Liberal think tank releases universal coverage plan

Liberal think tank releases universal coverage plan

The Center for American Progress (CAP) on Thursday released a universal health-care plan aimed at building on the coverage expansion from ObamaCare.

The leading center-left think tank enters a debate that has been accelerating among Democrats about how far to go in expanding on the Affordable Care Act with government-run insurance.  

The CAP plan, called Medicare Extra, would provide government-run health insurance modeled on Medicare for people currently on Medicare or Medicaid or in the individual ObamaCare market. Notably, it would preserve employer-sponsored health insurance, which is popular among many middle-class Americans, although it would give employers and employees the option of joining the government-run, Medicare Extra option.

By leaving employer-sponsored insurance as an option, the plan does not go as far as Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) Sanders If Congress takes no action, the Social Security trust fund will become depleted in 2034 Ex-campaign manager: Sanders is still eying another presidential bid DNC chair backing plan to cut superdelegates opposed by Dem lawmakers MORE's (I-Vt.) "Medicare for All" proposal. It could also make the CAP plan at least somewhat more politically feasible 

But the CAP plan goes farther than other Democratic ideas such as “Medicare X” from Sens. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineGOP senator: Family separation policy 'inconsistent' with American values RNC mum on whether it will support Trump-backed Corey Stewart GOP Senate candidate accuses Chris Cuomo’s father of anti-Semitic remarks in heated exchange MORE (D-Va.) and Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetOvernight Finance: Trump wants Russia back in G-7 | Senators, allies push back | House approves first fiscal 2019 spending bills | Dems want insider trading probe over job tweet Dems want insider trading probe after Trump jobs report tweet Clinton on his reading habits: 'I like a fast ride' MORE (D-Colo.), which would add a government-run option on ObamaCare’s marketplaces but leave the rest of the current options in place.

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The plans could lay the groundwork for Democratic efforts if they win the presidency in 2020 as well as control of both chambers of Congress.

“Medicare Extra for All would guarantee universal coverage and eliminate underinsurance,” the 20-page plan states. “It would guarantee that all Americans can enroll in the same high-quality plan, modeled after the highly popular Medicare program. At the same time, it would preserve employer-based coverage as an option for millions of Americans who are satisfied with their coverage.”

There is not yet an estimate of how much the plan would cost; CAP says it is working on one. But the plan proposes financing mechanisms like increasing taxes on high earners, in addition to charging premiums to enrollees that are capped at a percentage of income and saving money on increased efficiencies from the new system.

The CAP plan is aimed at insuring the roughly 30 million people who remain uninsured even after ObamaCare’s gains, as well as providing more generous coverage for people who are currently “underinsured,” with high out-of-pocket costs.

Under the CAP plan, there would no longer be the current private insurance options on the ObamaCare marketplaces. Private insurers could still offer plans modeled on the current Medicare Advantage program, but those plans would be more generous than some of the cheaper ObamaCare options currently available.