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 YarmuthThe politics and practicalities of impeachment Progressives seek defense freeze in budget talks On The Money: Wells Fargo chief gets grilling | GOP, Pence discuss plan to defeat Dem emergency resolution | House chair sees '50-50' chance of passing Dem budget | Trump faces pressure over Boeing 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 JayapalOn The Money: Trump issues emergency order grounding Boeing 737 Max jets | Senate talks over emergency resolution collapse | Progressives seek defense freeze in budget talks Progressives seek defense freeze in budget talks House Dems reintroduce the Dream Act 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 ConyersOvernight Health Care: Pelosi asks how to pay for single-payer | Liberal groups want Dems to go bigger on drug prices | Surprise medical bill legislation could come soon Key Dem chairman voices skepticism on 'Medicare for all' bill Democrats seek cosponsors for new 'Medicare for all' bill 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 SchakowskyOvernight Health Care: CDC pushes for expanding HIV testing, treatment | Dem group launches ads attacking Trump on Medicare, Medicaid cuts | Hospitals, insurers spar over surprise bills | O'Rourke under pressure from left on Medicare for all O'Rourke faces pressure from left on 'Medicare for all' Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Dems push Pelosi on bill allowing federal funding of abortion | Key Republican says Dems left him out of drug pricing talks | Court upholds Ohio law to defund Planned Parenthood | Trump taps acting FDA chief MORE (D-Ill.) and Rosa DeLauroRosa Luisa DeLauroOvernight Health Care: CDC pushes for expanding HIV testing, treatment | Dem group launches ads attacking Trump on Medicare, Medicaid cuts | Hospitals, insurers spar over surprise bills | O'Rourke under pressure from left on Medicare for all O'Rourke faces pressure from left on 'Medicare for all' Dems shift strategy for securing gun violence research funds 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 EshooOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — FDA issues proposal to limit sales of flavored e-cigs | Trump health chief gets grilling | Divisions emerge over House drug pricing bills | Dems launch investigation into short-term health plans Divisions emerge over House drug price bills Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Dems push Pelosi on bill allowing federal funding of abortion | Key Republican says Dems left him out of drug pricing talks | Court upholds Ohio law to defund Planned Parenthood | Trump taps acting FDA chief MORE (Calif.), chairwoman of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s health panel; Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsHouse Dems renew push for government contractor back pay Cummings demands ex-Fox News reporter share information on Stormy Daniels payments The Hill's Morning Report — Trump readies first veto after latest clash with Senate GOP MORE (Md.), chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee; Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Dems push Pelosi on bill allowing federal funding of abortion | Key Republican says Dems left him out of drug pricing talks | Court upholds Ohio law to defund Planned Parenthood | Trump taps acting FDA chief Schumer: Trump 'redefined chutzpah' by calling Dems an 'anti-Jewish party' Son of missing ex-FBI agent says Trump's sanctions will help bring father home MORE (Fla.), chairman of the Ethics Committee; and Zoe LofgrenZoe Ellen LofgrenHouse Dems reintroduce the Dream Act Key Dem chairman voices skepticism on 'Medicare for all' bill Feminine hygiene products to be available to House lawmakers using congressional funds MORE (Calif.), chairwoman of the House Administration Committee. 

None of their offices responded to a request for comment. 

Reps. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesBipartisan think tank to honor lawmakers who offer 'a positive tenor' GOP leader needles Dems on anti-Semitism resolution Dems under fire put brakes on Omar resolution 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.