A newer and younger Congress is being quite aggressive. Two of the newest new deals in Congress are quite creative. One is the New Green Deal. It’s an ambitious American economic course-correction from New York headline-maker Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Democrat Sen. Ed Markey.
Another is the 120-page Medicare for All Act of 2019. Its author is Washington Democrat Rep. Pramila Jayapal. She has 106 co-sponsors. That’s a lot. One person not on board is Rep. Cheri Bustos of Illinois.
She chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCC). Translation — she’s the head of House campaigning and is charged with keep a Democrat majority in the House.
Last week Bustos dumped a heap of cold water on the very hot Medicare for all plan. Looming large in the sizzle of steam is a price tag of $33 trillion over 10-years.
That’s scary — she says — very, very scary.
“What do we have — 130 million-something Americans who get their health insurance through their work? The transition from what we have now to Medicare for all, it’s just hard to conceive how that would work. You have so many jobs attached to the health care industry,” she said. “I think the $33 trillion price tag for Medicare for all is a little scary.”
Those in favor of the concept — like Sen. Bernie Sanders — believe the overall cost will be worth it because it will cut overall healthcare spending and the associated out-of-pocket costs.
In an interview with The Hill, Bustos worried about the cost but is open to the idea of debating the benefits. “The vast majority of Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives want to see us fix the Affordable Care Act and make it functional so we can protect people with pre-existing conditions and so people have affordable health care,” she said.
Apparently, Bustos has support of non-support from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In an interview with Rolling Stone, the Speaker said universal health care can best be brought about by a single-payer system. “That is, administratively, the simplest thing to do, but to convert to it? Thirty trillion dollars. Now, how do you pay for that?” Pelosi said.
Progressives want the House to vote on Medicare for all. And they want a vote this year. Leading the pack is Cortez. In an interview with The Hill, she said, “I would love for it to come to a vote; I think that it should come for a vote. We have an enormous amount of Americans that are excited about the idea and I think we should have the discussion for sure.”
Discussion is one thing. Getting more moderate Democrats onboard is another. Cortez is hoping to convince Pelosi to warm them up. Most of the presidential candidates have endorsed the single-payer system. The progressive candidates — Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Cory Booker and Sen. Elizabeth Warren — are all in. Others that are more moderate are — shall we say — interested.
Pelosi is stuck in the middle.
“All I want is the goal of every American having access to health care,” Pelosi said. “You don’t get there by dismantling the Affordable Care Act. So I said, ‘Look, just put them all on the table, and let’s have the discussion, and let people see what it is. But know what it is that you’re talking about,’” Pelosi said.
Stay tuned. This will — as things heat up — no doubt, get interesting.
Source links: The Hill — link 1, link 2