I never suggested, ever, that the CFMA was a good piece of legislation. I opposed it when Texas Senator, Phil Gramm, pushed it, when Treaury negotiated it with him, and was with Paul Wellstone 100% in opposing it. What I did do was post here that Sanders, unlike his colleagues in the progressive caucus, voted for it twice, I even provided the links to the legislative history. My point when I did so was to point out that progressives were giving Bernie a pass (just like on tax and finance disclosures) that he did not deserve, that his role was much more mixed than lots of us were giving him credit for.
As for the ACA, I’m sorry but I know health policy well due to professional background and what you are saying is not true. The insurance industry did not want MLRs of 80% (individual coverage) and 85% (group coverage) and rate reviews. They are still fighting them today. They did not want strong MECs and they wanted to limit preexisting condition coverages. They did not want a ban on lifetime limits and they absolutely did not want a 5:1 age band rating . They did not want financial relationship disclosures under Medicaid and Medicare, and they absolutely did not want to move away from fee-for-service payments in Medicare. Those are just a list of some things the industry did not want and is working quietly to undo now. These reforms were not part of the Heritage Foundation “plan” that the uninformed like to say the ACA was based on as an ass-stupid sideswipe of the law. If Obama wanted to be a corporate sellout, none of these things would have been in the law–corporations opposed them.
Now, do I think the ACA is perfect? Not hardly. Was I upset when Joe Lieberman threatened to caucus with Republicans if a Medicare buy-in was part of the bill, much less a public option? Yep. Did I think Max Bauchus wasted time negotiating with Chuck Grassley over the summer of 2009? Of course. Would I have liked to see a lot more done on drug prices in the bill? Certainly. Would I have liked to see deeper public subsidies? For sure. But on every one of those issues, President Obama was dealing with a Senator like Kent Conrad, a budget hawk who feared adding to the deficit, or assholes like Lieberman, who owed him zero and bragged about killing the public option. I am still amazed it passed.
The bill is and wasn’t perfect, but Social Security was far from perfect when it passed too. If the ACA remains as it is now, the subsidies can be increased by Congress via reconciliation–a huge boon for middle class people–the first day a Democratic President enters the White House. Politically, if red states go Virginia’s direction, Medicaid can be expanded too. That leaves the biggest fight, price controls left. When and if that gets done, we would have mixed European style near-to-full coverage healthcare system, already tested by the Supreme Court. That’s pretty meaningful.
Of course, if president Sanders is in the White House with large progressive margins in Congress, I’ll take single-payer happily too.