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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Support for single-payer health care has reached an all-time high, according to Gallup. Seven in 10 Democratic voters — and one in three Republicans — favor a government takeover of the health sector.
They should be careful what they wish for. Single-payer systems have failed everywhere they’ve been implemented, from the United Kingdom to Canada. Americans who fall for single-payer’s promise of “universal health coverage” at lower cost will instead find themselves facing long waits for subpar care.
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A state Senate panel Monday backed legislation that requires New Jerseyans to buy insurance or pay a fee — a mandate the Trump administration will end in 2019.
The move is a step toward protecting the health insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
The federal landmark health care law requires individuals to buy a policy if they do not have one or face a fine at tax time. The law was meant to ensure younger and healthier people who might otherwise forgo insurance will participate in the insurance market and share costs.
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After spending most of 2017 defending the Affordable Care Act from GOP attacks, a growing number of Democrats believe the law’s reliance on private insurance markets won’t be enough and the party should focus instead on expanding popular government programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
The emerging strategy — which is gaining traction among liberal policy experts, activists and Democratic politicians — is less sweeping than the “single-payer” government-run system that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) made a cornerstone of his 2016 presidential campaign.
These Democrats see the expansion of existing public programs as a more pragmatic and politically viable way to help Americans struggling with rising costs and correct the shortcomings of the 2010 law, often called Obamacare.
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Sen. Bernie Sanders isn’t alone in his adoration for universal healthcare. According to one recent survey, 56 percent of U.S. doctors are at least somewhat supportive of government-run healthcare.
Their support is somewhat understandable. Every insurer has different administrative requirements, covers different therapies at different levels, and reimburses on a different timeline. Medicare and Medicaid complicate matters further. Dealing with only one insurer — the government — may sound appealing.
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The Center for American Progress proposed a plan for government-run health care Thursday, which the liberal think tank calls “Medicare Extra.”
Unlike Bernie Sanders’ single-payer system, which would abolish virtually all other forms of insurance, the plan would not ban employer coverage outright — at least not yet. In broad strokes, CAP would combine Medicaid and the individual insurance market into Medicare Extra, and allow individuals with other coverage, such as employer plans, traditional Medicare or VA coverage, to enroll in Medicare Extra instead.
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