Democratic presidential candidate John Delaney has a plan for universal health care he wants you to know is not Medicare-for-all. And while he seems to have some legitimate criticisms of Medicare-for-all, it’s hard to see the point of going on Fox News to attack other Democrats when his own plan very much includes public insurance.
As Vox explains, while Delaney probably will not win the presidency, he is a former health care financier, so he has a lot of knowledge of the issue. In a nutshell, his plan is to keep Medicare as is, provide everyone with a public plan that provides a core group of services, similar to those mandated by Obamacare, and allow everyone to purchase private, supplemental insurance for everything else.
Delaney’s argument against Medicare-for-all, as he also outlined during this week’s debate, is that a) people like their private insurance and b) the reimbursement levels are so low that hospitals and other providers would suffer and/or go out of business.
But how many persuadable Democratic primary voters were likely watching on a network where even Obamacare brought on cries of “socialized medicine!” and “death panels?” Yet there could be some persuadable voters in the viewing audience for the general election. So why tarnish Democratic candidates much more likely to be running in the general? There's no doubt Delaney would be welcome on Fox if and when Medicare-for-all passage was even somewhat imminent.
"This is an important conversation to have, and I'm driving the conversation,” Delaney told Fox host Neil Cavuto today. “I think when people actually realize what's in this Medicare-for-all bill, I think the overwhelming majority of the Democratic party, putting aside Republicans and independents, but even the Democratic party will reject this plan and go with the plan I'm proposing which is called Better Care, which does get everyone health care but allows people to keep their plans and have private insurance."
Maybe Delaney was thinking about a January poll which found that 47% of Republicans "are in favor of creating a national government-administered health plan if it allows people to keep their coverage” and that 74% of Americans overall support a Medicare-like system that also allows them to keep private insurance.
But that same poll found that 56% of Americans support Medicare-for-all. Yet when asked about those in the debate who said they would swap out private coverage for government-run insurance, Delaney attacked them. “It's a crazy idea, and it's never going to happen. I'm the only one saying this,” he said.
“This whole idea came from Bernie Sanders, who’s not even a Democrat, and all these other candidates, Elizabeth Warren and a whole bunch of the rest of them, have basically outsourced their health care plan to someone who’s not even a Democrat. And I just think it's terrible," Delaney griped.
Watch it below, from the June 29, 2019 Cavuto Live.
6/29/19 Correction: The author of this post was originally listed as "Ellen." When I (Ellen) edit posts, they default to having my name as author and sometimes I forget to make sure the name changes. Apologies to Brian!
I wonder if Medicare for disability is worse than “regular” Medicare? I say that because everyone I know on Medicare over 65 seems pretty happy with it. But I know several people on Medicare due to a disability who are not.
I actually think Delaney’s plan sounds promising. I just have a problem with his going on Fox and attacking Democrats over it.
I have never been on Medicare or Medicaid so can’t speak to its coverage. But I was in the state-mandated high risk pool for several years (over a completely benign condition but I got denied health insurance and that shut out all other options!), which was managed by Blue Cross, and it was OK. Not good but not terrible.
I’m currently on private health insurance but qualify for Medicare due to a disability. I’m shocked by how much Medicare coverage sucks relative to my private plan.
For example, Medicare drug coverage is as confusing as it is awful. There’s a zillion plans and you pick one by listing your current drugs into a computer program which filters the best plans for your needs. What if you change meds? You need to rerun the list for the best plan but you can’t once you’re locked in. The plans typically leave the insured with 35%-45% of the drug costs. Sounds good until you realize I have a drug that’s over $6,000 a month and another over $1,000. Plus, Medicare’s drug plans have ridiculous limits which mean the 2 most crucial drugs I take I’ll mostly have to pay completely out of pocket. Medicare’s estimates of my annual drug costs on their best drug plan (for me) is a horror show and would bankrupt most people on a fixed income.
Then there’s Medicare itself. Without a supplemental private plan for original Medicare you’re looking at pretty much 20% out of pocket. I’ve gone through ~$600,000 in hospital bills in the last 2-3 years. You do the math. Though, admittedly, this is tricky. Who knows what Medicare would stick me with? Probably a lot less but undoubtedly in the many 10s of thousands of dollars.
The alternative is a private Medicare Advantage plan (which I don’t qualify for). Which is more like an HMO with network limits, deductibles and co-pays/co-insurance. The dirty little secret is behind the scenes Medicare pays private insurers extra sweeteners to finance their plans. But this can’t be what people like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have in mind as they claim they’ll abolish private insurance.
Also, I can confirm what John Delaney says. I know a director of a chain of local private clinics and Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement is a big gripe of his. He’s forced to treat Medicare/Medicaid patients but they don’t come close to covering his cost of services. So he bilks private insurance for the balance.