Progressive lawmakers political groups plan to use a Texas judge’s ruling against ObamaCare to enhance their push for “Medicare for all” in the next Congress.
Those who support a single-payer health system are arguing that now is the time to start moving in a new direction from the Affordable Care Act. They believe the 2010 health law will never be safe from Republican attempts to destroy or sabotage it.
“In light of the Republican Party’s assault, a version of Medicare for all is necessary for the future,” said Topher Spiro, vice president for health policy at the Center for American Progress. “There are just too many points of vulnerability in the current system.”
There is a court decision in Texas that invalidates ObamaCare in its entirety but it came in the wake of sweeping Democratic victories in the midterm elections. This combination that has energized advocates of Medicare for all.
“We need to do everything we can to ensure every single American has access to affordable, quality healthcare. Medicare for all has the potential to do just that as it can reduce the complexity and cost with a single payer health care system,” Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), co-chair of the Medicare for All Caucus, said in a statement.
This effort by Progressives could very well backfire and create divisions within the Democratic Party, as leaders who want to protect and strengthen the health law are reluctant to completely embrace government-run universal health insurance.
Some leading Democrats have said their priorities should be strengthening ObamaCare, rather than fighting over single-payer.
“I think the ruling gets overturned within a couple months, so I’m not sure it matters in the long-term fight over the next generation of health-care reform,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.).
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said Democrats should focus on making sure the insurance landscape doesn’t revert to what it was before ObamaCare.
“The first thing we have to do is make sure people don’t lose what they have today — the pre-existing conditions protections — and going back to the days when there was health care for the healthy and the wealthy,” he said.
U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor this month struck down the Affordable Care Act, throwing a new round of uncertainty into the fate of the law. The judge ruled that the law’s individual mandate is unconstitutional, and that because the mandate cannot be separated from the rest of the law, the rest of the law is also invalid.