Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, on Monday said “Medicare for all” initiative shows that the Democratic party “has gone off the rails,” despite many congressional Democrats not quite so gung-ho about the idea. The “Medicare for all” bill is Sen. Bernie Sanders’ crown jewel of healthcare policies, a program that would essentially shift the nation onto a single-payer model.
Over the past year, Sen. Sanders’ bill has faced intense scrutiny on its nitty-gritty financials to even the most conceptual ideas presented by the program. American University law professor Lindsay Wiley proposed “Medicaid for all” as the solution, saying it is a more feasible and effective system.
Granting the “Medicare for all” wish would require a majority of the House vote and a supermajority in the Senate as well as presidential support. Considering the current status of Washington, it’s a seemingly impossible feat. No surprise, the bill faces opposition from Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Seema Verma, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator.
Medicaid for all could instead be achieved at the state level with a legislative majority or through ballot initiative. With approval from the federal government, but no legislation necessary, it looks to have significantly fewer hoops to jump through.
At the 2018 Public Health Law Conference last week, Wiley argued Medicaid for all would be a cost-effective way to improve access to care and coordination of care. She said,
You’re kind of counting on the providers to make expansion happen because they have money to gain from it. Can you then flip that around and say, ‘let’s repurpose a bunch of that money that’s coming in so it’s … going through the hospitals to social determinants?’
I think that’s tricky.
Regardless of partisanship, healthcare’s high viscosity guarantees policies impacting U.S. health policy will continue to move slowly through government tiers.
Check out Fierce Healthcare’s coverage on Wiley’s Medicaid for all idea.
For more on Speaker Paul Ryan’s speech, visit The Hill.
And for more information on Medicare for all, take a look at the Kaiser Family Foundation’s brief.