What the White House billed yesterday as a high-profile counterpunch to "Medicare for All" turned out to be much less significant — a fairly normal, fairly vague policy statement with no real implications for 2020.
Between the lines: Trump is promoting Medicare Advantage over traditional Medicare, and that does matter for the program and the federal budget.
- But it's not a new position, and not one that has much to do with the broader debate over the American health care system.
What they're saying: "Proposals like 'Medicare for All,' as well as the public options, are not just impractical, they are morally wrong because they would demote American seniors to little better than second-class status," Medicare and Medicaid administrator Seema Verma told reporters yesterday.
Reality check: Plenty of what the Trump administration has said is hyperbole, untrue or unknowable. And the policy the administration rolled out has little to do with these big-picture issues.
- "I think this is the shapings of a political argument for why 'Medicare for All' is bad, not an alternative to 'Medicare for All,'" said a health insurance executive familiar with GOP politics.
Details: Yesterday's executive order requires regulatory changes advantageous to Medicare Advantage, which is run by private insurers.
- "This is not any radical change by the administration, just a continuation of their push to increase flexibilities in MA and increase the supplemental benefits offerings for beneficiaries," said Avalere's Chris Sloan.
Go deeper: How seniors are being steered toward private Medicare plans