“Single-payer” national health insurance, also known as “Medicare-for-All,” is a system in which the federal government administers healthcare financing, but the delivery of care remains private or locally-controlled. Jan Schneider believes favors transitioning to such a system.

The Affordable Care Act was a major step forward in safeguarding the health of Americans. Obamacare is now, however, excessively expensive, complicated and in some parts incomprehensible. Moreover, while fatally bungling “repeal-and-replace,” President Trump and Republicans in Congress have engaged in a sustained campaign of “piece by piece” sabotage. Most notable was repeal of the ACA individual mandate in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2018. Among other assaults, the Trump administration also promulgated regulations for “short-term” or “limited duration” plans that do not have to adhere to Obamacare requirements; sliced the federal enrollment period in half; slashed 90 percent of the advertising budget; and cut 41% of funding for outreach programs.

For this and other reasons, Medicare-for-All has recently been gaining popularity with the American public. A March 2018 Health Tracking Poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health policy think tank, came up with some remarkable findings: Overall, 59 percent of respondents favored Medicare-for-All (including 85% of Democrats, 58% of independents and 35% of Republicans). If participation is framed as an option allowing people to keep other forms of coverage they already have (a/k/a “Medicare for Some”), support increased to 75% among the overall public (87% of Democrats, 74% of independents and 64% of Republicans).

There are several ways to move toward a Medicare-for-All system. In the Senate, there is, of course, the Bernie Sanders (I-VT) Medicare for All Act of 2017 (S.1804), which has 16 cosponsors. In the House of Representatives, the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act (H.R. 676), now sponsored by Rep. Keith Ellison (R-MN) with 122 cosponsors, seems simpler and in some ways more appealing. In addition, the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, has come up with a voluntary plan called “Medicare Extra for All,” which includes a parallel program called Medicare Choice (similar to Medicare Advantage) run by private insurers and would also allow employers to choose between private health insurance and a public option. Another proposal worthy of consideration as means for transitioning to Medicare-for-All is the Medicare-X Choice Act of 2917 (S.1970 & H.R.4094). Jan also particularly likes the Medicare at 55 Act (S.1742), sponsored by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) with 19 cosponsors.

In contrast, our Congressman, Representative Vern Buchanan (R-FL16), has consistently voted to undermine the health of his constituents and the American public: Rep. Buchanan voted to repeal Obamacare about 60 times; he voted for the TCJA mandate repeal; he voted to abolish the Prevention and Public Health Fund; he voted at least a half dozen times to turn Medicare into a “premium support”/vouchers system; and he voted many times to cut Medicare and other healthcare funding. In general, Buchanan has regularly voted for boons for the ultra-rich and wealthy corporations at the expense of health and other social programs.

In sum, Jan favors a gradual transition, perhaps over a decade and perhaps in 5-year age increments, to Medicare for All. VoteJan – For Your Health!