Single Payer: Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (I) was met with cheers when he announced his single-payer bill today with the backing of 16 Senate Democrats. Get the details here and learn more about the proposals to finance it.
ACA Repeal Again: At the same time, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) were launching a last ditch effort to repeal and replace the ACA before the budget reconciliation deadline of September 30. Under their proposal some 15 million Americans would lose their insurance next year and more than 30 million would do so within a decade (based on analyses of an early version of the bill, which was similar to previous Republican health bills). The Center on Budget Policies and Priorities found that the Cassidy-Graham bill would decimate Medicaid and cause an imbalance of funding among the states. David Leonhardt of the New York Times reports on other perspectives.
Realistically, neither of these bills is likely to pass in the current Congressional environment. But there are other, incremental options, for single payer efforts that might, as Ron Pollack lays out in a recent Hill article. These include:
- Expanding Medicaid in the 19 states that haven't done so already
- Fix the "family glitch" to allow households to purchase plans on the exchange outside their employer
- Provide coverage for immigrants
- Reauthorize CHIP
CHIP: Senate Finance Committee leaders announced bipartisan support for a 5-year extension of the CHIP program on Monday evening. The bill markup should come next week and a vote before the September 30 deadline. Stay tuned.