House Democrats introduced their “Medicare-for-all” proposal Wednesday, which would insure all Americans through Medicare. Of course, the proposal doesn’t include how they plan to pay for it (higher taxes, of course).
The proposal was introduced by Rep. Pramila Jaypal, D-Wash., and it will face heat from critics who have warned about the monumental funding cost of such a proposal. Republicans are likely to hone in on the plan and paint Democrats as radicals moving ever closer to socialism.
The plan, per CNBC:
- It would create a single-payer, government-funded health-care program within two years, eliminating the age 65 threshold for Medicare eligibility.
- It would not charge beneficiaries copays, premiums or deductibles.
- The plan would cover prescription drugs, vision, dental, mental health, substance abuse and maternal care. It would also provide universal coverage for long-term care for people with disabilities.
- The proposal notably does not include methods to pay for the health-care overhaul.
The plan has not been endorsed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, though, it does have more than 100 co-sponsors from the left. More moderate Democrats who overthrew Republican incumbents after the midterm elections in November distanced themselves from the plan.
It is unknown whether Pelosi will bring the plan to a vote yet.
Several Democrats vying for the party nomination ahead of the 2020 presidential election have embraced Medicare-for-all. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., brought universal health care to the forefront during his 2016 bid. He and Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Kamala Harris, D-Cali., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., all co-sponsored the bill.
Others have called for more incremental steps, such as an optional Medicare or Medicaid buy-in, as some Democrats worry appearing too radical will hurt their chances in presidential and congressional elections. On Wednesday, Jayapal responded to those who would argue the proposal costs too much.
The CNBC story notes a Kaiser Family Foundation poll from January that showed 56 percent of Americans are in favor of a “Medicare-for-all” system, versus 42 percent who were against.
Of course, support for such a plan falls drastically after people are told they’d be required to pay more in taxes, and that it also would eliminate their private insurance.
Even if the bill were brought to a vote and passed in the House, the Republican-controlled Senate would never approve it.
The National Republican Congressional Committee called the plan the House Democrats’ “latest socialist idea.”