John Delaney, the former congressman from Maryland, the former co-founder of Health Care Financial Partners, the current Democratic presidential candidate in a field of two dozen or so, did the impossible in the recent CNN-televised debate: He managed to emerge as a Not A Loon.
Not A Loons are very special breeds of Democrats — nearly extinct.
So kudos to Delaney for finding his inner sanity and making it to the Not A Loon club.
In between Sen. Elizabeth Warren decriminalizing border crossers and Sen. Bernie Sanders insisting that long walks across harsh terrains give illegals the right of automatic American citizenship, and over the eye-rolling give-aways of U.S. tax dollars for “Medicare for All” and the like, Delaney jumped in — as a voice of reason, no less.
“The data is clear,” he said. “Medicare does not cover the cost of health care. It covers 80% of the cost of health care in this country. And private insurance covers 120%.”
And there stood Sanders, chomping at the bit, raising his hand, trying desperately to cut in and explain his Medicare for All was indeed workable. Delaney went on.
And this was his debate moment.
“I’ve been going around to rural America,” he said, “and I ask rural hospital administrators one question — ‘If all your bills were paid at the Medicare rate last year, what would happen?’ And they all look at me and say, ‘We would close.’ “
On a stage of cartoon characters, in an hour of cartoonish moments, Delaney actually offered a great point — one on which even conservatives can agree. Flooding the health care system with tax dollars and using tax dollars to pay for health care coverage for all is foolish financing. It’s Ponzi scheming; it’s socialism; it’s only viable until the tax dollars run dry.
The only out is to print more money — or, as former President Barack Obama called it, quantitative easing.
Delaney, the one guy on the stage who actually ran a private business dedicated to providing financing to health care providers, made an excellent point. And in so doing, he didn’t just distinguish himself from the other Democrats racing to the White House.
He actually gave watching Americans of all political persuasions some hope that maybe, just maybe, there are some Democrats left who consider the good of the country before the personal political ambition.
Not saying “Delaney for President.”
Just saying: Finally. A “Not A Loon.” America wins when the Democrats have some.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @ckchumley.