“Medicare for all” vs. “Medicare for all who want it” at the Democratic debate, explained

June 28, 2019

Sens. Bernie Sanders (center) and Kamala Harris (right) raise their hands to state their support for abolishing private insurance as part of a Medicare-for-all plan.

Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris want to abolish private insurance. Michael Bennet is not onboard.

Sens. Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris raised their hands at the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate to declare they wanted to abolish private health insurance and for the next 20 minutes, some of the other candidates on stage tried to talk them out of it.

It was a repeat of a question moderators asked the first night, when Elizabeth Warren and Bill de Blasio said they wanted to end private coverage. Sanders and Harris said yes, which is no surprise: They are both sponsors of Sanders’s Medicare-for-all bill that would eliminate private insurance and move every American into a national government insurance plan after a transition period.

“I feel strongly that families should have the choice,” Sen. Michael Bennet, who has aggressively positioned himself as opposed to single-payer, said. “That’s what the American people want.”

Bennet, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, and even Kirsten Gillibrand, another cosponsor of Sanders’s Medicare-for-all bill, emphasized choice again and again. They argued people should be allowed to choose whether to keep their private insurance (about 150 million Americans currently get coverage through their job) or join a new government plan. They were clearly uncomfortable with Sanders’s prescription, which would put everybody into a government plan after four years.

This is the fundamental tension in the Democratic debate over health care. Sanders and other unreserved single-payer supporters believe a national government plan is the only way to make sure every American gets coverage, health care prices come down, and the system is run efficiently.

But other Democrats believe Americans won’t like being told that they must join a government insurance plan; they prefer the more delicate approach that gives people an option to buy into a government …read more

Source:: Vox – All

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