Opinion writers weigh in on health care policies.
The 2020 election cycle has only just begun, and although no single leader has emerged from a pack of democratic contenders — an issue has certainly emerged, right out of the gate, as a standout in the race: Medicare for All. (Bonnie Castillo, 2/6)
It’s true that some Republican lawmakers have cobbled together proposals of varying degrees of specificity over the year: During his 2016 campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida sketched out a mostly forgotten health care plan that would have set up a broad-based system of refundable tax credits intended to subsidize the purchase of insurance in hopes of helping people buy coverage. And during the 2017 Obamacare repeal effort, Senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy offered a plan to give states far more flexibility, eliminating many of Obamacare’s provisions at the national level while essentially turning the program into a block grant to the states. But these efforts have tended to be cursory and short-lived, with tiny or nonexistent constituencies. (Peter Suderman, 2/7)
In 2018, Democrats won the midterm elections on the issue of health care, specifically protecting the Affordable Care Act and its guarantee of coverage for pre existing conditions. It was a hard-earned victory: Passing the ACA was a major reason Democrats lost the House and seats in the Senate in 2010 , and polls showed the ACA was not a winner for Democrats in 2012, 2014 or 2016. Now, the question is: Having won the upper hand on health care, will Democrats give it back in 2020? (Ronald A. Klain, 2/6)
Looking toward the next election, Trump hoped to use his State of the Union speech for a health care reset. To anyone paying the slightest attention, he failed. Most incredibly, he called it a “priority” to “protect patients with pre-existing conditions.” That’s a tough sell since his administration is supporting a lawsuit in Texas that would, as Trump hopefully put it last week, “terminate” the ACA. This would mean not just an end to pre-existing condition protections and 20 million low- and moderate-income Americans dropped from coverage, it would also eliminate the subsidy for Medicare prescription drugs that has made them affordable for millions of seniors in the coverage gap known as the “donut hole.” (Andy Slavitt, 2/6)
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