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 in the debate on America’s health care future:
As the presidential primaries continue to heat up, one issue in particular has been top of voters’ minds and was a hot topic at this week’s debate: health care. And while “[t]he Partnership welcomes and supports an open discussion on how to make sure every American has access to affordable, high-quality coverage … candidates’ calls for one-size-fits-all new government health insurance systems … would have severe consequences for American families,” the Partnership’s Lauren Crawford Shaver said in a statement.
To better educate Americans about the unaffordable costs and negative consequences associated with one-size-fits-all new government health insurance systems – namely Medicare for All, Medicare buy-in and the public option – the partnership issued a new memo and aired “a new ad during the debate … arguing that [Medicare for All, Medicare buy-in and the public option would] all ‘take choice and control away from patients’ and lead to higher taxes,” POLITICO Pulse reports.
- The ad, entitled “Opposite,” is part of a substantial national public education effort and ran on MSNBC television stations during this week’s debate coverage, as well as on MSNBC’s and NBC’s digital properties on desktop, mobile and Connected TV. The Partnership also ran advertisements on Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, as well as a takeover of YouTube’s homepage.
Unions are also speaking out about the harmful consequences of one-size-fits-all new government health insurance systems. “‘Medicare for All’ is roiling labor unions across the country,” POLITICO reports.
The rift surfaced last week, when the 60,000-member Culinary Workers Union declined to endorse any Democrat in this week’s Nevada caucuses after slamming Bernie Sanders’ health plan as a threat to the hard-won private health plans that they negotiated at the bargaining table. But the conflict extends well beyond Nevada … New York labor leaders are saying much the same about Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sanders’ Medicare for All plans. Gregory Floyd, president of the Teamsters Local 237,called the policy a “disaster” and predicted that few of his 24,000 members will vote for a candidate who supports it. Floyd … said his opposition to Medicare for All is “based on what is best for our members.” … Medicare for All is notably unpopular with swing voters in the battleground states of Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, according to a December poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Cook Political Report.
This helps explain why more and more Democrats are expressing real concerns over the political consequences of campaigning on the unaffordable new system. “Former Senate majority leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) spoke critically of Medicare-for-all ahead of the Nevada debate, telling ABC News he is ‘against’ the policy proposal he says has little chance of becoming law,” The Washington Post reports.
Meanwhile, as some candidates try to paint other new government-controlled health insurance systems – such as the public option and Medicare buy-in – as “moderate” proposals, these would ultimately lead to the same one-size-fits-all system overtime. The New York Times reported recently that the public option “could be plenty disruptive” and “tilt in the same direction” as Medicare for All. And, as Eric Levitz of New York Magazine writes, the public option “would not allow all Americans to ‘keep their private insurance if they prefer it’” and “would guarantee massive disruptions to private coverage.”