Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has a plan to move the country to a single-payer system like Medicare for All as soon as possible, should she become president. However, that transition could take up to three years. During her first 100 days in office, she has a plan to create a Medicare public option available to all Americans, and free to those who need it most.
Warren’s public option plan
Warren’s 100-day plan has two parts:
- Support existing healthcare programs. Warren would use executive orders to bolster the Affordable Care Act and its protections for people with pre-existing conditions, make Medicare and Medicaid more accessible, and cut healthcare and drug costs. For these actions, she would not need a Senate majority.
- Create a Medicare public option. As the country gradually moves to Medicare for All, the public option would auto-enroll a larger population, and be free for many low-income, high-need Americans. If people want to keep their private insurance during this time, they can. However, they would be subject to higher out-of-pocket costs and less coverage. According to Warren’s team, public options put forth by Mayor Buttigieg and former Vice President Biden do not bring down costs or increase coverage as much as Warren’s transition plan does.
In addition to covering everything Medicare currently does, the public option would also cover the following types of care:
- Mental health
- Substance abuse
By the end of this transition period, Medicare for All legislation would have to go up for a vote in the House and Senate, providing Republicans with the chance to vote it down. However, Warren believes the American people will have fallen in love with the system by then and help her bring the bill to fruition.
Warren’s other plans for her first 100 days
Within her first 100 days, Warren also aims to:
- End healthcare lobbying and stop private insurance and drug companies from price gouging American patients
- Put an end to private, for-profit prisons
- Erase student debt of more than 24 million Americans
- Earmark $100 million in mandatory spending to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to promote medical research
Warren’s public option would be free for every American younger than 18, and for Americans earning up to 200 percent of the federal poverty line, which is $51,000 for a four-person family.