House Budget Committee chairman John Yarmuth (D-KY) backed Medicare for All on Thursday despite his earlier reservations about the single-payer legislation’s political viability.
On Thursday, Rep. Yarmuth announced that he will co-sponsor the Medicare for All Act of 2019, Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s (D-WA) Medicare for All bill, which has more benefits than even Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-VT) proposal. Yarmuth’s endorsement arises as the Budget Committee held a hearing on Medicare for All and implementing single-payer healthcare systems.
Yarmuth said in a statement Thursday:
Last week, the House Budget Committee held a hearing on the many issues involved in constructing a single payer, or Medicare-for-All healthcare system in the United States. Following the hearing, in which my Republican colleagues offered no alternative to a single payer system, but criticized it with mostly simplistic ideological rhetoric, I decided to announce my cosponsorship of four bills proposed by members of the committee. While none of these bills is written exactly as I would have written them, it is more important that I express my support for broad expansion of Medicare and an ironclad commitment to achieving universal coverage. I have been a proponent of single payer health care since entering politics, and I am more convinced than ever that we need to move decisively in that direction.
However, Yarmuth’s statement on Thursday seems to run counter to his statement last week, in which he expressed doubt about Medicare for All’s political viability this congressional term and that no members will spend too much time developing a fleshed out Medicare for All bill.
“‘The caucus understands that we’re not going to pass Medicare for All this year,” Yarmuth said in an interview last week. The Kentucky Democrat said it would be a “long process” to develop consensus legislation and ‘nobody’s going to wade into the weeds and spend a lot of time developing a bill.’”
Although Yarmuth has previously expressed doubts that Medicare for All could become law, Rep. Jayapal, who sponsored the House Medicare for All bill, said last week, “It’s not a question of if; it’s a question of when” America has single-payer health care.
The Washington progressive said during a town hall at American University in May that one million private insurance workers could get “displaced” under Medicare for All.
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.