Guest: Former insurance exec Richard 'RJ' Eskow; Also: More Early Voting probs for L.A. County's new, unverifiable e-voting systems...
By Brad Friedman on 2/25/2020, 5:54pm PT  

On today's BradCast: A former insurance exec says Medicare for All is better than even the best union healthcare plans, more problems with L.A. County's new, unverifiable touchscreen voting systems ahead of next Tuesday's Super Tuesday, and Desi Doyen "celebrates" another birthday...

First up, financial markets continued to plummet on Tuesday after a senior official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) --- which Donald Trump has been gutting and/or attempting to gut since taking office --- announced Americans should prepare for the spread of the Coronavirus, declaring "It's not so much a question of if this will happen any more, but ... when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness."

At the same time, with that cheery news, the Democratic Presidential primary campaign moves forward after Bernie Sanders' landslide win at the Nevada Caucuses on Saturday, with many members of the Party establishment concerned about the likelihood of his nomination. One of their concerns is Sanders' decades-long campaign to establish healthcare as a right, not a privilege, in the U.S., as illustrated by his Medicare for All (M4A) proposal. That plan, and its end to private health insurance in the U.S., was the source of concern by leadership of NV's powerful Culinary Union before the caucuses last week. Its members, however, according to Entrance Polling, were strong supporters of Sanders, a longtime champion for the labor movement, on caucus day nonetheless.

At issue with Sanders' (and Elizabeth Warren's) M4A proposal is the fear of the loss of top-flight, hard-earned health care benefits for the Culinary Union workers. The union has negotiated one of the nation's best health care programs, with leadership worried about losing those benefits under M4A. It's a fear shared by many Americans who are nervous about the prospect of losing their existing private health care coverage, while being misinformed about how the program would actually work.

RICHARD "RJ" ESKOW, however, a former insurance executive turned political columnist, policy analyst and host of The Zero Hour, argues this week in an detailed analysis at The Intercept that, while the Culinary Union's plan is top notch, Medicare For All would actually be even better for them in many ways. He joins us today to explain why he finds that not only those union members would be better off under Sanders' plan if passed as currently proposed, but so would all Americans.

Eskow details his analysis of that union's very good health plan --- which, he tells me, "makes it a perfect test case, in a sense, for comparing Medicare For All to the best plans --- and how M4A would still be better. "My hat's off to the Culinary Union and to the workers, who went on strike and fought for years to get this plan, in the current environment we have now. It's just about as good a plan as you're going to see," Eskow says. "It's well ahead of most other plans, private insurance plans, private employer plans, whether they are union or otherwise. It's really one of the best." Nonetheless, he argues, after detailing all of the excellent benefits for those workers, "Medicare For All gives better benefits."

He also goes on to answer many questions that skeptics and/or critics of universal single-payer coverage --- from both the Left and the Right --- likely have.

Also today, we look forward, again, toward the crucial South Carolina Democratic Presidential Primary on Saturday and concerns about the state's new, 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems that all voters will be forced to use at the polls (despite myriad failed elections on similar equipment made by the same vendor, ES&S, the nation's largest.) And I've got a correction about a point I made on this topic on yesterday's show.

Then, we look again at more failures already revealing themselves here in L.A. County in advance of the March 3rd Super Tuesday Primary --- just three days after South Carolina --- in California and more than a dozen other states. Problems with L.A.'s brand-new, 100% unverifiable, $300,000,000 touchscreen voting systems surfaced over the weekend on the first day of Early Voting last Saturday, when several Voting Centers in the County were unable to open for hours, as equipment problems left workers unable to set up the new, complicated, Internet-connected computer pollbooks and voting systems.

Those problems continued on Monday, as reported by CBS2-LA's David Goldstein last night. He followed up his earlier investigative report on the new systems several weeks ago (in which I was featured) with another report on Monday night, finding Voting Centers still down in some areas, with one poll worker seen examining the system's user manual for clues and another bemoaning the idle voting systems: "They're not working because the router....we're waiting for AT&T to come," she says.

Oh, brother. 1,000 of these new Voting Centers with all new equipment, replacing 5,000 community precincts used for decades in L.A., are all supposed to be up and running by next Tuesday. Though, even if the new VSAP ("Voting Solutions for All People") systems work as designed, the results of next Tuesday's election will still be 100% unverifiable after the polls close.

Finally, Birthday Girl Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with her usual mix of bad news, very bad news, and some actually good news! It's also her birthday! So, to make up for the fact that she has to work today, all donations to BradBlog.com/Donate are going to her this week! Please consider cheering her up by pitching in!...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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