WASHINGTON, DC – Despite long odds, House Democrats are continuing their push for a number of national Medicare-for-All and public option plans.
“Several of these proposals aim to make health insurance more affordable, either by eliminating premiums, reducing premiums, eliminating cost sharing and providing benefits that are not normally covered by health insurance,” said Tricia Newman.
Newman is the director for the program on Medicare policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation. She says it’s important to understand the nuance between the various bills before congress.
They include the Medicare-for-All Act, which would eliminate private insurance all together.
That differs from the Medicare-for-America Act, the CHOICE Act and the Medicare Buy-In and Health Care Stabilization Act.
Congressman John Yarmuth, the lone Kentucky Democrat in Washington, has expressed his support for all of the bills.
“Some of the proposals would replace private insurance but others would build on the current system, which means there would continue to be employer coverage. There would continue to be private insurance,” said Newman.
According to recent polling conducted by Kaiser, more than half of the public support a national health plan but among Democrats, that number is closer to 80%. Among Republicans, that number dips down to 27%.
“Medicare as a program is very popular so when people hear Medicare-for-All, it sounds really good but it’s pretty clear that the public is kind of malleable when they hear different arguments,” said Newman.
Though incremental health care reform like the Obama-era Affordable Care Act has been met with criticism from both sides of the aisle, Newman says with Republicans objecting to the potential cost of Medicare expansion, gradual changes to the country’s health care system face more of a pathway to becoming law.
“When we asked people about what they wanted Congress to do and what they want policy makers to do, the public is also quite interested in incremental reforms, stopping surprise billing, doing something about drug prices,” said Newman.