Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., recently introduced the “Choose Medicare Act,” which would give every American the option to buy into Medicare. Their colleagues have already rolled out three other bills that would provide for a more limited Medicare buy-in, a Medicaid buy-in, and a full-fledged, government-run, single-payer system.

All of these bills would lead to the same inevitable outcome — a federal takeover of the nation’s healthcare system. Each of the government-sponsored buy-in plans could operate at a loss indefinitely. Private insurers don’t have that luxury; they’d ultimately go out of business.

. . .

New data from insurance company regulatory filings show that enrollment in the individual health insurance market declined significantly last year—by 10 percent, or 1.8 million people.

Over the three years prior to the implementation of Obamacare (2011 through 2013), enrollment in the individual market was basically stable—fluctuating narrowly between 11.8 million and 12 million persons. With the introduction of Obamacare, enrollment jumped to 16.5 million in 2014, peaked at 17.7 million in 2015, and then declined to 17.1 million in 2016.

. . .

Americans have come down with single-payer fever. A whole 59% now back a national health plan, according to a March 2018 Kaiser Health Tracking Poll—way up from the 33% reported by the Pew Research Center in summer 2017.

But the American people don’t really understand what supporting a single-payer plan means. For instance, in October 2017, 47% believed they’d be able to keep their current health coverage if a single-payer plan were put into place, according to Kaiser.

They’re sorely mistaken. Bills that would launch a government takeover of the country’s health care sector are meandering through Congress and numerous statehouses across the country. Those measures would outlaw private insurance within a matter of years. If any of them pass, Americans will find themselves paying sky-high taxes for access—not to care but to a waiting list.

. . .

A group of Democratic senators on Wednesday introduced an expanded public option for health insurance as the party debates the next steps to build on ObamaCare.

The new proposal, called the Choose Medicare Act, was introduced by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), both seen as potential presidential contenders, though Murphy has said he is not running in 2020.

The measure has no real chance of becoming law anytime soon, but is part of a growing debate among Democrats about what the best next steps beyond ObamaCare are, which could come to fruition when Democrats next win back the White House.

. . .

Murphycare could look a lot like Obamacare.

Lawmakers Thursday sent to Gov. Phil Murphy a bill that will require nearly all New Jerseyans to have health insurance or pay a penalty in a bid to stabilize premiums for consumers in the Obamacare marketplace.

They approved another bill that would set up a reinsurance plan that would partly be paid for by the federal government and cover some of the most expensive health care claims.

. . .

A revival movement is sweeping the nation. Millions of souls have already been converted, thanks to a charismatic preacher and his passionate disciples.

I’m talking, of course, about the doctrine of “Medicare for All” and its chief evangelist, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. The socialist senator’s sermons appear to have swayed the masses. In 42 states, a majority of residents now support a Medicare-for-All system, according to new research from Data for Progress, a left-wing think tank. That’s a significant increase from September of last year, when fewer than half of Americans supported single-payer.

. . .

After years of being a central political question, health care is on the back burner. Both parties contain experts and activists who want to make major changes to health policy. But for now, both parties’ politicians are wary. Democrats are, as usual, more interested in the subject than Republicans, but they are somewhat divided about what to do next and in any case are not yet in a position to enact anything. Republican politicians, meanwhile, seem to have concluded from their failed efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare that the whole issue is best avoided. It is not surprising, then, that talk of a bipartisan deal to shore up Obamacare’s insurance exchanges has petered out.

. . .

It’s the pragmatists versus the idealists in California’s latest quest for universal health care. Increasing numbers of lawmakers and advocates are pushing for policy goals that realistically can be accomplished this year. But there’s an unrelenting camp clinging to single-payer-or-bust.

The Golden State, which has been pushing back against the Trump administration on multiple fronts, is leaning toward the more incremental approach. This includes bills and budget items that would cover everything from insuring undocumented adults to preventing Medicaid work requirements and shielding the state from insurance products favored by the GOP, such as short-term plans.

. . .

More Democrats than ever have signed on to a proposal that would shift every U.S. resident onto Medicare, but a large proportion remain uncertain about heading into a completely government-run system as an immediate sequel to Obamacare.

The Medicare for All Act that has been introduced would move everyone in the U.S. onto Medicare, even if they have private healthcare coverage. It is backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and an unprecedented 16 Democratic senators. Among them are possible 2020 presidential hopefuls Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. Most Democratic lawmakers in the House have co-sponsored a similar bill.

. . .

California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon is refusing to advance this year a controversial single-payer health care bill that would dramatically reshape the state’s health care financing and delivery system. Instead, he’s orchestrating an alternative, narrower approach that seeks to achieve universal coverage and make Obamacare more affordable.

Rendon this year gave lawmakers in his house “autonomy to come up with a package” of health care bills, he said in a recent interview. Now, without engaging the other side in the Senate, the Assembly has unveiled a major legislative push on health care that would expand coverage and lower consumer costs while laying the groundwork for a future system financed by taxpayers.

. . .