Dem chairwoman plans hearing on Medicare for all proposals

Dem chairwoman plans hearing on Medicare for all proposals
© Greg Nash

The incoming chairwoman of a powerful health care subcommittee on Wednesday said that she intends to hold a hearing on several “Medicare for all” proposals, potentially giving the plans a chance to be considered by key lawmakers.

“There are several Medicare for all bills that are out there, but they all have a different interpretation,” Rep. Anna EshooAnna Georges EshooOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Planned Parenthood ousts its president | Harris releases drug pricing plan | House Dem drug plan delayed until after recess Democratic chair: Medicare negotiating drug prices not moving before August House bill targets use of Pentagon networks for child pornography MORE (D-Calif.), the new chairwoman of the Energy and Commerce health subcommittee, told reporters. “I think that it would be interesting to have the authors of these bills come to testify and explain what their bill does and have the members ask them questions.”

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Eshoo’s comments go farther than those made by the chairman of the full Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneOvernight Health Care: Insurance lobby chief calls Biden, Sanders health plans 'similarly bad' | Trump officials appeal drug price disclosure ruling | Study finds 1 in 7 people ration diabetes medicine due to cost House Democratic chairman launches probe of e-cigarette makers Lawmakers criticize EPA draft rule for curbing rights to challenge pollution permits MORE (D-N.J.).

Pallone has not expressed interest in holding Medicare for all hearings, saying the proposal does not have the votes to pass.

Eshoo said a hearing would allow lawmakers a chance to ask questions like whether the Congressional Budget Office has done an analysis, “do you scrap the Affordable Care Act,” and what happens to people’s current insurance coverage.

'“I'm not making a judgment as to whether I think it’s a good idea or not,” Eshoo said, saying it would be “instructive” to hold a hearing.

In 2017, Eshoo cosponsored the main Medicare for all bill in the House, which was led by then-Rep. John ConyersJohn James ConyersEXCLUSIVE: Trump on reparations: 'I don't see it happening' McConnell: Reparations aren't 'a good idea' This week: Democrats move funding bills as caps deal remains elusive MORE (D-Mich.).

House Democrats have largely remained divided on Medicare for all and how far to push for it with their new Democratic majority. Some more centrist lawmakers outright oppose the idea.

In a significant step forward for progressive backers of the idea, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCutting tariffs is better than cutting payroll taxes to boost the economy Pelosi speaks with Israeli president after Trump controversy In debate over internet speech law, pay attention to whose voices are ignored MORE (D-Calif.) said earlier this month that she supports holding hearings on Medicare for all.

Those hearings so far, though, are only slated to be in the Rules Committee and the Budget Committee, which are not the main committees that consider health care legislation, given that the chairmen of the Energy and Commerce Committee and Ways and Means Committee have been less willing to embrace the idea.

Eshoo’s willingness to consider Medicare for all in her Energy and Commerce subcommittee would provide an opportunity to discuss the idea in one of the main health care committees.