser (again) with more individual votes from American citizens.

I am not altogether pleased with The Donald being elected President. I am not altogether disappointed that Hillary Clinton ‘lost’. I’d like to see changes made so that the candidate with the most votes’ wins, but that seems to be an almost insurmountable challenge. I was not enthused at the probability of the Clinton’s Wall Street friends coming back into the White House and continuing the reign of the rich and connected we have seen over the past many years. I was especially not tickled to get ole Bill back in the White House. I felt her winning would give him a chance for a ‘redo’ of what I believe was a squandered Presidency.

So, not to turn this into a tome, let me say that I will give President Elect Trump, and after January 20, President Trump a chance. I will stop calling him “The Donald” and comparing him to a Carnival Barker or the other terrible things many are calling him. I will remain vigilant and will protest, with others, when I see things going the wrong way. I do believe both Democrats and Republicans, especially, at the national level, are corrupt and have undermined our Democracy, or is it our Republic?

Anyway, maybe I should be more upset and outraged, but I did vote for “hope and change” twice and was disappointed both times by the Democrats and their policies, and especially, the Republicans with their extreme partisanship and just plain unwillingness to work with President Obama on anything.

I am coming to Senator Sanders’ basic assumption that we do need a “Revolution”, but am willing to give this ‘wild & crazy’ guy a chance to prove me wrong, and, besides, what choice do I really have other than what I have already described of what I will be doing?

I would enjoy hearing your thoughts, opinion and insights and what you are doing and are going to do!

Gordon Richard… about one month post 2016 Presidential Election

p.s.: I am especially torqued at how the DNC undermined Bernie’s primary campaign and feel as if we might have had a President-Elect Sanders at this moment had he not met subterfuge [Gordon Richard, letter to Dakota Free Press, 2016.12.11].

Friends, fellow progressives, fellow Americans (and isn’t progress written into the definition of American?), read GR’s letter, then consider these questions:

  1. What does “giving Trump a chance” look like?
  2. What specific actions would have to happen to justify ending that “chance”?
  3. What does “no longer giving Trump a chance” look like?
  4. Can we bring Bernie back?
  5. What does Bernie’s revolution look like in 2017… and 2020?

Update 2016.12.16 13:26 CST: I originally incorrectly identified Richard as a Redfielder. I apologize and welcome further correction on the proper term for a denizen of Doland.



Carrier Blackmails Trump, Still Moves Jobs to Mexico

“Companies are not going to leave the United States any more without consequences,” said our President-Elect today at the Carrier plant in Indianapolis as he basked in another well-executed PR stunt.

United Technologies, parent company of Carrier, is still moving 1,300 jobs to Mexico. And there will be consequences… for Indiana taxpayers, who will give up $7 million in tax breaks to overvalued and overextended United Technologies as a reward for not sending as many jobs across the border as it said it would.

What do we call it when you threaten to do something bad unless you get a sack of money?

In essence, United Technologies took Trump hostage and won. And that should send a shock wave of fear through all workers across the country.

Trump has endangered the jobs of workers who were previously safe in the United States. Why? Because he has signaled to every corporation in America that they can threaten to offshore jobs in exchange for business-friendly tax benefits and incentives. Even corporations that weren’t thinking of offshoring jobs will most probably be re-evaluating their stance this morning. And who would pay for the high cost for tax cuts that go to the richest businessmen in America? The working class of America [Senator Bernie Sanders, “Carrier Just Showed Corporations How to Beat Donald Trump,” Washington Post, 2016.12.01].  

Take Trump hostage, says Senator Sanders? Sounds like fun! Let’s do some math: Trump is willing to give up $7 million (of Indiana’s money) to keep 850 jobs from going to Mexico. (The deal also keeps 300 HQ and engineering jobs in Indiana that Carrier intended to move to North Carolina, which only voted for Trump over Clinton by 3.7 points instead of 18.91 like Indiana—try harder for the Führer next time, North Carolina!) That’s about $8,200 per job. My fellow workers, send President-Elect Trump a letter. Tell him you want $8,200 or you’re moving to Mexico and offshoring your own job. For the cost of a stamp, my wife and I could get over $16,000! (One more key number: temperature in Acapulco tonight as I write is 78°F.)

