February 25, 2022 | Updates

What We Are Not Talking About in 2022: Creating New Government-Controlled Health Insurance Systems 

WASHINGTON – As Congress focuses on funding, COVID response, and international challenges, it’s time to take a look at what ideas and proposals are coming from candidates looking to come to Washington after November 2022. Candidates are talking to voters about what matters most – and that means not creating unaffordable, new government-controlled health insurance systems like Medicare for All or the public option.  

Of the Senate incumbents and challengers who have filed so far for the 2022 midterm elections, only three candidates support Medicare for All. The focus among both candidates and voters is on building on and improving what’s working in health care, as we have seen in polling – the majority of voters prefer building on our current system rather than creating the public option or opening up Medicare – including 63 percent of Democratic voters. Additionally, support for one-size-fits-all proposals remains low, with only 45 percent of Americans supporting proposals like Medicare for All. (Voter Vitals, 12/6/21

  • Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) believes “that all Americans have the right to affordable, quality health care. She has been a strong advocate in the Senate for strengthening our health care system and for protecting Medicare and Medicaid.”(U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto of Nevada
  • Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) “will continue to fight on behalf of hardworking Illinoisans to make sure Congress is focused on improving and protecting the health and well-being of all Americans.” (U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois
  • “As the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, which is responsible for Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, important parts of the individual and employer health insurance markets, and other health matters, Senator [Ron] Wyden (D-OR) has focused on ensuring all Americans have access to affordable, loophole-free health care that gives them peace of mind.”  (U.S. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon
  • Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) has “consistently supported programs to improve and expand access to the health care system, particularly for citizens living in rural areas” throughout her time in Congress. (U.S. Senator Susan Collins of Maine

And, it’s not just elected officials saying this. Recent analysts of health care politics note that we are trying to build on what’s working in health care, rather than start over: 

  • Economist and columnist Paul Krugman wrote that “as a practical political matter Medicare for All isn’t coming to America any time soon. What’s actually at stake in the political arena are more incremental policy changes. Yet such changes can still have a huge effect on health care.” (New York Times, 02/10/22
  • Wall Street Journal reporter Stephanie Armour wrote that “many progressive Democrats and President Biden are facing the political reality that far-reaching healthcare overhauls aren’t likely to succeed in the short term, which means their hopes may rest instead on building on recent Affordable Care Act changes and reducing prescription drug costs.” (Wall Street Journal, 05/22/21

This comes after two full years of our current health care system working to respond to COVID, keep people covered, and seen record enrollment numbers: 

  • As of January 2022, “about 14.5 million Americans have signed up to get health coverage this year through Affordable Care Act insurance marketplaces, eclipsing the previous record enrollment by nearly 2 million.” (Washington Post, 01/27/22
  • Recent data shows that “Medicaid/CHIP enrollment is increasing amid the coronavirus pandemic as data from February 2020 to July 2021 show that enrollment increased by 12.4 million or 17.4%.” (Kaiser Family Foundation, 02/02/22
  • The number of uninsured Americans stabilized in 2020 to between 8.6% and 9.7% of the population, about 28 to 31.6 million people, according to Reuters, citing information from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. About 30 million U.S. residents were uninsured in 2019, before the pandemic, the report said. Medicaid enrollment grew by 16%. The numbers to show that safety net coverage worked as people lost their jobs and health insurance through their employers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Public Affairs.” (Healthcare Finance News, 11/01/21



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