Even though they have a majority in both the House and the Senate, congressional Republicans have failed multiple times this year to pass legislation that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. These failures have not been good for conservatives, but they have provided Democrats with opportunities to introduce alternatives that would better serve the American people.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) recently introduced a “Medicare for All” health care bill that several of his Democratic colleagues ( including Senators Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts), Cory Booker (New Jersey), and Kamala D. Harris (California)) have thrown their weight behind.
At the same time, other, centrist Democrats have introduced a different proposal. Senators Tim Kaine (Virginia) and Michael Bennet (Colorado) plan to formally unveil “Medicare-X” this week.
According to The Washington Post, Medicare-X “would allow anyone to buy into a publicly provided plan using the network of Medicare providers and physicians, at similar rates, with lower-income workers receiving tax credits for the plan.”
Bennet and Kaine believe that their plan is more realistic than Sanders’ approach. In a statement to WaPo, Bennet said:
‘A plan that begins to fix this problem by giving families and individuals a meaningful and affordable alternative.’
‘Consumers can compare it with available private options and make the choice best for their health.’
Kaine also posted a promotional tweet about the proposal on Monday, touting its benefits, especially for Americans who live in rural counties.
‘We can’t stand idly by as President Trump sabotages our healthcare system, so I’m introducing a public option bill.
‘My Medicare-X bill with Senator Michael Bennet builds on Medicare’s framework to give all Americans access to a public insurance plan on marketplaces.
‘Medicare-X would first hit markets in rural counties or places w/o competition—where options are limited & costs higher. Nationwide by 2023.
‘All Americans should have access to affordable, quality health insurance. I believe a public option helps us get there.’
Bennet chimed in and argued that Medicare-X would make insurance more affordable for his constituents in Colorado:
‘In rural communities, limited competition is leaving many Coloradans with fewer choices and, in many cases, only one high-cost option.’
Kaine and Bennet’s plan might be more palatable for lawmakers who don’t support Medicare for All, but they are likely going to have a hard time convincing the American people that Medicare-X is the better way to go.
Their tweets about the bill were met with mixed reviews; some thanked them for stepping up to create a solution, but others responded by saying that the only kind of health care reform they will accept is Medicare for All.
Featured image via Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images.