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Bjorkman Not Endorsing Sanders’s Medicare for All, Instead Chanting “Bipartisanship”

I thought I heard Bernie Sanders in Democratic U.S. House candidate Tim Bjorkman’s speeches. Last week in Watertown, just as the Vermont Senator was offering his Medicare for All bill, Bjorkman took a step back from Sanders:

“We’ve got universal health care provided. It’s just in a very inefficient and ineffective way. It’s very expensive with very poor outcomes,” Bjorkman said. “Our system is so out of whack that it costs an atrocious amount of money while still leaving millions of people with tiny access to healthcare.”

To that end, Bjorkman indicated he intends to push for universal health care, but he’s not going to just sign up for any proposal. That was evident at the meeting when Bjorkman expressed skepticism at Sen. Bernie Sanders’, I-Vt., vision of Medicare-for-all formally proposed earlier Wednesday, and supported by several potential 2020 Democratic presidential nominees.

Particularly, Bjorkman doesn’t want to commit to that proposal without knowing what the financial impact is.

“I’ve seen no numbers at all. I think that’s very important,” Bjorkman said. “I’m not prepared to take that leap from what little we know of it.”

Bjorkman said any healthcare reform should be achieved on a bipartisan basis [Dan Crisler, “Bjorkman Discusses Issues During Stop in Watertown,” Watertown Public Opinion, 2017.09.14].

I understand that our Democrat candidates are trying to sound like moderate men of the people among a right-skewed, Trump-loving electorate. But we also need some statesmen to point out that when we offer plans with bipartisan support, the radicals in charge of the Republican Party, Congress, and the White House torpedo it. Democratic candidates should definitely praise the men and women of good faith on the other side of the aisle and look for opportunities for everyone to work together, but they should also swing big wood at the partisan screwballs on the other side who are standing in the way of such practical cooperation.

Even if we want bipartisanship, we need to replace a good chunk of Republican partisans with honest Democrats who want to solve problems, not create more problems for regular Americans.


  1. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2017-09-19

    Beyond the electoral college, the Russians, or super delegates, the real reason that Donald Trump is our current President is because the Democratic Party for years has not offered an adequate or credible economic agenda, that is equal to its social agenda and accomplishments. It is this lack of equilibrium within the Democratic Party, in its overall agenda, that allowed Trump to seize upon a weakness in the Democratic electorate or base, which in turn elected him president. Candidate Bjorkman’s unwillingness to embrace “Medicare for all” further demonstrates this lack of equilibrium within the Democratic Party. But in defense of Bjorkman, one could argue that his position is one of caution more than philosophy, that walks in the pragmatic footsteps of a Daschle, Johnson, or Herseth-Sandlin. And my guess is that that is where this policy position most likely comes from, but if Democrats are going to be relevant in the future we need to be the Party of McGovern and Humphrey too, and not only because we are South Dakotans, but also because we believe in economic justice for the country as a whole – and that we are not just the party of pragmatism either, because this pragmatism, which has been perfected by Democrats over the years, is why today Democrats stand outside the White House staring through the iron gate fencing remembering what we once had and what we once were to the American people…..

  2. buckobear 2017-09-19

    Just get over it !! 3% GROSS income from EVERYONE goes for healthcare. No exceptions, no caps.
    If corporations still want to be “people,” then the 3% applies to them also. Otherwise, let ’em take their chances.
    Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick, what’s so difficult ???
    (OK, maybe a $5 co-pay for a DR Visit and for a scrip).
    Oh Yeah — repeal the cap on SSA contributions too.
    Hell with it, I’m goin’ to Europe tomorrow.

  3. drey samuelson 2017-09-19

    The public option is a much more achievable objective than Medicare for all, and would be a substantial step in the right direction. Progress in America–when we achieve it–is almost always incremental.

  4. Tara Volesky 2017-09-19

    The judge is legit. He will do the right thing for the people of SD. He is not bought and paid for by the special interests. He’s a good man.

  5. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2017-09-20

    The public option, even with tax breaks, suggests that you can afford your health insurance, while “Medicare for all” guarantees it. In a nation with a declining middle class and an expanding working poor who either qualify for Medicaid or at least do on paper, the idea of a public option is an oping of what once was and not a recognition of what is…. ObamaCare itself is proof of the incremental stages of health care coverage in America, but a public option would merely be a lateral move, while “Medicare for all” would be a forward or progressive one…..

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