While Noah Smith thinks while it will be hard for a divided government to get things passed, it might be a good opportunity for bold ideas. The priorities should be: better universal healthcare, comprehensive immigration reform, minimum wage increase, climate policy, and housing reform. “Trump isn’t likely to let any of these ideas be written into law. But pushing concrete legislation on these five points would help inspire the country with the promise of real solutions and a better tomorrow.’
- Should Democrats push a public health insurance option?
- Should Dems combine amnesty for undocumented immigrants with a merit-based system?
- Should there be federal action on housing shortages?
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(Bloomberg Opinion) — The U.S. government is divided once again. Democrats have the House of Representatives, while Republicans still hold the presidency and have deepened their control over the Senate. This means actual legislative breakthroughs are likely to be few and far between. But that doesn’t mean it’s useless to think about policy – on the contrary, now is a perfect time for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to lay out their big ideas, as a way of inspiring the country to think about the future. Here’s a brief list of things that ought to be top priorities:
Obamacare was a compromise ‘” the government would force people to purchase health insurance and, if necessary, help pay for it, but the private insurance industry would remain intact.
Medicare has been significantly better than private companies at controlling costs, probably because the government can use its bargaining power to hold down prices. Hence, the federal government should play a bigger role in the health-insurance system. The single-payer Medicare For All plan is popular on the left, but I favor a public option, along the lines of the Medicare X plan, meaning consumers could buy a public insurance plan if private markets come up short.
In a rational world, immigration would not be a pressing problem ‘” net illegal immigration has virtually disappeared, despite the breathless headlines on migrant caravans from Central America.
But despite these developments, the immigration issue has polarized and embittered Americans in recent years, and it needs to be solved once and for all. A path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants – which is favored by a large majority of Americans – should be combined with a program to make the country’s legal system more favorable to immigrants with skills. Canada’s system, in which immigrants are evaluated for their job skills and education as well as family ties, seems like the perfect model to emulate.