On Wednesday, Democrats’ house will once again renew their efforts to enact Medicare-for-all. They are arguing that the pandemic of last year, which is still not showing signs of finishing-off, is a “wake-up call” for the U.S. Govt. to replace the now prevalent fragmented health insurance system of the nation. They are betting that they can pressure President Biden to start a government-run program that he previously rejected.
Democrats Introduce Medicare For All
One of the lead authors of this particular bill Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who is also the chairperson of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said that everyone is witnessing the destruction and chaos caused by the pandemic. Hence it has made people realize the need for something different like a Medicare-for-all system in place of the present system.
On the contrary, advocates acknowledge the fact that a Medicare-for-all bill has never been able to clear a single committee, let alone Congress. But Jayapal, together with co-lead author Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and 109 co-sponsors too, who are more than half of the Democratic caucus, say that this case has never been stronger. They show data that the pandemic disproportionately hit Americans with low-income who usually lack sufficient health coverage and suffer from other diseases. They also added that millions of Americans had to lose their job-based health insurance as businesses shuttered and their jobs got lost.
But what makes it different this time is the fact that their most formidable opponent always is a president from their own party who has won the Democratic presidential elections primary after distancing himself from the bill of the single-payer health system.
Biden, in his election campaign, neither mentioned nor supported Medicare-for-all. Throughout his campaign, reported a White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity on the topic of the bill that is yet to be formally introduced. That official further added that Biden campaigned on his own designated plan, and that is the course of plan the American people voted for. Biden continues to pursue the same plan and not Medicare-for-all.
But the party’s progressive section is making efforts to pose a predicament for Biden, who is required to hold his governing coalition together, and as we know, he has pledged to focus on unity. Allies are of the view that the single-payer health-care bill might distract from other priorities of Biden, whereas many independents and Democrats say that they’d prefer to retain their present private health plans. But the Republicans are heavily opposed to this idea.
“The polling for two years was very consistent,” added ALG Research’s John Anzalone, a pollster who advised Biden’s campaign, said that the polling for the last 2 years has been quite consistent. Instead, some suggest improving and building on the Affordable Care Act and pursuing other health care steps because people seem to be in love with their private health insurance.
As the health-care lobby is very strong and willing to spend millions of dollars in view of protecting their business interests, Biden might find himself on the same side as this lobby. Meanwhile, Republicans are adamant in painting the legislation as an effort that is bound to weaken the existing Medicare benefits for senior citizens. On the other hand, skeptical Democrats are worried about risking their party’s narrow political edge in Congress.
Larry Levitt, The executive vice president for health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, Larry Levitt, said that Dingell and Jayapal’s bill might face obstacles to become law without Biden’s support.
While in October 2020, KFF found that fifty-three percent of adults were in favor of the idea of a national health plan.