The fact that the Center for American Progress (CAP) has moved dramatically leftward on health care is by far the most important aspect of their recently unveiled “Medicare Extra for All” plan. It signals a major political and cultural shift.
The reception the plan has received so far seems to depend heavily upon what people think is the impetus for it. Some see it as an attempt to undermine the growing support for Senator Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All or a secret plan by private insurers to secure a place for themselves in a changing political climate. Others see it as a legitimate attempt to bridge the divide in the Democratic party to be ready to act in 2021. (We already know who one third of the senators will be in 2021, and so far, eight of the 12 Democratic senators in that class have yet to co-sponsor Sanders’ bill.)
I won’t try to divine true motivations here, but I can talk about the merit of the policy ideas.
When Shadowproof published my “Road to Single Payer” series and Medical Insurance and Care for All plan last year, the main goal was to start a detailed conversation about health care well in advance of 2021—for the left to decide what are the most critical elements we should support, to choose how we define “affordability,” figure out the biggest political obstacles, and decide what political modifications are worthwhile.
Now that big groups like CAP are joining the conversation, this is a critical moment. For the best chance to shape policy, it’s important to act early.