Feb 27, 2019

New Medicare for All proposal goes beyond Bernie Sanders

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

Even Sen. Bernie Sanders can get outflanked in the race to define Medicare for All as Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) is set to introduce a bill today that would go even further than Sanders' sweeping proposal.

Why it matters: Even as moderates and more conventional liberals are freaking out over the politics of such a dramatic upheaval, the left is still moving left, laying down ever-more-ambitious markers as they gain more and more influence over their party.

  • Many of the broad strokes are the same: Both bills would eliminate most private insurance and most existing federal health programs, moving everyone in the country into a new single-payer system. Neither would allow co-pays or deductibles.
  • Jayapal's version, though, would cover some things Sanders' bill wouldn't — most significantly, long-term care like nursing homes. It also calls for a 2-year phase-in period, compared to Sanders' 4 years.

What we don’t know: The cost.

  • Sanders' bill would cost about the same as the status quo; money we're currently spending on premiums and out-of-pocket costs would need to be turned into taxes.
  • Jayapal's bill is more expansive than Sanders' and therefore would likely be more expensive. But it doesn't have a price tag yet, nor does Jayapal have a plan to cover whatever that cost may be.

What we're watching: For my money, the most interesting policy component of this bill is the way it would control health care spending.

  • Jayapal would put hospitals and nursing facilities under a "global budget" — a firm cap on how much the program will spend each year, which would be divvied up in lump sums each quarter. (Maryland has a similar system.)
  • Individual doctors, meanwhile, would be paid for each service they provide — a return to the fee-for-service model the existing Medicare program is trying to abandon.

Go deeper: What "Medicare for All" could look like

Go deeper

Biden says he's starting VP search this month

Joe Biden. Photo: Scott Olson / Staff

Joe Biden said he's spoken to Sen. Bernie Sanders and former President Barack Obama about selecting a running mate — and that he wants to build "a bench of younger, really qualified people" who can lead the nation over the course of the next four presidential cycles.

Driving the news: Biden spoke about the state of the 2020 race during a virtual fundraiser on Friday night that was opened to pooled coverage.

Trump ousting intelligence community inspector general

Michael Atkinson, inspector general of the intelligence community. Photo: Bill Clark / Getty Images

President Trump notified key lawmakers on Friday that he’s firing Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community's inspector general, who first alerted Congress last September of an "urgent" complaint from an official involving Trump's correspondence with the Ukrainian president.

Why it matters: The move, to take effect in 30 days, comes amid a broader initiative to purge the administration of officials seen as disloyal to the president.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Axios Visuals

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,097,909 — Total deaths: 59,131 — Total recoveries: 226,106Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 277,828 — Total deaths: 7,406 — Total recoveries: 9,772Map.
  3. Public health latest: The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The federal government will cover the costs of COVID-19 treatment for the uninsured, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.
  4. 2020 latest: "I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting," President Trump said of the 2020 election, as more states hold primary elections by mail. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said Friday that every county in the state opted to expand mail-in voting for the state's June 2 primary.
  5. Business updates: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start. The DOT is urging airlines to refund passengers due to canceled or rescheduled flights, but won't take action against airlines that provide vouchers or credits.
  6. Oil latest: The amount of gas American drivers are consuming dropped to levels not seen in more than 25 years, government data shows. Trump is calling on the Energy Department to find more places to store oil.
  7. Tech updates: Twitter will allow ads containing references to the coronavirus under certain use cases.
  8. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Senators call for independent investigation into firing of Navy captain.
  9. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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