Medicare For All may finally be debated in Congress
Unlike 2009, when the Democrats conceded single payer health care before the debate even started, Medicare For All could finally gets its day in the sun.
Because the Democratic leadership wants it to be seriously considered? No. Of course not.
Several likely 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are pushing plans for something short of universal health care, a move already creating friction within the party's empowered left wing, which has panned any attempt to water down the progressive dream of a single-payer system.
So if the fix is in, and the Democratic leadership has ruled it out, why would Medicare For All finally get seriously debated in the House?
The ironic answer is: the Republicans want to.
Republicans are pushing leaders of a key House committee to hold a hearing on Medicare for all, but the Democrats aren't taking the bait.
Oregon Rep. Greg Walden, ranking member of the Energy & Commerce Committee, and Texas Rep. Michael Burgess, the lead Republican on the health subcommittee, pressed in a letter this week and at a hearing Wednesday to publicly explore the proposal to create a national, government-run health insurance program.
The same guys who just got crushed in the last election, in large part because of their unpopular stands on health care, think that they have a winning issue.
Remember the last time the GOP thought they had a winner to run on?
Exactly how big is the Washington bubble?
Establishment Democrats seem determined to keep Republicans from making this mistake.
The push got a chilly reception from committee Chair Frank Pallone of New Jersey and subcommittee Chair Anna Eshoo of California.
"Who are you kidding?" Pallone said. "Oh sure, we're going to have a hearing on something that you think will destroy the country."
"Now don't get me wrong, we will address that issue. I'm not suggesting we shouldn't," he continued.
Eshoo took a similar position, deflecting questions about when Congress would begin exploring using Medicare as a vehicle for expanding health coverage.
"I hope at some point we will," she told reporters, before saying that Democrats ran on lowering drug prices and strengthening the Affordable Care Act, which will take time.
It's yet another instance of Republicans asking the right questions, while moderate Democrats try to silence debate.
“We’re going to pull the curtain back on Medicare for All so the American people can actually assess it,” added Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, the top Republican on House Ways and Means.
The progressives backing the bill say, "Bring it on." They are convinced the Republicans are miscalculating, much as they did with their doomed attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Personally, I would like to ask three questions for MFA skeptics:
1) For those who say we can't afford it, what peer-reviewed study are you basing your opinion on?
The CBO has never scored MFA, so you have no solid facts behind your opinion.
2) Every other industrialized nation on Earth, plus dozens of developing nations, can provide government-sponsored universal health care. Why do you think Americans are too incompetent, too stupid, and too incapable to do the same? Why do you have so little faith in America?
3) Tens of thousands of Americans die every year because of a lack of health insurance. Thousands of Americans flee to Mexico for their health care every single day. Why is this not a crisis to you? Why do you think a modest tweak is all the current system needs? What evidence do you have to cause you to think the free market has a solution?