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) SandersBoogeywomen — GOP vilifies big-name female Dems RealClearPolitics editor: Moderate Democrats are losing even when they win Sanders tests his brand in Florida 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 KaineSenators demand answers on reported lead poisoning at Army bases GOP Senate candidate photoshops Tim Kaine shaking hands with Stalin Senate GOP candidate Corey Stewart called kneeling football players ‘thugs’ MORE (D-Va.) and Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetNFL players stand in tunnel during anthem, extending protests When it comes to drone tech, wildfire officials need the rights tools for the job NFL player wears 'Immigrants made America great' hat mocking Trump 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.