House Democrats introduce Medicare expansion plan

Complete Control of Health Care Just Around The Corner


Medicare for All is not the only option for Democrats interested in expanding health coverage. House lawmakers on Wednesday re-introduced “Medicare for America” legislation sponsored by Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.). The bill was released just a day after Democrats held the first-ever hearing about Medicare for All. Perhaps in a sign of Democratic unity, the rollout had originally been planned for Tuesday, but pushing it back a day allowed Medicare for All to rule the day yesterday.

Unlike Medicare for All, which is favored by many of the Democratic White House candidates, the plan from DeLauro and Schakowsky would not move the entire country into a single government-sponsored health plan.

It would instead preserve employer-based coverage for the millions of Americans who may want to keep their current plans, but employees would also have the option of enrolling in an expanded Medicare plan.

Who else likes this?

On the 2020 trail, the only Democratic candidate to favor such an approach is former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), who has cited the legislation as the best path toward achieving universal coverage. Still, the bill could give other candidates who might be reluctant to support Medicare for All another option. With the exception of Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), the 2020 candidates haven’t exactly been Medicare for All purists.

Democratic divide?

The lawmakers said they don’t want their efforts to be viewed as an attack on the progressives who support Medicare for All; Schakowsky is one of the co-sponsors of the Medicare for All legislation and is a member of the “Medicare for All” caucus. “I don’t think there’s anything adversarial about this,” DeLauro told reporters. “Let’s have this debate. I personally don’t see it as a divide, I see it as a healthy robust debate.”

“Medicare for America” has the support of the Center for American Progress (CAP), a powerful Democratic think tank closely aligned with the Clintons. CAP has been advocating for a more moderate approach to health care than Medicare for All, which has recently put its leaders in the crosshairs of Sanders, who is running for president on his own Medicare for All plan.

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