Key Dem chairman voices skepticism on 'Medicare for all' bill

Key Dem chairman voices skepticism on 'Medicare for all' bill

House Budget Committee Chairman John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthKentucky Democrat: McConnell's agenda driven by 'power without a purpose' Top Democrat: Getting Trump off the ballot wouldn't benefit party Kentucky Democrat: 'There's a shot' McConnell could be vulnerable in 2020 MORE (D-Ky.) is expressing skepticism about a new "Medicare for all" bill introduced this week, although he has supported similar measures in the past.

Yarmuth, who has supported Medicare for all bills since arriving in the House in 2006, says a new version introduced this week by Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalProgressive House Democrat unveils bill to allow state-based 'Medicare for All' Progressives press Democrats to rethink Israel policy Democratic lawmakers call on Judiciary Committee to advance 'revenge porn' law MORE (D-Wash.) goes far beyond what he considers to be Medicare for all.

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“I don’t consider that to be Medicare for all. It’s universal health care, on demand, unlimited,” Yarmuth told The Hill on Thursday. “It’s all single-payer, no private insurance. It’s a very different thing than Medicare.” 

Most recently, Yarmuth co-sponsored the Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act introduced in 2017 by former Rep. John ConyersJohn James ConyersThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems release first transcripts from impeachment probe witnesses Hispanic Caucus dedicates Day of the Dead altar to migrants who died in US custody Today On Rising: The media beclowns themselves on Baghdadi MORE Jr. (D-Mich.).

But he hasn’t signed on to Jayapal’s bill, stating that he’s trying to remain neutral as the chairman of the committee that would decide how such proposals are funded. 

But Yarmuth has shared his skepticism about the contents of Jayapal’s bill. 

“I’m not sure there is anywhere in the world that does what her bill does. There’s no cost sharing at all, and that’s not Medicare,” he said. 

“The problem with that is if you’re trying to market it to the public and convince them it’s a good idea, the public understands what Medicare is. ... This would be something very different,” he said. 

Yarmuth pointed to a bill sponsored by Reps. Jan SchakowskyJanice (Jan) Danoff SchakowskyProgressives ramp up fight against Facebook Veteran Chicago-area Democrat endorses Lipinksi challenger again Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — House Dems change drug pricing bill to address progressive concerns | Top Republican rejects Dem proposal on surprise medical bills | Vaping group launches Fox News ad blitz MORE (D-Ill.) and Rosa DeLauroRosa Luisa DeLauroOn The Money: Senate passes first spending package as shutdown looms | Treasury moves to roll back Obama rules on offshore tax deals | Trade deal talks manage to weather Trump impeachment storm Trade deal talks manage to weather Trump impeachment storm House Democrats launch process to replace Cummings on Oversight panel MORE (D-Conn.) as a true version of Medicare for all that would retain private health insurance. 

Individuals without employer-sponsored health insurance would be automatically enrolled in the program, but they could opt out. They’d also be required to contribute some money toward their coverage.

There are other bills introduced by House Democrats that would let individuals buy in to Medicare at the age of 50 or 55. 

Jayapal’s bill would replace private insurance companies with a government-run health insurance system.

She has not said how it would be paid for, but similar versions have been estimated to cost $30 trillion over 10 years. 

Yarmuth said he plans to hold a Budget Committee hearing on all proposals that would expand Medicare, possibly in June, and will meet with all of the sponsors of the various bills. 

“We want their input as to how they would like the hearings to be held and what we actually try to accomplish,” he said.  “I don’t think Pramila, for instance, wants us to assess what her version costs.” 

Jayapal’s bill has less support than the Conyers bill released in 2017. His bill had 124 co-sponsors, while she has 106. 

Jayapal told reporters this week that it’s not a sign the idea has lost support, noting that many of those co-sponsors did not sign on immediately when the bill was introduced in the previous Congress, and she expects to keep collecting supporters. 

Some Democrats that supported Conyers bill have since left Congress. His bill was also introduced while Democrats were in the minority, and it was much vaguer than Jayapal’s. 

Still, a number of committee leaders and members of the Democratic House leadership that supported Conyers’s bill have not co-sponsored Jayapal’s version: Anna EshooAnna Georges EshooDemocrats demand FCC act over leak of phone location data Hillicon Valley: TikTok faces lawmaker anger over China ties | FCC formally approves T-Mobile-Sprint merger | Silicon Valley lawmakers introduce tough privacy bill | AT&T in M settlement with FTC Silicon Valley lawmakers introduce tough privacy bill to regulate top social media platforms MORE (Calif.), chairwoman of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s health panel; Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsMaya Rockeymoore Cummings, Elijah Cummings's widow, will run for his House seat Former NAACP president to run for Cummings's House seat Elijah Cummings's widow 'thinking carefully' about running for his old seat MORE (Md.), chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee; Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchOvernight Defense: Protests at Trump's NYC Veterans Day speech | House Dems release Pentagon official's deposition transcript | Lawmakers ask Trump to rescind Erdogan invite Bipartisan House members call on Trump to rescind Erdoğan invitation Bipartisan Senate climate caucus grows by six members MORE (Fla.), chairman of the Ethics Committee; and Zoe LofgrenZoe Ellen LofgrenHillicon Valley: TikTok faces lawmaker anger over China ties | FCC formally approves T-Mobile-Sprint merger | Silicon Valley lawmakers introduce tough privacy bill | AT&T in M settlement with FTC Silicon Valley lawmakers introduce tough privacy bill to regulate top social media platforms Bipartisan group reveals agricultural worker immigration bill MORE (Calif.), chairwoman of the House Administration Committee. 

None of their offices responded to a request for comment. 

Reps. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesHouse Democrat's Halloween display mourns passed bills that die in McConnell's 'legislative graveyard' Democrats unveil impeachment procedures Top Trump administration officials hail al-Baghdadi raid but stress need for resolve in fighting ISIS MORE (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, and James Clyburn (D-S.C.), Democratic whip, also supported the Conyers bill but have not co-sponsored Jayapal’s bill.