The Carrier/UT charade proves that Trump will rule by fiat, not by sensible, sustainable policy.Trump believes he alone can make all of our dreams come true just by picking up the phone and asserting his will. But when he asserts that will, he gets played by the corporate blackmailers and must hide his failure in the latest Great Lie. To frost this arrogant cake, Trump makes sure to exclude from his Indianapolis event the local TV reporter, Rafael Sánchez, who broke the Carrier-to-Mexico story and made this whole PR play possible, because sharing credit—even fake credit—with the media is verboten.

Trump brings another German word to mind: Führerprinzip. But I can’t tell if I’m watching Adolf Hitler or Charlie Chaplin.

Mexico shrugs. The global economy rolls on. And America stumbles with a President-Elect who speaks of consequences but hands out more corporate welfare.



Between Burning Effigies and Buying a Gun: The Proper Response to the Führer

Anti-Trump protests broke out last night in various cities:

From New England to heartland cities like Kansas City and along the West Coast, demonstrators bore flags and effigies of the president-elect, disrupting traffic and declaring that they refused to accept Trump’s victory.

Flames lit up the night sky in California cities Wednesday as thousands of protesters burned a giant papier-mache Trump head in Los Angeles and started fires in Oakland intersections.

…Chicago resident Michael Burke said he believes the president-elect will “divide the country and stir up hatred.” He added there was a constitutional duty not to accept that outcome [“‘Not My President’: Trump Denounced in Protests Across America,” Ap via Politico, 2016.11.10].

Anti-Trumpists protest outside federal courthouse in Sioux Falls, 2016.11.09. Photo by Julia Tibbetts.
Anti-Trumpists protest outside federal courthouse in Sioux Falls, 2016.11.09. Photo by Julia Tibbetts.

A youngish group armed with signs occupied the federal courthouse steps in Sioux Falls after business hours yesterday to protest the incoming Führer’s targeting of various scapegoatable groups.

A neighbor who supported my failed Senate campaign tells me he plans to fly his flag upside-down on Veterans Day.

A friend and friend of the blog writes that he is “tired. Tired of beating my head against the wall. Tired of progressives treated like second class citizens. Tired of making no progress in this very red state.” He plans to buy his first handgun to deal with the chaos he sees coming.

I know their feelings. Similar thoughts have popped into my head, including the thought that maybe I need to buy a gun.

I have rejected that latter thought. I won’t buy a gun. I’m saving my money to deal with a Trump economic downturn (the businesses he run go bankrupt; why should we not expect the same of a country he runs?). If chaos is coming , there are still many other practical items we can invest in that will provide more utility—canned goods, seeds and garden tools, sturdy boots and winter clothes…. I just can’t place my faith in a gun, which symbolizes the breakdown of faith in civil institutions.

I still believe the First Amendment protects our freedoms far better than the Second. The street protestors and flag inverters are exercising their First Amendment rights (though not when they break windows and block traffic), and they are right to vow to fight a sexist, racist, fascist President. Protests are an important part of effective resistance to the Trump Reich. Protests (as well as the constitutionally irrelevant but politically meaningful popular vote) signal to political leaders that they can resist the Führer and still win their state and local elections.

But those protests must have a practical political component. When the kids get home from the busy street corners, they must then check their e-mail and their Facebook Events pages to make sure they don’t miss the voter registration drive next week. They must pay attention to Congress and their state legislatures and lobby against the egregious curtailments of civil liberties and health insurance that will come from Trumpist leaders. And they must make clear to every good anti-fascist from Senator Bernie Sanders (he is now the leader of the Democratic Party, right?) on down that we have their backs and will not just vote for them in 2018 but call and knock and fundraise and bring ten friends to the polls to ensure that we stage a Coffee Party electoral revolt in 2018 that dwarfs the Tea Party backlash that wrested Congress from Democrats in 2010.

(Quick check: how many of you protestors voted for Democratic Legislative candidates Tuesday? How many of you can name your Democratic Legislative candidates?)

Our protests against Trump’s fascism must not be mere show or catharsis. We must back those protests with the practical, tedious, media-invisible work of organizing, campaigning, and winning at the ballot box the next time around, and the next time….

