THE WEEKLY SCAN: Key Stories In The Debate On America’s Health Care Future
Good Friday afternoon, and welcome to the Weekly Scan. Here are some of the key stories you may have missed this week in the debate on America’s health care future.
- What’s the state of play in the debate over Medicare for All? This headline from today’s edition of The Wall Street Journal tells you all you need to know: “Medicare for All Loses Momentum Among Democrats.” The Journal reports that “Democratic support for Medicare for All is slipping from the high levels seen around the November midterm elections as voters worry about its price tag and the toll it would take on both private and employer health coverage … The softening support comes as a blow to progressives. Their challenge mirrors that faced by Republicans in their doomed 2017 effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act: Once the focus shifts to implementation and costs, bold health-care ideas come to be seen as risky … ‘One of the reasons that voters trusted us with the majority is they thought we were more likely to do something to bring health care costs down,’ said Rep. Scott Peters (D., Calif.) ‘Personally I don’t think Medicare for All is the first thing we should be doing. We should be looking at the current system.’”
- The Hill also reported this week that “[c]entrist Democrats who helped their party win back the House majority with victories in key swing districts last fall are sounding the alarm that the liberal push for ‘Medicare for all’ could haunt them as they try to defend their seats and keep control of the House.”
- This comes the same week as some lawmakers introduced Medicare for All legislation in the U.S. House – a bill that, as POLITICO noted, “doesn’t include a price tag or specific proposals for financing the new system, which analysts estimate would cost tens of trillions of dollars over a decade,” adding that “[t]he legislation initially boasts fewer co-sponsors than the 124 Democrats who signed onto a previous version of Medicare for All bill last year.”
- Bloomberg added: “Perhaps the greatest political danger for Democrats is that Medicare for all would disrupt coverage for about 156 million Americans who get their insurance from an employer.”
- That’ why the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future “performed a ‘reality check’ on a letter sent by [the bill’s author Rep. Pramila] Jayapal to recruit cosponsors. Under the Partnership’s version of Jayapal’s letter, terms like the ‘Medicare for All Act of 2019’ are crossed out and replaced by the ‘Upend Employer-Provided Coverage For All Americans Act of 2019,’” POLITICO reported.
- The Partnership also issued a statement on the legislation, saying: “…[W]hile this bill’s authors have notably decided not to include any information on what it would cost or how it would be paid for, it’s obvious that the price tag would be enormous and force families to pay more … We can all agree that more should be done to improve access to quality, affordable care – but this costly, disruptive one-size-fits-all proposal is the wrong path forward. Instead, let’s protect and improve upon what is working in American health care, and come together to fix what isn’t,” as NBC News, The Hill and The Seattle Times all reported.
- Meanwhile, a front-page story in Sunday’s edition of The New York Times reported on the Partnership’s mission, message and strategy. As Times reporter Robert Pear notes: “The [Partnership believes that the] Affordable Care Act is working reasonably well and should be improved, not repealed by Republicans or replaced by Democrats with a big new public program. More than 155 million Americans have employer-sponsored health coverage. They like it, by and large, and should be allowed to keep it.”
- And The Times also took note of the aggressive approach the Partnership is taking to get its message out: “In a daily fusillade of digital advertising, videos and Twitter posts, the coalition, the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, says that Medicare for all will require tax increases and give politicians and bureaucrats control of medical decisions now made by doctors and patients … The coalition will step up the tempo in the coming week as Democrats in the House and the Senate plan to introduce bills to establish a single-payer system … [I]ts reach is undeniable.”