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.

. . .

The Iowa Senate gave final approval Tuesday to controversial legislation that would exempt certain health plans from Affordable Care Act mandates.

The legislation combines two proposals backers say would reduce health insurance costs, but critics worry could undermine consumer protections.

Senate File 2349 was approved 37-11, sending it to Gov. Kim Reynolds, whose spokeswoman said she was “eager” to sign it. The measure passed the House last week.

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  • Healthcare edges out crime, guns and deficit as top problem
  • Healthcare or economy has typically been top worry since 2001
  • Worries about unemployment, economy continue to decline

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California signed up an estimated 450,000 people under Medicaid expansion who may not have been eligible for coverage, according to a report by the U.S. Health and Human Services’ chief watchdog.

In a Feb. 21 report, the HHS’ inspector general estimated that California spent $738.2 million on 366,078 expansion beneficiaries who were ineligible. It spent an additional $416.5 million for 79,055 expansion enrollees who were “potentially” ineligible, auditors found.

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In tiny Marion, North Carolina, the Buchanans decided that $1,800 a month was too much to pay for health insurance, and are going without it for the first time in their lives.

In Harahan, one bend of the Mississippi River up from New Orleans, the Owenses looked at their doubling insurance premiums and decided no, as well. “We’re not poor people but we can’t afford health insurance,” Mimi Owens said.

And in a Phoenix suburb, the Bobbies and their son Joey will go uninsured so the family can save money to cover their nine-year-old daughter Sophia, who was born with five heart defects.

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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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Everybody on Capitol Hill agreed: If anyone could break the deep-rooted partisan logjam over Obamacare in Congress, it was that deal-making duo Patty and Lamar. But in the end, it was Obamacare that broke their alliance.

Just seven months after Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) heralded the beginning of a new bipartisan era on health care following the collapse of Obamacare repeal efforts, their lofty ambitions ended in much the same way as every Obamacare-related negotiation over the last eight years — with claims of betrayal, warnings of political fallout and no progress toward bridging the deep divide over the nation’s health care system.

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Health-insurance premiums are likely to jump right before the November elections, a result of Congress’s omission of federal money to shore up insurance exchanges from its new spending package.

Lawmakers from both parties had pushed to include the funding in the $1.3 trillion spending law signed Friday, but they couldn’t agree on details. A battle has already begun over how to cast the blame for the expected rate increases.

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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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ObamaCare turns eight years old today. Some opponents had hoped to mark the occasion by giving supporters the birthday gift they’ve always wanted: a GOP-sponsored bailout of ObamaCare-participating private insurance companies. Fortunately, a dispute over subsidies for abortion providers killed what could have been the first of many GOP ObamaCare bailouts.

ObamaCare premiums have been skyrocketing. All indications are this will continue in 2019, with insurers announcing premium increases up to 32 percent or more just before this year’s mid-term elections. Some Republicans fear voters will punish them for the effects of a law every Republican opposed and most still want to repeal.

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