*     *     *

At least the street protestors are not withdrawing from politics. Withdrawal is tempting—I can envision getting away from daily public writing and instead focusing on finally writing novels. But then I think of the dismay I felt every time I knocked on a door during this year’s campaign and got some cranky neighbor who said, “We don’t do any politics!”

Spock McCoy Omega Glory
Spock, I’ve found that evil usually triumphs, unless good is very, very politically engaged.

Disengagement is how the extremists win. Decent people disengage before the dedicated troublemakers do, leaving the troublemakers an open field.

As long as we live in a community, we do politics. That’s just the price we pay, as surely as taxes and politeness.

I can’t take an action that, if done by everyone, would lead to the collapse of the system. If everyone stays engaged, there may be more arguments, but democracy continues. If everyone withdraws permanently, democracy does not continue.

Politics can be a darned dirty chore, and this year, for decent citizens, it’s got darned little reward. We have bills to pay, kids to love, yards to rake, bodies to keep in shape, good books to read… we can’t be marching all the time.

Trump Führer Dummkopf
Bumper stickers are an acceptable component of protest, but you still have to get up and vote in 2018.

But I will keep finding time to march. I won’t make anyone march with me… but I will welcome those who can help in any way, even if it’s no more than a quiet vote, or a ring of the tip jar, or a commentless click of the Share button. With your support, I will keep blogging, providing encouragement, advice, and healthy debate to help good liberals, progressives, and other patriots fight the fascism that invades the White House on January 20, 2017.

 

 



South Dakota Democrats Fail, Have Least Power Since 1954

Donald Trump’s receipt of the nuclear codes in 72 days makes my loss in yesterday’s District 3 Senate race seem trivial. Yet I must observe….

Senator-Elect Al Novstrup
Senator-Elect Al Novstrup. Clap, clap, clap.

Republican legislator Al Novstrup spent the most beautiful pre-election weekend possible attending a tailgate party and football game 150 miles from his district and obstinately arguing on Facebook that his embarrassingly ignorant comment that Sharia law rules Dearborn, Michigan, is actually true because Demkota Beef makes halal meat (I wonder where Al got that idea…). His opponent (that’s me!) spent that weekend knocking on the last 600 of several thousand doors personally visited since the end of May.

Al’s lazy illogic won him 6,364 votes from our neighbors and an eighth term in Pierre. 4,031 voted for me. That shows what honesty and hard work gets a Democrat in South Dakota.

Democrats took a beating everywhere in South Dakota. Not one new Democrat won a seat challenged by Republicans last night. Former Democratic legislator Dan Ahlers returned to beat the odious and genital-obsessed Republican incumbent Roger Hunt in District 25 by a recount-worthy 33 votes, but Ahlers still finished second to new Republican Rep.-Elect Tom Pischke, who will probably dedicate his time in Pierre to arguing that men don’t have enough rights.

My friend, former refugee, and champion of human rights Clara Hart got over $76,000 in campaign contributions thanks to one great mention from Bernie Sanders. Yet she drew a lower percentage of the District 6 House vote than the stronger Democrat, Joseph Weis, who ran against the same Herman Otten/Isaac Latterell tandem in 2012 and spent less than $750 on his whole campaign.

Another friend, Senator Scott Parsley, legislated as one of the most moderate, pro-business Democrats you could ask for. Yet District 8 threw him out in favor of inexperienced twenty-something Jordan Youngberg.

And the top of our Democratic ticket? Henry Red Cloud 25%. Jay Williams 28%. Hillary Clinton 32%. Paula Hawks 36%. The new Democratic default vote in South Dakota appears to be 30%. Rep. Paula Hawks’s superior intellect mattered not one whit, and her extra effort over that of the rest of the top of our ticket didn’t push her through the old assumed Dem default of 40%.

It’s not as if South Dakota Democrats are losing to great statesmen. We Democrats face no Peter Norbecks, never mind any Ronald Reagans. We face ignorant, self-serving dissemblers like Al Novstrup, and we get beat. Being smart and right didn’t save us. Raising money didn’t save us. Ballot measure synergy didn’t save us (more on that in my next post!).

Last night we Democrats lost two Senate seats and two House seats. Republicans now control our Senate 29–6 and our House 60–10. There have not been this few Democrats in Pierre since 1954 (see historical chart on page 50 of the Legislator Reference Book).

