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 YarmuthMcConnell challenger faces tougher path after rocky launch The House Democrats who voted to kill impeachment effort House votes to kill impeachment effort against Trump 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 JayapalHouse Democrats delete tweets attacking each other, pledge to unify House approves bill raising minimum wage to per hour Progressive House Democrats describe minimum wage hike as feminist issue in Teen Vogue column 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 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 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 SchakowskyCBP detains 3 children, all US citizens, at Chicago airport Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment Democrats ask Labor Department to investigate Amazon warehouses MORE (D-Ill.) and Rosa DeLauroRosa Luisa DeLauroTrump faces new hit on deficit Top Democrats call for administration to rescind child migrant information sharing policy Democrats talk up tax credits to counter Trump law 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 — 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 (Calif.), chairwoman of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s health panel; Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsCummings asks prosecutors about decision not to charge Trump in hush money probe DHS chief to Pelosi: Emergency border funding 'has already had an impact' Cummings tears into DHS chief for conditions at migrant border facilities MORE (Md.), chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee; Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchBipartisan group of lawmakers invites colleagues to tour DC's Holocaust museum GOP senator presses Instagram, Facebook over alleged bias in content recommendations Overnight Defense: Senate rejects effort to restrict Trump on Iran | Democrats at debate vow to shore up NATO | Senate confirms chief of Space Command MORE (Fla.), chairman of the Ethics Committee; and Zoe LofgrenZoe Ellen LofgrenAl Green says impeachment is 'only solution' to Trump's rhetoric Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment Ann Coulter offers rare praise for Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib MORE (Calif.), chairwoman of the House Administration Committee. 

None of their offices responded to a request for comment. 

Reps. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou Jeffries3,100 to be released from prison under criminal justice reform law House Democrats delete tweets attacking each other, pledge to unify Democratic staffer says Wendy Davis will run for Congress 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.