Many of the more progressive Democrats have declared their support for some form of government-run, single-payer health care system, dubbed as “Medicare for All.” But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may be working against them.
A recent Politico report alleges that a top Pelosi aide sought to undermine the far-left push for Medicare for All at a private meeting just after the 2018 mid-terms.
Medicare for All concerns
Pelosi’s senior adviser on health care policy, Wendell Primus, spoke at a private meeting on Nov. 30 with around two dozen representatives of health policy groups, during which he expressed the concerns of the party leadership about the costs and divisiveness of the proposed government-run health care scheme, Politico reported, according to “multiple people familiar with the session.”
According to six unnamed individuals — four of whom were at the meeting, two others who were later briefed on it — Primus told attendees that Pelosi and other leaders feared the push on Medicare for All was an unnecessary distraction from their primary focus on protecting and strengthening the existing Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.
Primus also is alleged to have requested the outside groups thoroughly scrutinize the Medicare for All proposals that had been put forward.
While some of the attendees took that to mean Pelosi just wanted more data and analysis, others took it as a subtle request to discredit and disparage the proposals as unworkable.
“It came across as, we need this so we can get on with our agenda. Can you help us point out the problems?” explained one of the anonymous attendees.
Pelosi’s office disputed the report in a statement from spokesman Henry Connelly.
Connelly told Politico, “Wendell absolutely did not ask for any kind of one-sided analysis of Medicare for All, and anyone who says otherwise wasn’t actually listening. As Democrats, across the entire spectrum, we believe in legislating based on facts, data and honest analysis.”
As to the request for outside groups to closely scrutinize the various health care proposals and make public any problems that were found, Connelly added, “No one has anything to fear from good faith research on Medicare for All.”
Quite a few Democrats, including many of the prominent 2020 presidential contenders, have signaled their support for a Medicare for All style health care system, which would place the government in full control of all aspects of health care, and would necessarily force tens of millions of Americans off of their preferred private health care insurance plans.
But while the left pushes the socialist scheme, Pelosi and other leaders from the more moderate wing of the party want to focus on defending Obamacare from the Trump administration and working on isolated fixes, like lowering prescription drug prices or strengthening protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions. It’s the safer choice, politically speaking.