A new wave of progressive Democrats may be pushing hard for universal healthcare under the banner of “Medicare for All,” but the party itself is leaning toward something more like “Medicare for More,” according to Politico’s Alice Miranda Ollstein and Adam Cancryn.
The authors say that Democrats close to the party establishment are looking for incremental improvements to Obamacare, not a big leap into universal healthcare. Lawmakers have offered eight health care plans that aim to expand coverage, ranging from “modest Medicare reforms to more ambitious restructurings that would extend government-run care to millions of new patients — an array of options that fall short of campaign trail promises for full Medicare for All,” Ollstein and Cancryn write.
“If we could make the leap straight to Medicare for All, I would love for us to do that,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR). “But it’s important to lay out a route about how we get to that vision. If you tell people the only choice they have is Medicare, that could produce a lot of folks being concerned about, ‘Wait a minute, I like my health care and you’re telling me I have to leave it.'”
Although they know they probably can’t succeed against the Democratic Party establishment, let alone against the partisan opposition in a divided Congress, progressives say they will continue to push for universal health care, if only to keep the issue on the agenda for the 2020 election. “We want a floor vote soon because we want it to be part of the presidential conversation,” said Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), “so certainly before the Iowa caucuses.”