Powerful House panel to hold 'Medicare for All' hearing next week

Powerful House panel to hold 'Medicare for All' hearing next week
© Greg Nash

A powerful House committee announced on Tuesday that it will hold a hearing next week on "Medicare for All," as well as several other proposals to expand health coverage, in a boost for backers of the progressive policy priority.

The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee will hold a hearing next Tuesday on the Medicare for All bill introduced by Reps. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalBiden leads 2020 pack in congressional endorsements Des Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Sanders says it's 'disappointing' he's not on campaign trail in Iowa MORE (D-Wash.) and Debbie DingellDeborah (Debbie) Ann DingellMaking waves to protect America's waters Trump suggests LBJ is in hell: 'He's probably looking down — or looking up' 10 controversies that rocked the Trump White House in 2019 MORE (D-Mich.), along with six other bills, including scaled-back “public option” proposals. 

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House committees have already held three hearings on Medicare for All so far this year, but the Energy and Commerce announcement is significant given that panel’s key role on health care. 

The panel’s chairman, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneOvernight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Deal on surprise medical bills faces obstacles | House GOP unveils rival drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote | Justices to hear case over billions in ObamaCare payments Obstacles remain for deal on surprise medical bills This week: House impeachment inquiry hits crucial stretch MORE (D-N.J.), had also been resistant to the idea of holding a hearing on Medicare for All, saying instead that he wanted to focus on strengthening ObamaCare. 

“I’ve always been an advocate for Medicare for All or single-payer, but I just don’t think that the votes would be there for that, so I think our priority has to be stabilizing the Affordable Care Act, preventing the sabotage that the Trump administration has initiated,” Pallone said in November 2018, shortly after Democrats took back the House. 

Jayapal, in particular, has been pushing for hearings on her bill for months. 

Despite getting hearings, Medicare for All is not expected to get a vote in the House this year or next as Democrats increasingly focus on the 2020 White House battle.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiFormer senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Democrats step up pressure over witnesses after Bolton bombshell Texas AFL-CIO endorses Cuellar's primary challenger MORE (D-Calif.), while giving her support to airing ideas at a hearing, has been raising increasingly explicit warnings against the policy dominating her party’s presidential race, warning of its cost and that people do not want to lose their private insurance. 

“I’m not a big fan of Medicare for All,” she said last month.  

Medicare for All will also have to share the stage at the hearing with somewhat less ambitious proposals, including plans for optional government-run insurance backed by Reps. Antonio DelgadoAntonio Ramon Delgado Democrats plot new approach to win over rural voters The most expensive congressional races of the last decade How the 31 Democrats in Trump districts voted on impeachment MORE (D-N.Y.) and Rosa DeLauroRosa Luisa DeLauroSome kids will spend Christmas in border cages On The Money: House approves Trump USMCA deal in bipartisan vote | Senate sends .4T spending bill to Trump's desk | Why budget watchdogs are howling over the spending deal House approves Trump's USMCA trade deal amid shadow of impeachment MORE (D-Conn.). 

“Universal health care coverage has long been the North Star of the Democratic Party and it’s why the Health Subcommittee will hold a hearing to examine seven legislative proposals that advance universal coverage for the American people,” Pallone and Health Subcommittee Chairwoman Anna EshooAnna Georges EshooHillicon Valley: Biden calls for revoking tech legal shield | DHS chief 'fully expects' Russia to try to interfere in 2020 | Smaller companies testify against Big Tech 'monopoly power' Lawmakers call for FTC probe into top financial data aggregator Overnight Health Care: Health insurers urge Supreme Court to take ObamaCare case | Lawmakers press Trump officials to change marijuana rules | Bloomberg vows to ban flavored e-cigs if elected MORE (D-Calif.) said in a statement on Tuesday.