Support for Medicare for All dips, most people like their employer plans

Henrietta Brewer
August 2, 2019

Biden's campaign responded by saying Harris is attempting to take a "have-it-every-which-way" approach to health care, and criticizing her "long and confusing" evolution on how Medicare for All would work. The plan would also be expanded to cover telehealth, which is defined by the World Health Organization as the "use of telecommunications and virtual technology to deliver health care outside of traditional health-care facilities".

"I look at this issue through a fairly simple prism: each night, millions of Americans wake up at 3 o'clock in the morning anxious about some aspect of their health care", said Harris, "How am I going to afford a $5,000 deductible just for walking my child into the emergency room because their fever won't go down?"

But Topher Spiro, vice president for health policy at the left-leaning think tank Center for American Progress, lauded Harris for trying to assuage "concerns that people have about disruption and about an abrupt transition" away from a largely employer-based health insurance system. "You have to find $30 to $40 trillion somewhere". She did not say whether patients would have to pay any cost sharing or premiums.

Mr Biden, with whom Ms Harris memorably clashed during the first Democratic debates in Miami, has warned that a transition to a Medicare For All system could present coverage risks for Americans who defend on the Affordable Care Act.

It allows private insurers to continue to play a major role in the system, as long as they meet requirements on costs and benefits. It says in effect: "We have a mandate to get everyone affordable health care and put people over profits - but we don't need to tear down the things people have and they like in order to do it". Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has proposed a transition period of four years, CNN notes. The Secretary of Health and Human Services will also negotiate for lower prescription drug prices, she wants to audit prescription drug costs, and to expand cost-saving treatments like telehealth. During the transition, newborns and the uninsured would automatically be enrolled in the public Medicare system.

Mr Sanders has said as recently as this month that the sweeping overhaul of the U.S. health system he envisions could cost up to 40 trillion United States dollars over a decade, and he has said that one option for paying for it would be a 4% tax hike on families making more than 29,000 USA dollars each year. All medically necessary services, such as doctor visits, hospital stays, and vision and dental care, would be included in the plan with no deductibles and strict limits on out-of-pocket costs.

This provision to outlaw private plans that duplicate government coverage, allowing only the sale of supplemental plans, is similar to Canadian Medicare, which covers all Canadian citizens.

In recent years, Medicare for All saw the peak of its favorability in March 2018, when about 59% of the public said they favored a system in which all Americans would get their insurance from one government plan.

With the second series of Democratic presidential debates looming, it was clear that Harris had a health care problem. I believe this hits the middle class too hard.

But Mr Sanders' campaign has already been critical of her new plan.

Mr. Sanders said their function is not to present excellent care, but "to deny promises when they can" and "to make as significantly revenue as they possibly can".

One of Senator Sanders' options is to tax households making above $29,000 an additional 4% income-based premium.

She said she would not raise taxes on families making less than $100,000 annually, in contrast to Sanders. She would also seek to tax offshore corporate income at the same rate as domestic corporate income.

Mr. Sanders of Vermont prefaced his respond to by expressing he likes Ms. Harris of California, contacting her a "friend".

"Call it anything you want, but you can't call this plan Medicare for All".

"It's bad policy and bad politics", he said.

Other reports by iNewsToday