Repealing and replacing Obamacare

Two Democrats—Senator Bernie Sanders [1] of Vermont and Rep. John Conyers of Michigan—have proposed bills to do something that President Donald Trump promised to do, but can’t and won’t do.

That is, they would repeal and replace Obamacare with something better.

I applaud what they’re doing, and I think Sanders deserves credit for making universal health care politically possible.

Tom Price

I don’t think Sanders or Conyers can get their bills through Congress at the present time, and I think President Trump would veto them if they did.

That’s just as well.   Implementation of both programs would require the cooperation of Tom Price, the current Secretary of Health and Human Services.   He is an opponent of traditional Medicare, which he would replace with a voucher system, and favors cutbacks in Medicaid.

But under both the Sanders and Conyers bills, he would appoint the administrators of the new program, and, under the Sanders bill,

The Secretary is … directed to develop policies, procedures, guidelines, and requirements related to eligibility, enrollment, benefits, provider participation standards and qualifications, levels of funding, provider payment rates, medical necessity standards, planning for capital expenditures and health professional education, and regional planning mechanisms.

Source: Health Affairs Blog

I’m pretty sure that neither Sanders nor Conyers intends to give Secretary Price the power to sabotage and discredit their plans.   Their proposals are talking points to rally support for universal health care and encourage thinking about how to make their bills better.

LINKS

Comparison Chart: House and Senate Medicare for All Acts by Health Over Profit.

Unpacking the Sanders Medicare-for-All Bill by Katie Keith and Timothy Jost for Health Affairs Blog.

The Medicare-for-All Act of 2017: The Politics by Lambert Strether for naked capitalism.

The Medicare-for-All Act of 2017: The Policies by Lambert Strether for naked capitalism.

[1] Yes, Bernie Sanders technically is an independent, not a Democrat, but he caucuses with the Democrats and, for all practical purposes, is a Democrat.

 

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