COVID-19 is driving the health care conversation in the U.S., and Medicare for All “is merely a talking point right now … it has lost steam in the broader conversation.”
Lauren Crawford Shaver, executive director of the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, said she believes it is less likely that an expansion of government-run health care will happen this year, given the focus on pandemic relief in Washington.
Partnership for America's Health Care Future is an ad hoc alliance of American hospital, health insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyists committed to preventing legislation that would lead to single payer health care, expanding Medicare or creating Medicare for All. Shaver spoke during today’s NAHU virtual Capitol Conference.
Although Shaver was pessimistic on the likelihood of Medicare for All going anywhere in Congress this year, she said “there is still a lot of conversation around a public option.”
President Joe Biden campaigned in favor of establishing a public option over a single-payer system.
“But the devil is in the details of how you would pay for a public option,” Shaver told NAHU members. “At the federal level, I believe it will be hard to pass a public option at this point.”
Shaver said she expects to see some public option bills introduced in Congress this year, “but it won’t drive the day. The public option is on the administration’s priority list, but it’s probably item three or four.”
She said she believes “you can get people covered within the system we have today. Push as many of the current coverage options as possible, such as expanding Medicaid.”
Shaver repeated the partnership’s belief that “people want to build upon our current health care system. They want to take what works and make it better.”
She also noted that she had heard “a lot of rumblings from employer groups about pushing a public option.”
“Our polling finds that what employers really need right now is making sure that they have some subsidies or temporary relief to make sure workers have their health coverage.”
Susan Rupe is managing editor for InsuranceNewsNet. She formerly served as communications director for an insurance agents' association and was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @INNsusan.
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