capitol building next to medicare for all

Will House Democrats Push for Medicare for All?

The Democrats won the House of Representatives in Tuesday’s election. So what does this mean for Medicare for All?

The idea of Medicare for All is widely popular. Some polls report 58 percent of Americans supporting Medicare for All, while other polls report support as high as 70 percent. But is the expansion of this popular healthcare program a reality? In short, no—at least not right now.  

What is Medicare for All?

The definition of Medicare for All varies based on who you ask. Let’s look at three main versions.

  1. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) first introduced Medicare for All legislation in 2013 when it garnered no co-sponsors. After making a run at the presidency in 2016, the idea grew in popularity as part of his campaign platform. He lost the bid for the presidency, but he reintroduced the Medicare for All Act of 2017, which garnered 16 co-sponsors. This version of Medicare for All is truly that—a national healthcare plan that would give healthcare to every single American. This plan mirrors that of other industrialized countries like Canada, France, and the United Kingdom, all of whom pay far less for healthcare than the United States.
  2. The second version is considered a “public option,” sometimes called Medicare Part E. This would allow individual people to purchase a Medicare plan along with employers who offer coverage to their employees. Unlike the first option, this type of plan would exist alongside private plans, which people and employers could also purchase.
  3. The final version of Medicare for All is less “Medicare for All” and more of a Medicare expansion. Politicians began floating the idea of an expansion during the Bill Clinton presidency. The expansion would make Medicare available for people beginning at, say, 50 or 55; however, they would have to pay premiums until 65 when their plans would become premium-free.

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What’s next?

With Republicans still holding control of the Senate and White House, there is no chance of any version of Medicare for All passing. Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell want to cut Medicare coverage, so they will never vote to expand the healthcare program.

In all likelihood, the House Democrats will put forth a Medicare for All bill sometime in 2019, it will die on the Senate floor, and then the issue will become a Democratic selling point for the 2020 race for the presidency.

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