We South Dakota Democrats have no cause for joy. Last night’s results show we have completely squandered George McGovern’s legacy and left our state at the mercy of a Republican Party that can unchallenged continue to block Medicaid expansion, erode our gains in teacher pay, trample on the rights of our LGBT neighbors, annul women’s right to end their pregnancies, and let the state budget slide toward further emergencies in the name of keeping taxes low. We Democrats have failed to field the loyal opposition South Dakota so desperately needs to save it from the complacent corruption of one-party rule.

And I am part of that failure. For all my cogitation over the past decade-plus of blogging, for all my efforts to inspire by example and run a smart, efficient, principled, and fearless campaign, I couldn’t break 40%, either, against a petty man who sits around the last days before an election watching football and stoking fears of Sharia law. I did everything I thought would provide a model for Democratic success, and I produced failure, just like every other new Democratic candidate (and several more experienced colleagues).

Beating the self-serving ignorance of the Republican Party should not be hard. Yet somehow, for us South Dakota Democrats, it is. We face an enormously hard challenge in building a new South Dakota Democratic Party—not a wing of the Republican Party, but a real opposition party—that can make a credible case to volunteers, donors, and voters that we can win and can and should govern.

I welcome your suggestions toward that vital goal.



ACA Premiums Jump; British Columbia Single-Payer Rates Stay at $75/Month

Yes, insurance premiums on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces are rising by 25%. Subsidies are also increasing, insulating many policy purchasers from this inflation, but we’re still paying that bill collectively.

Senator John Thune has been advising since September that Republicans can win by bashing ObamaCare and its premium increases. But what about the ACA is causing these premium increases, and how do we stanch them?

The ACA imposes two fundamental obligations: insurers have to take all customers, sick or healthy, and citizens have to buy health insurance. As Star Tribune‘s D.J. Tice explains,  insurers can’t get out of the former rule, but citizens can get out of the latter.

The mandate, controversial from the start, may not be working as designed for the simple reason that its penalty is too gentle. For many people, it’s cheaper to pay the “tax” than to buy insurance — and too many young healthy folks are apparently being tempted to defy the law [D.J. Tice, “Rising Health Care Costs: A Race We’re Running Willingly?Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2016.10.21].

Insurers are thus ending up with a sicker, costlier pool of policy buyers without the countervailing revenue of healthier policy buyers. Premiums are rising because a higher percentage of policy holders are actually using their insurance.

How do we fix that imbalance? We can do a Trump repeal and go back to the old system where insurers don’t have to sell their product to the sick people who need it most. Selling insurance only to healthy people means easy profits on low premiums, but it also means taking financial/health security away from millions of Americans. Thanks to the ACA, more Americans have health insurance than ever before. The only way repealing the ACA lowers premiums is if it results in kicking lots of sick people off the insurance rolls.

The problem with the Affordable Care Act is not that it tries to insure too many people. The problem is that it doesn’t insure enough people—i.e., it doesn’t maximize the pool of premium payers to share the burden among sick and healthy (or unlucky and lucky?) alike.

As an alternative, consider British Columbia’s single-payer plan. The Pacific province had planned to increase rates for its Medical Services Plan 4% this year but cancelled that rate hike in September. “The full premium rate for one adult will not increase and will remain at the 2016 [monthly] rate of $75.” B.C. charges no premium for anyone under age 19. B.C. fully subsidizes coverage for residents with adjusted net income (after deductions) of $24,000; subsidies scale down as income rises; folks with net adjusted income over $42,000 pay the full premium: $75 per month for an individual, $150 per month for a couple, nothing extra for kids. That’s for the Medical Services Plan—no deductible, no different levels of coverage, just one plan for everyone.

U.S. Health and Human Services is boasting that “77% of customers will be able to find plans that cost them less than $100 per month, after assistance.” But in British Columbia, under single-payer, 100% of customers get one plan that costs every one of them $75 or less.

If we just want lower premiums and don’t care who has insurance, then sure, fine, vote for Trump and Thune and Noem, repeal ObamaCare, and throw tens of millions back to being one bump or biopsy away from medical bankruptcy. If we want to lower premiums and make sure everyone has insurance, we look to British Columbia, Bernie Sanders, and single-payer.