Sure, Democrats are lining up behind Medicare-for-all. But what exactly does that mean?
This year, dozens of Democratic candidates ran — and won — on a promise to fight to give all Americans access to government-run health care. A new Medicare-for-all Caucus in the House already has 77 members. All the likely 2020 Democratic nominees support the idea, too.
“Medicare-for-all” has become a rallying cry on the left, but the term doesn’t capture the full scope of options Democrats are considering to insure all (or at least a lot more) Americans. Case in point: There are half a dozen proposals in Congress that envision very different health care systems.
“Democrats ran on health care,” says Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz. “We now control one chamber of Congress. We have an opportunity and an obligation to demonstrate what we’d do if we were in charge of both chambers. We have an obligation to hear from experts and figure out the best path forward.”
We spent the past month reading through the congressional plans to expand Medicare (and a few to expand Medicaid, too) as well as proposals at major think tanks that are influential in liberal policymaking. We talked to the legislators and congressional staff who wrote those plans, as well as the policy experts who have analyzed them.