What Health Care Plans are Proposed? Who Supports What? How does Medicare for All Differ from Medicare for America?
Despite health care being a winning issue for Democrats in 2018, people are more uncertain than ever about what is being proposed and how it will affect them. Instead of discussing how to improve the ACA, candidates are talking about Medicare for All and its variations. Many people assume that the ACA is no longer a factor. On May 16th the House passed legislation strengthening the ACA and lowering the cost of prescription drugs. However, because the Senate has declined to take up the bill, the conversation appears to have moved on.
On Sunday, June 23rd, Dr. Robert Kraig of Citizen Action of Wisconsin filled us in on the new debate, new legislation and its supporters, and which candidates might support various health care reform alternatives. Daniel Folkman (you can find him on YouTube and at Video Hub) recorded the presentation. He also recorded short videos of individuals’ health care (or lack of) stories. (We appreciate his help in making this more widely available).
Robert described the differences between Medicare for All, as introduced by Bernie Sanders, and Medicare for America. The major distinction between them is budgetary and financial, regarding who should pay how much, rather than major differences in coverage. Medicare for America has budgetary provisions that would pay for the legislation, while Medicare for All does not. Medicare for America offers full coverage with a robust public option but allowances for keeping private insurance, and financial support. Dr. Kraig noted that Beto O’Rourke supports Medicare for America. From recent statements, Kamala Harris also seems to support it. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders support Medicare for All. Biden supports what appears to be an upgraded ACA similar to Medicare for America. It is not clear yet whether there are other candidates who support Medicare for All but who would not support Medicare for America.
People with whom I discussed health care while canvassing tended to support fixes to the ACA, particularly in the area of drug coverage and subsidy categories. That was a topic used to our advantage in the 2018 elections. It remains to be seen whether the newer proposals will garner support or just increase the already high level of anxiety among voters.
The conversation within the Democratic candidate community and those who go out to work for them needs to shift to figure out how to fix the system without pushing our supporters to either fight or run. Good explanations of the alternatives followed by a poll would go a long way to help us finalize a position.
To view this talk (and there is a lot of information here), watch the video of the event plus health care stories by Mark Foreman, Eilene Stevens, and Pastor Ellen Rasmussen.