MANCHESTER, NH — His shoot-from-the-hip style may betray his working-class roots, but have no doubt that Maryland Congressman John Delaney is in the game to win.
During his 17th visit to the Granite State, Delaney on May 10 hosted an entrepreneurial round table discussion with local small business owners in the Black Brimmer conference room of WBC Office Suites’ Elm Street co-working space.
Delaney’s experience as a business leader was evident as he deftly deflected off-topic questions and facilitated discussion around issues that tie directly to his platform.
One of the recurring themes was insurance and affordable health care. Delaney empathized with Jenni Share, co-owner of To Share Brewery in Manchester, as she talked about the struggle of holding a full-time job to keep her benefits while growing her startup.
Delaney says one of his first 100-days initiatives as president would be to offer a quick fix of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by giving people over age 55 the ability to buy into Medicare so it gets them out of the exchanges. It’s not the final solution, but it would offer some relief by effectively lowering the cost of healthcare for younger people.
He says the failure of the ACA was caused by the reliance on young, healthy people to foot the bill for the 55 – 64 year-olds and his ultimate solution is to replace the ACA with a free universal healthcare plan you have from birth to age 65, that includes all the minimum benefits currently included in the ACA.
“I’d leave Medicare alone, then I’d create a new program as a right of citizenship and roll Medicaid into that.” He adds that he would also offer options to purchase private supplemental insurance for people who want more than basic coverage.
This would be minimum coverage, but you could also add options with a supplemental plan like Medicare beneficiaries do.
Delaney says the cost would be $5 trillion dollars over 10 years and it would be paid for by eliminating the corporate healthcare deduction. He says losing this exemption should not be a problem because businesses won’t need to provide healthcare anymore.
It’s a smart move that caters to the large group of voters who continue to be challenged by a lack of affordable healthcare, the baby boomers who fret over losing the coverage they already have, and the powerful insurance companies who worry about losing their market.
But few outside this room seem to be listening.
On paper, Delaney appears to be a solid moderate, or as he prefers, a centrist. Three-quarters of his bills as a congressman garnered bi-partisan support and 47 percent of the 280 bills he co-sponsored were introduced by non-Democrats.
His congressional voting record and political platform embrace the most popular touch points of both political parties.
- He’s pro-business
- He supports equal rights for all
- He proposes a fiscally responsible solution to providing universal healthcare
With estimated assets reported to be between $97 million – $369 million dollars, Delaney won’t be confused with Joe the Plumber, but he is a self-made man who started out as the son of a union electrician.
His first business was a struggling healthcare company he bought with two friends for $15,000 and he wants you to know he gets it when it comes to the issues that are important to regular people and business owners.
He has ideas about lowering student debt by offering a way to refinance student loans based on a percentage of your income so if you take a lower paying public service job like a teacher, you’ll be able to pay your loans off over a longer period of time. He’d also let people discharge student debt through bankruptcy.
For new students, he’d make community college free and reduce the rates on student loans.
An avid supporter of a carbon tax, Delaney sees the emerging energy industry as the next big disruptor for the American economy.
“How we produce, distribute, and conserve energy in the next thirty years is going to be entirely different than we do today,” and he sees innovation in energy as a way to improve the environment, provide affordable energy, and create jobs.
He seems to check all the boxes as the ideal American candidate.
- Blue collar roots
- Columbia education
- Successful entrepreneur
- Self-made millionaire
But after two years on the campaign trail, Delaney continues to lag in relative obscurity.
Delaney is not deterred. He’s the blue-collar kid from North Jersey who built a $100 million dollar empire. He believes in his message and has the money and determination to stick it out.
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