Tuesday, May 29, 2018

How Democratic candidates should talk about healthcare

The moderate/establishment candidate for the Democratic nomination in New Jersey's 7th Congressional District (a seat very much in play), Tom Malinowski, takes what in my view is an admirably substantive, focused, big-picture healthcare position:
On healthcare, Malinowski said he “does not support Medicare for all, but the idea of a Medicare option for all is worth exploring.” He said he’s spoken to many people who appreciate having healthcare options and he “would not force anyone to give up private health insurance which many Americans are happy with,” though he added that expanding a Medicare option could eventually lead to a single-payer type of system if people chose it voluntarily.
This more or less describes the Center for American Progress's Medicare Extra proposal and the Merkley-Murphy Choose Medicare Act. Those proposals in turn hark back to early versions of the public option, in which a Medicare-ish program was an 800-pound gorilla that private insurance was privileged to compete against if insurers or employers so chose. Some versions envisioned permanent competition between commercial/employer insurance and a public plan, while others expected a phase-out of private insurance (I discussed some of the variations here.)

Either way, my own view is that a public plan that employers and individuals can buy into provides a viable path either to a de facto all-payer system, in which commercial insurers pretty much have to pay similar rates to the public plan to survive, or to single payer.  And merits aside, I think Malinowski does a nice job in short space capturing both the conservative and the transformative appeal of a strong public option set alongside employer-based insurance. It's too bad that Democrats backed away from this model.

No comments:

Post a Comment