2020 Democrats Divided on Medicare for All Compared to Public Option

Medicare for All
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2020 Democrat presidential candidates remain divided over whether to back the single-payer Medicare for All or a public option ahead of the Democrat debates.

As Democrat presidential candidates approach the first presidential debates on Wednesday and Thursday, the Democrat presidential field remains divided on whether to back Medicare for All or a public option, with few Democrats suggesting that they need to make minor changes to Obamacare.

New York Times survey released Sunday found that 11 Democrat presidential candidates favor a public option, including frontrunner former Vice President Joe Biden. Seven candidates back Medicare for All, while only one candidate favors marginal changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Medicare for All would eliminate America’s private health insurance system and replace it with an expanded Medicare system that would cover all Americans and even illegal immigrants.

A public option would allow some or all Americans to receive government health care while keeping private health insurance for those who prefer that form of health coverage compared to a government option.

Proponents for Medicare for All tout that Medicare for All would cover all Americans and might scrap the complicated and sometimes onerous health insurance system; although, Democrats backing Medicare for All may have trouble explaining how to pay for the single-payer plan. Mercatus Center scholar Charles Blahous estimated that Medicare for All would cost $60 trillion over the next decade, $38 trillion of which amounts to new spending.

Those who back a public option, such as South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, might suggest that a public option remains more politically feasible; however, the proposal might frustrate the Democrats’ increasingly progressive base who wish to enact Medicare for All.

Buttigieg said his ultimate goal is Medicare for All, but he would like to start by offering a Medicare buy-in program that could outcompete private insurance.

“It will challenge private options to become more affordable and efficient,” Buttigieg wrote. “I am skeptical that they will be able to do so.”

Also, most Democrats may discuss whether they wish to provide illegal immigrants, or “undocumented immigrants,” access to health care through their Medicare for All or public option plans. Eleven Democrats said in the New York Times survey that they would provide illegal aliens access to health care under their proposal.

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.

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